BLUE CREEK (BREWSTER COUNTY)
BLUE CREEK (Brewster County). Blue Creek rises from a spring in the Chisos Mountains about three-quarters of a mile southwest of Emory Peak in Big Bend National Park (at 29°14' N, 103°19' W) and runs west-southwest for eighteen miles, descending from the Chisos through rugged and beautiful Blue Creek Canyon, then issuing onto the Rio Grande floodplain, and finally running into the Rio Grande about 6½ miles below the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon (at 29°08' N, 103°32' W). Downstream, the creek crosses gravel and silt deposits where have been found a number of mammalian tooth, skull, and skeleton fragments, and also a sizable quantity of skeletal turtle remains, all dating from around the late Eocene. Blue Creek, the major drainage system in this area, drains the southwestern Chisos Mountains and the lands between the mountains and the Rio Grande. Much evidence suggests that the area was occupied for thousands of years by Indians, who depended upon the creek as a water supply. In recent years the water table has dropped because deforestation in the mountains and heavy grazing by domestic livestock at lower elevations have reduced the ability of the ground to absorb and hold rain. The springs that once fed Blue Creek have dried up, and it is now a dry channel except in rainy weather. The earliest settlement of the area began in the late 1890s, when mercury mining began in the Terlingua mining district to the northwest. The subsequent increase in population resulted in part from an influx of Mexican-American families onto the Rio Grande floodplain, where they herded goats and cattle and took up irrigated farming. The most significant settlement to emerge from this development was Castolon, which was built just below the confluence of Blue Creek and the Rio Grande.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, "Blue Creek (Brewster County)," accessed July 23, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rbbfh.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.