Marathon Texas History:
Early settlers to the Marathon area included the Halff brothers who established the headquarters of their Circle Dot Ranch four miles southwest of the future townsite. In 1879, they leased land to the federal government for the establishment of Camp Peña Colorado
where a settlement developed. The Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway built a line through the area in 1882. In March of that year, Railroad surveyor purchased land Capt. Albion E. Shepard purchased land north of the future Marathon site and established the Iron Mountain Ranch. He established the Marathon post office in 1883. Marathon became a retail and shipping center for local ranchers who shipped livestock, wool and large game animals. In 1887, Brewster, Buchel and Foley counties were formed from Presidio county. Marathon became county seat of Buchel County. However, Buchel and Foley counties were never officially organized. When they were dissolved, their lands became part of Brewster County, and Marathon became county seat. A windmill in the middle of North First Street was Marathon's first jail. Drunks and other petty offenders were chained to one of its legs; serious offenders were taken to the Alpine jail. Later, a one-room adobe house behind French's Store served as a jail but, after several escapes, was replaced by a rock jailhouse. Eventually, used cells from the Alpine jail were installed. The Mexican Revolution began in November of 1910. Because of the threat of raids from across the border, Marathon became the center of military operations. Today Marathon is still a ranching center, but is also a tourist center for tourists heading to Big Bend National Park from the north on U.S. Highway 385, and from the east on U.S. Highway 90. Today, Marathon is probably most famous for the Gage Hotel which was designed by architects Trost and Trost who also built the El Paisano Hotel in Marfa, and the El Capitan Hotel in Van Horn, Texas. Marathon is located at the intersection of U.S. 90 (1st
Street) and U.S. 385, 94 miles northeast of Study Butte, Terlingua and Big Bend National Park, 109 miles northeast of Lajitas and Big Bend Ranch State Park, 56.7 miles southeast of Marfa, 54 miles southeast of Fort Davis, 30.6 miles southeast of Alpine, 91 miles southeast of Balmorhea, 108 miles southwest of Monahans, 58.6 miles southwest of Fort Stockton, and 54 miles slightly northwest of Sanderson, Texas.
Note: There are no gas stations between Study Butte and Marathon so gas up before leaving either town.
Interesting Marathon Sites:
The old Southern Pacific Railroad Depot is now an antique store located at North Avenue G. The old cattle shipping pens are located south of the railroad tracks, across from Los Portales. The old water tower is located on Avenue F beside the railroad tracks. The 1800s Marathon Cemetery is located on Post Road (off Avenue D) south of town. An old bank vault is located behind the Famous Burro Bar and Grill. The old Marathon Jail is located behind the Ritchey Brothers building on South 2nd
Street between Avenues C and D.
Museum exhibits include school, railroad, ranching and farming and military items. The museum is housed in the historic “Club House,” the site of the first schoolhouse in Brewster County.
(432) 386-9011. The museum is located on the courthouse square at the corner of North 3rd
and Avenue E. Email
Artist James H. Evans:
Evans is a nationally known West Texas photographer who spent over 20 years photographing the Big Bend Region. In 1990, he opened his successful Evans Gallery four doors east of the famous Gage Hotel. His Big Bend Photographs coffee table book is available in bookstores and from his gallery. The gallery also sells handmade jewelry by Paul Wiggins of Terlingua, illustrations by Dan Picasso, folk art by George Zupp, and oil paintings by Mimi Litschauer. The gallery is usually open from 10am-6pm most days. Gallery: (432) 386-4366. The Front Street Book store will open the gallery for you if no one is around; (432) 386-4522. 102 East U.S. 90. Email
Marathon Public Library:
The library provides traditional library programs, children, youth and adult programs, summer programs, public access computers with internet connections, and free Wi-Fi. Open Mon-Fri, 2pm-6pm, Sat, 10am-2pm. (432) 386-4136. 106 Northeast 3rd