"If "Less is More" then
Even Less is Even More."
Loving County Seat, West Texas
State Hwy 302 (off 285)
21 miles NE of Pecos
38 miles W of Kermit
94 miles W of Odessa
2 miles NE of ghost town Porterville
Population: Estimated 50
Texas Area Hotels
marker is just a preview of things to come
"Entering Loving County"
Photo by James
Town that makes Archer
City look like Mexico City
Mentone has become famous for its lack of people. Besides no newspaper,
no grocery, no doctor and no school children (they do have a school,
but its been closed since the 70s), they also have to haul in drinking
water. They even rely on nearby Kermit or Pecos for the use of their
cemeteries. People have been buried in Loving County, but their graves
are only of interest to archeologists.
lone café in Mentone
in Downtown Mentone!
or The Loneliness of the Long Distance Roadrunner
There is a Loving County Courthouse and a Loving County/Mentone post
office. There may or may not be a café. It's hard to tell if it's
Our visit occurred on a Sunday morning, which traditionally is
a slow day for Mentone. We were following a roadrunner down the main
street (observing all traffic laws), hoping he/she would pause so
we could photograph him/ her. There was a snake in his/her mouth,
but this is not unusual. Especially in Mentone. The roadrunner was
avoiding us and was still trying to keep his/her grip on the snake
when it (the roadrunner) collided with a rabbit. Evidently the rabbit
was so shocked at seeing humans that he/she froze and the preoccupied
roadrunner almost impaled him/her with his/her beak. The rabbit quickly
came to his/her senses and resumed normal rabbit activity in Sunday
Church - The oldest
building in Loving County
Photo courtesy Richard Berger, April 2004
Rick Vanderpool reported that when he visited Mentone (one always
remember's one's visit to Mentone) he spotted a coyote three blocks
from the courthouse (Mentone City Limits) at 2:37 in the afternoon.
The coyote was probably leaving town after a messy divorce. Where's
Marlin Perkins when we really need him?
out and touch someone - anyone!
Mentone Dialtone or When the phone doesn't ring, it's probably
a wrong number.
We had heard a rumor that the last quarter removed from the Mentone
phone was bronze. There had been an AP story a few years ago about
a decision to remove this Loving County lifeline. It bothered us to
the point that we swore if we were ever one hundred miles from Mentone;
we would check it out. We were, we did, and we are glad it's there.
town so nice they incorporated twice
Mentone also has the distinction of being the only county in Texas
that was incorporated twice. It seems that they got behind in their
taxes back a long time ago and Winkler County held the deeds to the
6 or 8 ranches until things were put straight.
Mentone turns down government money they would get from revenue sharing
(but they're nice about it).
Mentone Post Office
former Mentone Post Office
story is that Mentone was named after Menton, France. Since Menton
is on the French Riviera, it's doubtful that a homesick Frenchman
was reminded of his hometown, but then again, that's the story. Don't
look for a Sister City relationship anytime soon.
Ray Miller's excellent Eyes of Texas Travel Guide in 1981 had a photo
of a calendar that hung in the Mentone Service Station. It showed
a view of Menton, France. We'd love to hear the story of how the calendar
came to be there.
10 Slogans for Mentone, Texas >
"Innnocents" Rare in 1950's Mentone
My parents and I moved to Mentone around 1945 and left in 1959.
I started school in Mentone in 1947 at the age of five. At that
time, the population of Mentone was around 150. My father was a
pumper for Gulf Oil and we lived about a mile from town.
One of my girlfriend's daddy was the sheriff and we spent a lot
of time playing in the courthouse.
On the second floor of the courthouse was a large room where County
Commissioners met each month and where the County Judge listened
to legal cases. As kids, we decided and acted out our roles for
the day. The "Judge" sat in the big chair behind the bench and would
swear in the "accused and witnesses" (with their hand on the bible).
The "lawyer" would ask questions. After deciding the accused's guilt
(very seldom was anyone found innocent), the judge banged the gavel
and sentenced the guilty child to time in jail. There was one small
cell with 2 bunk beds. We'd all go in there and sit and the jailer
(the sheriff's wife or some other mother) would bring in sandwiches
and drinks and we'd have a picnic. Afterwards, we could all slide
down the wood bannister to the first floor and go home.
I started 5th grade in Pecos,
TX and graduated from there in 1959 and my family moved from Mentone
I have such fond memories of my life in Mentone and Pecos. I try
to drive back out to Mentone anytime I'm in the area. My husband
called it my "childhood fix. Of course, the house we lived in has
been gone for many years but I can still find the old dirt road
and the remnants and the memories. Thank you for [your magazine]
and little piece of history from my past. - Patsy Powell, January
worked for Pasotex Pipeline very near Mentone, Texas. I went to
the school in Mentone. The year I started to school there were about
4-5 seniors that graduated from there. I went to the first, second
and part of the third grade there. Then, we had to go to Pecos,
Texas for the rest of my school. I graduated from Pecos, Texas
in 1959. So, I know the school closed long before the 1970's. From
Mentone, Texas, we moved down the road to Orla,
Texas. We lived at the Standard Oil Pump Station called, Orla
Station. Orla had a grocery with a post office in it and a cafe
next door. There was a "motel" but people lived there. There was
also a church. My Father helped get a school bus started from Pecos
for all the Oil company children and ranchers children. When we
first started there were my sister and myself and two other girls
that were sisters. Their Father also worked for an oil company.
When I graduated, there was the biggest bus that they made. I don't
remember how many children were on the bus but it was full. - Rita
Ann (Lee) Wagner, August 28, 2004
spent the weekend in southeast New Mexico with my best friend and
her brother (both natives of Monterrey, NL, MX), I decided we should
briefly visit Mentone on the return trip.
We got photos of the courthouse, the old school that closed thirty
years ago, the church, and the convenience store. We ended up at
the Boot Track Cafe, where the cook whipped up what had to be the
best tasting hamburgers we've had all year. They were also eager
to discuss their town with us.
By the way, today is the cook's birthday, and the friends who came
to visit her even shared some cake with us. Regards - Edward A.
Hamm, Dallas, Texas USA, 18/Nov/2002
... I love
the general style of the entries. The humor is great. I especially
liked the nicknames
for Mentone. Keep up the great work. This is the most exciting
thing I've seen for Texas devotees since the Texas Almanac. - J.
Barnes, Humble, December 28, 2001
First published September 2000
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