Located in the center of Fort Stockton, Texas on the corner of Main and Dickenson, is Paisano Pete, one of the most recognizable roadside attractions in the southwest. Before we get to that though, let’s talk about the Old Spanish Trail.
The history of the Old Spanish Trail is as varied as the areas it crosses on its journey from Jacksonville, FL to San Diego, CA. In Texas, the OST has had many routes, but by 1921 a predominantly southern route from Orange to San Antonio to El Paso had been formalized. In the 1930s, Fort Stockton had three US highways converging just east of its busy downtown; US 290, US 67, and US 285. In the middle of this convergent where the 3 historic highways met was a small, wasted triangle of dusty land. Travelers on the OST passed right by this very spot. In 1980, not wanting to let this small patch of land go unused, Fort Stockton built Paisano Pete, the world’s largest roadrunner statue, and placed him there where travelers could easily see him. Although Pete never brought smiles to the Old Spanish Trail travelers back in the day, he is located on the historic route of the OST through Fort Stockton. Today, visitors are encouraged to take a picture with Paisano Pete and thousands of them have done just that.
|The scrap metal roadrunner|
For 13 years, Pete was the World's Largest Roadrunner. At 22 feet long and 11 feet tall, he's still pretty big, but in 1993, a replica of a roadrunner 20 feet tall and 40 feet long was constructed out of junk at the Las Cruces, New Mexico landfill. That replica began rusting and falling apart over the years until 2011 when the artist who built it stripped it down, brought it back to his home and began replacing the rusting junk with thrift store rejects and scrap metal salvaged from the Las Cruces recycling center (it has eyes made from Volkswagen headlights.) Between 2011 and 2014 when the New Mexico roadrunner was placed back in public view at a roadside rest stop, Pete once again held the title of World’s Largest Roadrunner.
Even though Paisano Pete is now the world’s former largest roadrunner, he is still the most famous. If you find yourself in Fort Stockton, be sure to stop and get your picture taken with Pete. It's tradition!
|Of course my daughter had her picture|
taken with Paisano Pete!