Texas Almanac, 1939-1940 Page: 42
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42 THE TEXAS ALMANAC-1939.
tures of Texas. Its basins supplied salt
to a wide area in Mexico during 300
years of history and are worked iter-
mittently today on a commercial scale.
They were the scene of the historic Salt
War of the eighties. The rainfall for
this area varies from 9 to 15 inches ex-
cept in the upper mountain regions
where 15 to 20 inches of precipitation is
sufficient to produce a fairly heavy
growth of pine, juniper, oak and other
timbers of the Rocky Mountain and Pa-
cific Coast varieties. The surface of the
plateau usually has sufficient vegeta-
tion for moderate grazing and browsing.
The soils are largely rough stony lands
on the uplands and mountain wash of
the valleys classified usually as Brew-
ster group stony lands and Reeves-Ver-
halen classifications, respectively. Ex-
tending for seventy-five miles below El
Paso, and at a few other points along
the Rio Grande, along the Pecos and in a
few spring sections are irrigated regions
producing cotton, fruits and vegetables,
alfalfa, and miscellaneous staple crops.
There is no dry land farming. There
is a large cattle raising industry and the
Highland Hereford is widely known as a
prize winner at the country's greatest
fat stock shows. On the Stockton Pla-
teau region there is a large sheep popu-
The region has apparently great min-
eral possibilities, although minerals are
not of great commercial importance at
present. Silver is produced at Shafter
in Presidio County and quicksilver comes
from several mines in the lower part of
Brewster. There is a very small pro-
duction of other metallic minerals in
conjunction with these and there is lim-
ited quarrying and brick making. Port-
land cement is produced at El Paso.
Salt, as mentioned above, is produced by
the plow-and-scraper method on the sur-
face of the usually dry lakes of the Salt
Flats. There is an abundance of gran-
ite, marble, limestone, clays, marls, gyp-
sum and other building materials, but
the distance of this region from large
consuming markets has been a draw-
back to development. No oil or gas has
been discovered except in very limited
quantities as yet. There is a showing
of a greater variety of metallic and non-
metallic minerals in this region than in
any other area in Texas, possibly ex-
cepting that of the Burnet-Llano basin.
Besides the silver and quicksilver men-
tioned, copper, lead, tin and some minor
metallic minerals are found. In addi-
tion to the nonmetallic building mate-
rials mentioned there are deposits of coal
and lignite, sulphur, borax, potash, mica,
clays, sand and other minerals. Possibly
the great commercial expansion of the
future depends more on mineral devel-
opment than anything else. At present,
in addition to the producing silver and
quicksilver mines, there is a large min-
eral industry in the custom smelter and
the copper refining smelter at El Paso
which serve mining areas in Mexico, New
Mexico and Arizona.
The economy of the region is largely
that of a livestock raising country, al-
though its border possibilities and the
strategic situation of El Paso on national
transcontinental as well as international
routes draws much commerce to this re-
gion. The population, except immediate-
ly along the border which is predomi-
nantly Mexican, is largely white native
stock. It has great potentialities for
increasing its tourist trade.
In the physiography of Texas are
found many canyons, some of which are
remarkable for their depth and beauty.
These canyons may be divided physio-
graphically into four classifications.
1. There are the canyons formed by the
spring-fed streams that flow from the
Edwards Plateau. Beginning in the inte-
rior of the plateau they deepen as they
approach the Balcones Escarpment. Most
notable of these are the canyons of the
Frio, Nueces, Medina, Guadalupe and
Devils rivers. Above Austin the Colorado
flows through some remarkable gorges.
2. Similar canyons are formed where
the streams flow from the Llano Esta-
cado, or Staked Plains, to the east-facing
escarpment usually referred to as "the
caprock." Most notable of these is the
Palo Duro Canyon on the main channel
of the Red River. The gorge of the
Canadian immediately below Amarillo
Tule Canyon, a branch of the Red, and
the shallower upper courses of the
branches of the Brazos are among the
canyons of this region.
3. There are the characteristically short
mountain canyons of the Guadalupe and
Davis ranges. The McKittrick Canyon in
the Guadalupe region is one of the most
beautiful in the Southwest. Pine Canyon
and others cut the eastern side of the
range. In the Davis Mountains are the
Limpia, Musquiz, Cherry, Madera and
other canyons, of which the first men-
tioned is the best known to tourists.
4. In the Big Bend region are a number
of canyons where the Rio Grande cuts its
way through a succession of north-and-
south ranges, of which Santa Helena is
the most noteworthy, a gorge with per-
pendicular walls about 1600 feet high.
The Boquillas Canyon is little less spec-
tacular, and there are several other
gorges on the Rio Grande between
Boquillas and the mouth of the Pecos.
The Maravillas and other canyons of this
region are formed by tributaries of the
Rio Grande. Capote Canyon is formed by
a stream that flows into the Diablo
Bolson. The box canyon of the Pecos
below Sheffield is also a noteworthy
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Texas Almanac, 1939-1940, book, 1939; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117163/m1/44/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.