THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL LXIV APRIL, 1961 No. 4
rhe Chisos Qicksilver 'oHanza iN
the M4 /eid of Zexas
JAMES M. DAY
N EXTREME SOUTHWESTERN TEXAS the Rio Grande, while
meandering in a southeasterly direction, suddenly makes a
sharp turn toward the north. The land area thus enclosed by
this twist of nature is known as the Big Bend region of Texas;
it consists of approximately nine thousand square miles of rugged
mountainous country.1 One traveler recently described the area
Leaving highway 90 at Marathon, we came to the Big Bend Country
toward sunset, that part of Texas where the Rio Grande makes a
U-shaped bend in its course. In a lifetime spent in traveling, here I
came upon the greatest wonder. The mantle of God touches you;
it is what Beethoven reached for in music; it is panorama without
beginning or end.
No fire can burn so bright, no projection can duplicate the colors
that dance over the desert or the bare rock formations that form the
backdrop. No words can tell you and no painter can hold it. It is
only to be visited and looked at with awe. It will make you breathe
deeply whenever you think of it, for you have inhaled eternity.
There is no tree, no house to measure things by. You are in scale
with the cactus plant, the stone in the distance-the all important and
One of the most extensive highlands in the Big Bend is the
Chisos Mountain Range, which is situated in the southern part of
Brewster County, the largest county in Texas. Within the shadows
of these mountains is located a mineral ore which has played a
'Acreage of Counties in Texas (Chart on file in Texas General Land Office,
2Ludwig Bemelman, "The Texas Legend," McCall's Magazine, August, 1956, p. 25.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/. Accessed April 17, 2014.