County's "Second City"
Buchel County Seat *, West
Intersection of Hwys 90 and 385
31 miles E of Alpine
54 miles W of Sanderson
Population: about 800
Texas Area Hotels
|Marathon is usually
thought of as the entry to Big
Bend National Park. It was named for its supposed resemblance to Marathon,
Greece. It's possible, since we haven't visited Marathon, Greece for a comparison,
but somehow we doubt it. |
in a Pecan Shell |
The Halff Brothers of Alsace-Lorraine were Jewish merchants that eventually
owned one million acres of land from San
Antonio to Ft.
Stockton. There were three, but one was drowned during a hurricane in the
Gulf of Mexico. They operated the Circle Dot Ranch** near Marathon until
they found out rustlers could easily burn over their brand. They rode on trail
drives, but soon found they preferred leather in the form of banker's chairs and
opened banks in San Antonio.
One half of the Halff brothers, (Mayer) brought some of the first Hereford
Cattle into the state.
**As a variation to the chicken/egg conundrum - TE asks which branding iron did
they use first? Did they burn the dot in and try to put the circle around it,
or did they have a contest to see who could put the dot in the circle?
The Halff Brothers leased out the land for Camp Pena Colorado to the U.S. Army
for 15 years, until the Indian threat dissolved. The camp was located about 4
miles southwest of Marathon. The camp was first occupied in 1879. It had
water and was on the road connecting Ft.
Clark and Ft.
Davis, but was quite primitive. The coming of the railroad in 1882, improved
David St. Clair Combs, local rancher, donated the land
for a public park in 1935. It's used by locals today and is barely
known to visitors.
Book Your Hotel Here
there was the mechanical bull, now here's a cow with an odometer. Evidently this
is a robotic cow used to practice roping without the ropee tiring. |
Gibson, June 2007
foundation of the old railroad water tower|
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, June 2007
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
On US 90 & Avenue C
Gibson, June 2007
Historic Register Property - most visible landmark in Marathon.
to Docia Schultz Williams, the Gage has at least 3 resident spooks. Ask
for room 10 if you want to be a believer.
The Gage was designed by Architects
Trost and Trost who also built El
Paisano in Marfa and
El Capitan in Van Horn. All three
were built in 1926. The builder of the Gage died one year after its completion.
The Gage Hotel Chef is featured (as well as three of his recipies) in the book
Top Texas Chefs' Favorite Recipes by Ginnie Siena Bivona and Sharry Buckner,
Republic of Texas Press, 1999.
brick hotel building, designed by the El
Paso firm of Trost and Trost, was constructed in 1926-27 for Vermont native
Alfred S. Gage. A cattleman, Gage founded the largest ranching operation in the
Trans-Pecos, consisting of over 600 sections of land. After moving to San
Antonio, where he became a successful besinessman and banker, the hotel served
as his Marathon residence and as the headquarters for his local cattle and banking
Texas Historic Landmark - 1981
My grandmother taught in marathon in the early 1900's.
- R. Goemaat, December 10, 2003
County was one of the "Ghost Counties" of Texas. That is, a county
that was planned, but was never incorporated for one reason or another (low population
was most often a factor). Marathon had been designated the county seat of Buchel
County, but Buchel was later made part of Brewster County in 1897. Our thanks
to Tom Wancho of the State Capitol Visitor's Center for his information on "Ghost
Nearby Destinations Black
Gap Wildlife Management Area: 55 miles south via 385 and RM 2627