Updated: Mar 7, 2020
An old abandoned Mining Town sits on the border with Mexico- and it is incredibly eerie.
The Town of Terlingua, Texas was once a bustling mining town full of life, wealth, and promise. Today, it is a ghost town with abandoned mine shafts, a general store, an old jail, a Church, and multiple ghost houses.
Terlingua became of interest to local miners in the late 1800's when they discovered Cinnabar- a red mercury sulfide. A man by the name Jack Dawson discovered that Mercury could be extracted from the Cinnabar and by 1900, there were four Mining Companies in the area with a population of over 2000 people.
The Chisos Mining Company owned the entire town of Terlingua, and at one point they built a General Store (which you can still shop at to this day), a Post Office, The Chisos Hotel, a Commissary, clean water system, a School, a Theater (which still has shows today), and even telephone service.
Conditions in the mine were tough, and a seven-day work week was the standard. Working grueling days in the desert heat led many miners to die in the Mine. To make matters worse, the Chisos Mining Company even paid their workers in coupons, which could only be spent at the Company owned store.
It has been estimated that by 1934 the Chisos Mining Company had sold nearly $12 Million in Mercury, making $2000 a day at one point. However by 1936, the amount of Mercury produced by the mine declined sharply and the company filed for bankruptcy in 1942.
The best thing about Terlingua is that you are able to walk around the entire Ghost Town. We liked the freedom in the town and we didn't feel like tourists. There wasn't anybody or anything to stop us from exploring inside and out of the buildings.
Our favorite find was the Church, which sits on the hill above the Ghost Town. As we approached the Church, the door opened all by itself (watch the video at the end of this post- we caught it on camera!)
Inside the Church, it was extremely eerie. A storm had been rolling in at the same time we entered the Church, and flashes of lightning could be seen through the windowless room as we walked down the pews.
Our other favorite find was all of the abandoned Miner's Houses and Chisos Mining Headquarters. You can walk through all of these old buildings and get a feel for daily life in the town. Use caution when exploring the town, as there are still many mining artifacts left behind and the buildings can be quite dangerous.
We highly recommend exploring this ghost town. It isn't far from Big Bend National Park. Check out our video on Terlingua below: