One of the first exhibits on the right as you enter the museum grounds is the Old Perry Store which was a general store established in the early days of Del Rio. This building was the entire museum when it first opened but the museum has expanded quite a bit from then. Inside the store there is now a variety of items that show how the store may have looked back when it was operational. The Old Perry Store is a regsitered Historic Landmark.
They also have a replica (scaled down) of the Jersey Lilly which was the building where Judge Roy Bean dispensed justice, shot pool, and drank (sometimes at almost the same time). They also have the gravesite of Bean and his son just behind the building. You can see the real Jersey Lilly in the nearby town of Langtry. I also have a page for Langtry which shows the saloon, opera house, etc.
In the early days of Del Rio, the settlers lived in log cabins similar too this one. This log cabin is not original but was built by a Boy Scout Troop in 1924 as a project, and was moved to the museum in 1963. They built it as close as possible to the originals in style, materials, and technique.
Right next to the entrance to the Whitehead Memorial Museum is the International Chapel. The chapel is dedicated to the Spaniards who first brought Christianity to the area and to the continued friendship between the US and the world.
Del Rio is located on the Texas/Mexican border. One of the greatest traditions in south Texas is spending a night on the town in Mexico. Acuna is the friendliest, safest, and "steriotypicaly" western/texan towns on the border. Walk across or park and take a taxi, have dinner at Ma Crosbys restaurant (Blame it on Mexico..George Strait), and spend a night listening to a Texas country concert at the Corona Club (www.thecoronaclub.com) . All are located on the main street within 1/2 mile from the border crossing, which leads into this street.
For most of the last two decades of the nineteenth century Roy Bean was the only judge operating across several hundred miles of south Texas, a position he was appointed to after several months earning a living selling beer and whisky to workers building
the trans Texas railroad between San Antonio and El Paso. He was the 'Law West of the Pecos', and mixed dispensing justice with selling liquor - the courtroom was also the local saloon and billiard
hall. His reputation for colourful behaviour grew on account of his rough, arbitrary justice methods and particularly after the staging of a heavyweight boxing championship on the Mexican side of the Rio
Grande in 1898, at which time fighting was illegal in many US states including Texas. Both village and saloon (the original 'Jersey Lilly') were supposedly named in tribute to the English actress Lillie
Langtry with whom the judge was infatuated. They never met but she was to visit, in 1904 shortly after the judge died aged about 79 following a drinking spree.
It takes only a few minutes to cross the border from Del Rio, Texas to get into Mexico. Especially if you jump on the back of truck as we did (note: there was a big fgroup of us, not recommended on your own!). Make sure you check with passport control on the American side that you will be ok to cross back over from Mexico. We had to wait a fair while in the passport room to get back over the border but it was worth it. Also, if you want a stamp in your passport (as I did), make sure you ask for one.
When you cross over to Mexico, notice a plaque on the wall of the bridge overlooking the Rio Grande which indicates the cut off point for both Texas and Mexico. If you position yourself correctly you can be in both countries at the same time!
Convince yourself you're not a saddo if you do it....
This is a recreation of the office of Dr. Simon Rodriguez. He was the first Hispanic doctor in Del Rio arriving in 1925. He is reported to have delivered over 3000 babies.
There is also a building on the grounds showing the history of the military in the area and honoring the contributions of the military past and present.
In 1871 a group of settlers dug canals to divert some water from San Felipe Springs and Creek to irrigate cropland. One of these old canals runs through the property of the museum.
There are some displays of birds on the site of the museum too, although I do not believe they are all from the area. Cockatiels are not indigenous to West Texas are they?
They also had several Prairie Dogs on site. Most of them seemed a little shy except this fellow who wanted to pose.