The history of the city of Pecos begins with its strategic location along the Pecos River and the crossroads of various cattle and wagon trails such as the Butterfield Overland Stage Route and the Goodnight-Loving Trail. Given its location in the fertile Pecos river valley, agricultural production, especially cantaloupe, helped sustain the community in the early 1900s and it benefitted from the oil strikes in the Permian Basin. As with many west Texas towns, the terrain and climate was attractive to the military, and Pecos Army Airfield became a major bomber training center. Pecos claims title as home of the world’s first rodeo, held in 1883, the first to award monetary prizes anyway. That tradition continues today as the annual West of the Pecos Rodeo. The annual Cantaloupe Festival takes place in July but if you’re not in town during that time, stop in at the West of the Pecos Museum for a tutorial on all things Pecos.
Orient Hotel, 120 E. 1st St.
Before there was the Bankhead, there was the Orient Hotel. Opened in 1896, the hotel welcomed land promoters, settlers, and salesmen – many of whom helped develop and populate Pecos and the surrounding desert valley. Host to a shootout or two during the 19th century, today it is home to the West of the Pecos Museum. Stop in to brush up on your local history.