There’s a tiny speck of a town in Texas along the Mexico border that ensnares most visitors to nearby Big Bend National Park for at least an afternoon. Its curious origins, quasi-historic status and the dusty faded remnants of its former mining life under a brutal desert sun attract the odd hiker, the off-the-beaten path traveler, the souvenir collector and the chili fanatics. Once each November, the infamous Terlingua Chili Cookoff takes place here, and it may be the only time of the year that the heat of the chili exceeds the heat of the desert, as the population swells from fewer than 100 to more than 10,000.
At the town’s entrance, visitors are greeted by the Terlingua Cemetery, a final resting place for Terlingua Ghost Town’s residents and miners felled by the 1918 influenza epidemic and the harsh cinnabar-mining conditions, in a creative array of marked and unmarked graves, some stone, some wooden and carefully lettered, adorned by pink and red plastic flowers. The overall effect is of a forlorn, lonely place as though in a sepia photograph, from a dusty old album you just found in your great-grandmother’s attic trunk, the Terlingua ghosts long gone, beckoning a modern-day photographer to raise a camera.
- Terlingua – Ghost Town Celebration (earlbrussell.wordpress.com)
- Ghost Town Texas (ghosttowntexas.com)
- Terlingua Music (terlinguamusic.com)