2000 Census - 20
In 1882, the Southern Pacific Railway was building a line to Langtry. The railroad established a grading camp at the Eagle Nest crossing of the Rio Grande River, and named the camp Eagle Nest. The camp was later renamed Langtry. Most of the land along the railroad right-of-way was owned by Cezario Torres. Roy Bean set up his tent saloon on a portion of this land. Torres’ unsuccessful attempt to remove Bean from the land was the beginning of a long running dispute between Bean and Torres’ son Jesus. Bean became Langtry’s legendary justice of the peace, a position he held for 20 years. Court sessions were held in the saloon. After the railroad was completed in 1883, Langtry became the retail and shipping center for area farmers and ranchers. The Langtry post office was established in 1884. Bean rebuilt his saloon after an 1897 fire destroyed the original building. By 1892, Langtry had two saloons, a store, the train depot and approximately 150 residents. Bean apparently had a fascination for English singer Lillie Langtry. He named is saloon the Jersey Lilly and established an opera house in anticipation of a visit by Lillie. She eventually visited the town a few months after Bean’s death. Through secret machinations, Bean arranged to have the 1896 world-championship boxing match between Irishman Peter Mahar and Australian Bob Fitzsimmons held near Landry. Bean held the fight in Mexico because both the Texas government and Mexican governments had prohibited the fight. Soon after Bean’s 1903 death, the highway was moved slightly north of town and Langtry began to decline. In 1934, the new owner of Bean’s saloon and courtroom donated it to the State of Texas. The Texas Highway Department restored it in 1939. Today, the town’s economy is largely based on tourism provided by the Roy Bean Saloon. In 1981, the Roy Bean Visitor Center counted its one millionth visitor. Langtry is located just north of the Rio Grande River, and 8 miles west of the Pecos River on U.S. 90, 61 miles southeast of Sanderson, 18 miles west of the Pecos River Bridge and Seminole Canyon State Park, 60 miles northwest of Del Rio, 40 miles northwest of Dryden, and 28.5 miles northwest of Comstock, Texas
Historic Judge Roy Bean, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“Bean was born in Kentucky and he started out as a trader in Mexico, in 1848. Bean was mining in New Mexico when the Civil War broke out. As a spy and scout, Bean joined the Texans in the Command of Gen. John R. Baylor during the 1861-1862 Arizona-New Mexico Campaign. Judge Roy Bean organized an irregular company called the Free Rovers. In a narrow canyon, Bean took part in capture of 800 federals by 250 Confederates. After 1862, Roy Bean was a Confederate freighter, hauling cotton to Matamoros from San Antonio and bringing wartime goods into Texas: guns, ammunition, medicines, cloth, shoes, and food. In 1882, Bean began following with a tent saloon crews building railroad along the Rio Grande. Cooperating with the Texas Rangers, he was appointed justice of peace and nicknamed Law West of the Pecos. Judge Roy Bean tamed the rough frontier town of Langtry, where he spent rest of his life. Bean won fame in unique court decisions, such as in the trial and fining of a dead man for carrying a concealed weapon. The most widely celebrated show he staged was Fitzsimmons-Maher world championship boxing match, on a Rio Grande sand bar near his saloon in 1896. Court was held in the saloon, where Bean displayed pictures of The Jersey Lily—British actress Lily Langtry, whom he never met. Langtry later visited town at his invitation, but only after Judge Bean's death.” This marker and Judge Bean’s gravesite are located at the Whitehead Museum in Del Rio.
Law West of the Pecos Marker Text in Front of the Jersey Lilly Saloon:
“Judge Roy Bean lived a life in which fiction became so intermingled with fact that he became a legend within his lifetime. Basis for his renown were the decisions which he reached in this building as The Law West of the Pecos. Court was held as frequently on the porch (as inside). Spectators grouped about on horseback as within the building. Nor was Bean above breaking off proceedings long enough to serve customers seeking services dispensed by the other business carried on in his courthouse-home. The judge’s “law library” consisted of a single volume, an 1879 copy of the revised statues of Texas. He seldom consulted it, however, calling instead on his own ideas about the brand of justice which should apply. This he effectively dispensed together with liberal quantities of bluff and bluster. Since Langtry had no jail, all offenses were deemed finable with Bean pocketing the fines. Drunken prisoners often were chained to mesquite3 trees in front of the building until they sobered up enough to stand trial. Bean reached a peak of notoriety when, on February, 21, 1896, he staged the banned Fitzsimmons-Maher heavyweight title fight on a sand bar in the Rio Grande River a stone’s throw from his front porch. By holding it on Mexican territory he outwitted Texas Rangers sent to stop the match, and turned a handsome profit for his shrewdness. This building was named the “Jersey Lilly” for the famous English actress Lillie Langtry whom Bean admired and for whom he claimed to have named the town. His lamp frequently burned into the night as he composed letters to her. But he never saw her since her only visit to Langtry occurred in 1904, less than a year after Bean died.”
Roy Bean Visitor Center &Museum andTexas Travel Information Center:
The 12 Texas Travel Centers are managed by the Texas Transportation Department (TXDot). All are staffed by professional travel counselors who help travelers with routings and provide information on points of interest, events, and road conditions. The Roy Bean Visitor Center highlights Judge Bean’s career in six dioramas featuring special sound programs. Judge Roy Bean’s well preserved Jersey Lily Saloon, courtroom and billiard hall, and the opera House are located adjacent to the Texas Travel Information and Visitor Center. Roy Bean and his son are buried at the Whitehead Memorial Museum in Del Rio, Texas. The cactus garden has interpretive signage. Open daily, 8am-5pm; 8am-6pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day; closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Easter, New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving. Travelers can also call the toll free line, (800) 452-9292. Road conditions are available 24 hours a day on the toll free line, and travel information is available 8am-6pm. The line also has information on fall foliage trails and spring wildflower trails.The Langtry center is located at U.S. 90 West/State Loop 25 at Torres Avenue. (432) 291-3340.
Pecos River & U.S. 90 Pecos High (Railroad) Bridge:
The Pecos River, one of the major tributaries of the Rio Grande River, rises on the western slope of the Santa Fe Mountain range in Mora County, New Mexico and flows south through New Mexico before entering Texas approximately 40 miles northwest of Mentone, Texas. The Pecos River is dammed on the Texas side of the border to form the Red Bluff Reservoir which is located on the New Mexico-Texas border. The river forms the boundaries between Loving and Reeves, Reeves and Ward, Ward and Pecos, Pecos and Crane, Pecos and Crockett, and Crockett and Terrell Counties. The 926 mile long river flows through Val Verde County to its mouth on the Rio Grande River in the Amistad Reservoir approximately 20 miles west of Comstock, and approximately 40 miles northeast of Del Rio, Texas. The actual confluence of the Pecos and Rio Grande Rivers is located underwater in Lake Amistad. The shoreline of Lake Amistad extends up the Pecos River Valley for over 10 miles. Two wonderful viewing areas are located 18 miles east of Langtry, Texas on the east rim of the river canyon. The roadside park located south of the highway offers the best view in the entire region. The U.S. 90 Pecos River Bridge, a railroad bridge, is one of the most photographed sites in West Texas. Pecos River towns include Barstow, Grandfalls, Imperial, Langtry, Iraan, Sheffield, Pecos, Girvin and Pandale, Texas.
Langtry Historical Travel Fair, May:
Activities include archeology, sheep shearing, historic buildings, historic characters, ranching and living history demonstrations, prehistoric Native American artifacts, chambers, and more. The 2015 event was May 2, from 10am-3pm. Roy Bean Visitor Center Hisory Museum: (432) 291-3340.
Wagon Wheel Restaurant:
They serve good hamburgers.