Langtry is on Loop 25 off U.S. Highway 90 just north of the Rio Grande and eight miles west of the Pecos River near the southwestern corner of Val Verde County. In 1882 the Southern Pacific line established a grading camp near the Eagle Nest crossing of the Rio Grande to facilitate joining with the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway at the site of Langtry. The camp, at first called Eagle Nest, was renamed in honor of George Langtry, an engineer and foreman who had supervised a Chinese work crew building the railroad. Cezario Torres, one of the original commissioners of Pecos County, and his Torres Manufacturing and Irrigation Company owned most of the land beside the railroad right-of-way in Langtry, but a tent-saloon operator named Roy Bean arrived from another camp and squatted on part of the railroad land. Torres's unsuccessful attempt to keep Bean out precipitated a long-running rivalry between Bean and Torres's son Jesús. Nonetheless, Bean's establishment immediately attracted numerous railroad workers, and disorder mounted in Langtry. Bean was justice of the peace of Langtry for nearly twenty years, and dozens of legends still circulate about him. One story has it that he named the town in honor of a beautiful English singer, Emilie (Lillie) Langtry, after he fell in love with her picture in the newspaper. Though he could not have named the town, Bean did call his saloon the Jersey Lilly in honor of the singer.
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