Pecos, Texas

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Not to be confused with Pecos County, Texas.
Pecos, Texas
City
Storefronts in downtown Pecos
Storefronts in downtown Pecos
Location of Pecos, Texas
Location of Pecos, Texas
Reeves County Pecos.svg
Coordinates: 31°24′56″N 103°30′0″W / 31.41556°N 103.50000°W / 31.41556; -103.50000Coordinates: 31°24′56″N 103°30′0″W / 31.41556°N 103.50000°W / 31.41556; -103.50000
Country United States
State Texas
County Reeves
Area
 • Total 7.3 sq mi (18.9 km2)
 • Land 7.3 sq mi (18.9 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 2,601 ft (793 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 8,780
 • Density 1,202.7/sq mi (464.6/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 79772
Area code(s) 432
FIPS code 48-56516[1]
GNIS feature ID 1364996[2]

Pecos (/ˈpkəs/ PAY-kəs[3]) is the largest city in and the county seat of Reeves County, Texas, United States.[4] It is situated in the river valley on the west bank of the Pecos River at the eastern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert and the Trans-Pecos region of west Texas and near the southern border of New Mexico. The population was 8,780 at the 2010 census. The city on January 24, 2012, had just appeared on Forbes 400 as the 2nd-fastest growing small town in the country.[5] The city is a regional commercial center for ranching, oil and gas production and agriculture. The city is most recognized for its association with the local cultivation of cantaloupes.[6][7] Pecos claims to be the site of the world's first rodeo on July 4, 1883.[8]

History[edit]

Pecos is one of the numerous towns in West Texas organized around a train depot during the construction of the Texas and Pacific Railway. These towns were subsequently linked by the construction of U.S. Highway 80 and Interstate 20. Prior to the arrival of the railroad, a permanent camp existed nearby where cattle drives crossed the Pecos River. With the introduction of irrigation from underground aquifers, the city became a center of commerce for extensive local agricultural production of cotton, onions and cantaloupes. The introduction of large-scale sulfur mining in adjacent Culberson County during the 1960s led to significant economic and population growth.[9] The growth was reversed after mining operations ceased in the 1990s.

In 1962 Pecos resident Billie Sol Estes was indicted for fraud by a federal grand jury in a business scandal that involved allegations against then United States Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson.

Pecos is the site of the largest private prison in the world, the Reeves County Detention Complex, operated by the GEO Group.[10]

Geography[edit]

Pecos is located at 31°24′56″N 103°30′0″W / 31.41556°N 103.50000°W / 31.41556; -103.50000 (31.415417, −103.499955).[11]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.3 square miles (19 km2), all of it land.

Demographics[edit]

Signpost in Pecos
Population
Census Pop.
1890 393
1900 639 62.6%
1910 1,856 190.5%
1920 1,445 −22.1%
1930 3,304 128.7%
1940 4,855 46.9%
1950 8,054 65.9%
1960 12,728 58.0%
1970 12,682 −0.4%
1980 12,855 1.4%
1990 12,069 −6.1%
2000 9,501 −21.3%
2010 8,780 −7.6%
1890-2000,[12] 2010[13]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 9,501 people, 3,168 households, and 2,455 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,300.1 people per square mile (501.8/km²). There were 3,681 housing units at an average density of 503.7 per square mile (194.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 2.45% African American, 0.46% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 18.06% from other races, and 22% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 79.57% of the population.

There were 3,168 households out of which 39.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.0% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.5% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.47.

In the city the population was spread out with 32.5% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,943, and the median income for a family was $26,376. Males had a median income of $25,867 versus $13,874 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,857. About 23.4% of families and 27.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.0% of those under age 18 and 15.6% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

Water tower and an old church in Pecos, Texas

The City of Pecos is served by the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District, which currently has five schools:

  • Pecos Kindergarten
  • Austin Elementary - 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade
  • Bessie Haynes Elementary - 4th and 5th grade
  • Crockett Middle School - 6th, 7th and 8th grade
  • Pecos High School - 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade

Pecos quietly integrated its high school department in August, 1955. Seven Black students, from George Washington Carver School, graduated in May, 1956 being among the first African Americans to graduate public high schools in Texas after the May 17, 1964 Supreme Court decision.

Climate[edit]

Pecos experiences a desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. Pecos' aridity results in a substantial Diurnal temperature variation, resulting in cool nights even after hot summer days.

Climate data for Pecos, Texas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 89
(32)
94
(34)
103
(39)
106
(41)
112
(44)
118
(48)
116
(47)
113
(45)
110
(43)
106
(41)
94
(34)
89
(32)
118
(48)
Average high °F (°C) 61
(16)
66
(19)
74
(23)
84
(29)
91
(33)
99
(37)
99
(37)
98
(37)
92
(33)
82
(28)
69
(21)
63
(17)
82
(28)
Average low °F (°C) 28
(−2)
31
(−1)
38
(3)
48
(9)
57
(14)
67
(19)
69
(21)
68
(20)
61
(16)
50
(10)
35
(2)
29
(−2)
48
(9)
Record low °F (°C) −9
(−23)
−8
(−22)
12
(−11)
24
(−4)
30
(−1)
48
(9)
55
(13)
45
(7)
37
(3)
25
(−4)
8
(−13)
1
(−17)
−9
(−23)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.42
(10.7)
0.38
(9.7)
0.33
(8.4)
0.57
(14.5)
1.14
(29)
1.11
(28.2)
1.33
(33.8)
1.24
(31.5)
1.85
(47)
1.16
(29.5)
0.47
(11.9)
0.49
(12.4)
10.48
(266.2)
Source: Weatherbase [14]

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]