Texas Pecos Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program


In 1881 Pat Monahan dug the first water well between the Pecos River and Big Spring. A community called Monahan's Well sprang up around his water tank. Almost half a century later, a much bigger tank put Monahans on the map. To profit from the West Texas oil boom, Roxana Petroleum Company dug a million-barrel oil storage tank near a line of the Texas and Pacific Railroad. The concrete bowl boasted 35-foot-high walls covered by a redwood roof. Once filled, the tank started leaking and was abandoned. In the Fifties an entrepreneur used it for water-skiing shows, and the city later turned it into a 400-seat amphitheater for performances. The giant, open-air bowl now hosts community events such as dances, cowboy poetry readings, fajita cook-offs and class reunions. The tank is part of the Million Barrel Museum, which also boasts a restored 19th-century hotel, early jail, railroad ticket agent’s office, old caboose and vintage farm equipment. The nearby Monahans Sandhills State Park offers visitors the thrill of walking and sliding across 4,000 acres of white, glistening sand dunes. A visitors center houses exhibits on the environmental forces that shape and maintain the dunes.