City, Texas is such an ethereal ghost town it doesn't even show up
on the list of Texas ghost towns.
But it existed, and as was the case with just about every ghost town,
its residents once figured their city had an unlimited future.
"Lindsey City is growing in proportion to the city of Boquillas
on the other side of the Rio Grande," a correspondent who called himself
"Kodak" wrote to the Eagle Pass Guide, downstream in Maverick County.
"Favorable reports continue to come from the mines and the Mexican
government will soon commence work on a wagon road from the mines
to Cuartro Ciengas."
"Kodak" wrote that report in May 1896, a couple of years after D.E.
Lindsey had established a trading post on the Texas side of the river,
across from Boquillas.
Because of the mining activity in Mexico on the part of the Kansas
City Smelting Co., business at the store was good. But Lindsey and
"Kodak" both realized that with improved transportation, the picture
could be even brighter. For hundreds of mine workers, the Lindsey
store was the closest place to buy American products.
A man named Frank Ashton had been surveying a wagon road from the
mines in Mexico that would cross the river and proceed to Marathon,
the closest connection to the Southern Pacific Railroad.
"Should the company decide on a road it surely must follow that a
port will be established here, and Lindsey City will soon assume some
proportions," Kodak reflected.
other big news in Lindsey City during that Gay Nineties spring was
matrimonial. Kodak went on to report the wedding of one of Lindsey's
clerks to a senorita from Boquillas, an event witnessed "by a large
company of the leading citizens."
The day after the wedding was Cinco de Mayo, the holiday in observance
of Benito Juarez' decisive defeat of the French in 1867. People from
both sides of the river enjoyed a parade and speeches, Kodak reported.
"Among the amusements was a phonograph exhibition by Mr. Tom W. Peake,
of this city," the writer continued. "Mr. Stanley Peake arrived just
in time from Marathon with a number of new records of Spanish national
music, ordered specially from New York. 'Certamen Nacional' and 'Las
Golondrinas' were well received."
A party couldn't go on forever, and neither did Lindsey City. Turned
out that another wedding killed the town.
While attending a baille in Mexico, Lindsey became acquainted with
the most attractive young lady he had ever had the pleasure of seeing.
As historian Hallie Stillwell later wrote, "When love strikes in the
Big Bend, it strikes like lightning."
The store owner soon sent a note to the woman's father, asking his
permission to marry her. Her father said yes, and another wedding
But Lindsey's partner, Charlie Hess, was a confirmed bachelor. He
didn't like having a woman around and soon sold his interest in the
business to Lindsey. The Lindseys stayed around for a while, but eventually
moved to San Antonio to raise a family.
still a small store on the Texas side across from Boquillas
catering to Big
Bend National Park visitors and residents of Mexico. But the mines
which once gave the area hope of prosperity are long abandoned and
no one living remembers the glory days of Lindsey City, a town arguably
killed by love.
© Mike Cox
January 29, 2004 Column