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Brewster County | West Texas

LINDSEY CITY, TEXAS


A ghost town in Big Bend National Park


by Mike Cox


Lindsey 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.



The 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 was on.

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.



There's 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
"Texas Tales" January 29, 2004 Column



Boat in Rio Grande River




The crossing at Boquillas
TE Photo


TX Brewster County 1920s map
Brewster County 1920s map showing Boquillas & Marathon
From Texas state map #10749
Courtesy Texas General Land Office

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