Rose Pass in Limpia Canyon|
Photo courtesy Sarah
in a Pecan Shell|
The two mile-long pass
ranges from 4,320 feet to 4,546 feet above sea level. Ironically, the taller mountains
east and west of the pass are 700-900 feet higher, but remain unnamed.
Rangers, Engineers and a Desert Rose
In late summer of 1848 Col. John
Coffee Hays of the Texas Rangers was sent to find a practical wagon road to El
Paso. After 107 days of great hardship and nearly dead of starvation, they
returned to San Antonio with little
more than the answer – “Yes, a road was possible.”
In December of 1848,
Lt. William H. C. Whiting and Lt. William F. Smith, both from the Army Corps of
Engineers, were given orders to explore the same route – through military eyes.
They left San Antonio in February
of 1849, with Whiting commanding the small detachment. Whiting is credited with
naming the pass in 1849 after the Demaree rose, native to the region.
Texas Legend (and former) Texas Ranger William
A. (Bigfoot) Wallace, who once carried mail by foot from San
Antonio to El Paso
later drove a stagecoach along the Skillman mail route which included the pass.
Rose Pass - "A passageway through the Limpia mountains"|
|What’s black and
white and red all over?|
According to the illustrious Handbook of Texas,
in 1859 a mail stage was attacked by Mescalero Apaches who killed the guard and
stole the mail. Their curiosity over the illustrated newspapers in the mail (or
perhaps the crossword puzzles) delayed their escape and pursuing troops caught
them, killing 14 of the group. Survivors told the story back home and unwilling
to admit being distracted, blamed the papers – declaring them to be bad luck.
In 1936 the pass qualified for the Centennial Marker shown here.
Wild Rose Pass Centennial Marker
Photo courtesy Sarah
IN EARLY DAYS
THE INDIAN TRAIL THROUGH THESE MOUNTAINS
FOLLOWED THE GORGE
KNOWN AS LIMPIA CANYON.
TO AVOID THE FLOODS
THE SAN ANTONIO-EL PASO ROAD,
EMIGRANTS, U. S.TROOPS AND SUPPLY TRAINS,
AND THE MAIL
CHOSE THIS HIGHER PASS
FAMED FOR ITS WEALTH OF WILD ROSES
[17 mi. N Fort Davis]
These photos were taken in January (2007) when the wild rose bushes
were bare, but I noticed that travelers had attached artificial roses as a tribute
to the earlier pioneers. - Sarah
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