In the vast and mystical Chihuahuan desert, Marfa, Texas is an oasis of alluring mystery and transcendental experience.
Located between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park, Marfa was originally founded as a railroad water stop. Now one of the minimalist art and design meccas of the nation, Marfa attracts creatives and adventurers from far and wide.
During the 1920s, the community in Marfa began to grow. By the 1950s, it was nationally famous for its mysterious Ghost Lights. The source of the Fata Mortgana has long been rumored to be anything from UFOs, to wandering spirits. This mysterious phenomena has also been attributed to atmospheric reflections of campfires and headlights, although the first recorded sighting was in 1883, before automobiles were on the market. In modern times, atmospheric scientists hypothesize that the lights are a sort of mirage caused by sharp temperature gradients between cold and warm layers of air.
Marfa Army Airfield was the training grounds for several thousand pilots during World War II. In the 1970s, the army base lands were bought by Donald Judd, an acclaimed visual artist from New York City. In 1979, Judd began transforming the fort’s buildings into art spaces with a vision to house large collections of individual artists’ work on permanent display. Though Judd birthed the contemporary art movement in Marfa, when he died in 1994, Marfa quite literally became a ghost town. Tumbleweeds the size of shopping carts could be seen blowing down the road, and storefronts were completely baron and overlaid with dust. In the early 2000s, Marfa was resurrected, and thus began a kind of renaissance. Artists and Artisans opened new galleries and chic hotels, and the Texas government decided to make a roadside viewing post for the Marfa Mystery Lights.
Today in Marfa, you can expect to find modern art galleries, bohemian boutique hotels and restaurants, eclectic campgrounds, funky bars, and far-out festivals with the ever-ethereal backdrops of reverent desert tones. Take a dive with us through the dreamy high desert..
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