“Half the town is drunker than snot 24 hours a day, and they don’t kill anybody”

That quote is from an article in Outsider magazine about a murder in 2014. Pero that’s another story for another day. Yes, Terlingua is a party town which at first glance has you scratching your head Por Ca (Why) After there are no casinos, no beach, or most things you might find in a party town. I will attempt to answer that but first a little history about the city of Terlingua.

Terlingua was established in 1903 by Chicago industrialist E. Perry and was primarily a mining town. It was the largest producer of quicksilver and cinnabar ore. Pero before Perry, Federico Villalba came to the area and started buying up land. Which included mining interests and retail businesses as well. As common in the history of the U.S., Mexican labor was brought by not only Perry but Villalba as well. Along with being a successful businessman, Villalba was also known as an advocate for the Mexican and American communities (See Plaque below) Unlike some he respected his workers and their contributions to his business and the town.


A small cemetery .

Okay, so that is Terlingua history in thumbnail form. Today Terlingua is best known for the annual Chili Cookoff that first started in 1967. Thousands of participants and chili fans flock to the city on the first Saturday in November every year. When their people enjoy views that can include the Santa Fe Los Pinos Mountain range which is over 80 miles away in Mexico. And Big Bend National Park is just a stone’s throw away, with Marfa and Alpine an hour away or so. The city itself has several water holes along with several food choices. A food establishment of note is the Starlight Theatre Restaurant and Saloon which I believe was once featured on the Texas Bucket List. Relatively new to the area is La Posada Milagro a new favorite for locals and visitors alike which has what is labeled as the best coffee in the area. The local cemetery is a must-see for most, including me (See Pix)

Terlingua has a total population of 127 folks which some describe as mostly drifters, dropouts, and leave-me-alone types. I can believe that, as the area is so remote that you can easily become a ghost. However, on most weekends or weekdays as a matter of fact the visitors far outnumber the local yokels. And while there are no 5-star hotels as far I know in the area, there are plenty of unique lodgings. Like Teepees, something that resembles Igloos, Casitas, RV parking and just camping out along with a motel or two. If any of those sounds good to you, Terlingua always has room for one more, I think it’s worth a stop.

One Response

  1. You made me look!! And then read!! What a story of a town that most people would just miss! Thank you for sharing; I will find on my next trip…

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