West Texas Wonders:
Why Is There A Telephone Pole Sprouting Through The Roof Of A Building In Alpine?

By Sally Beauvais

If you’ve spent any time waiting for the train to arrive at the Amtrak station in Alpine, you may have noticed it, too: a telephone pole, sticking clear through the pitched roof of a warehouse on the other side of the tracks — as if it just grew there, like a tree.

The former Big Bend Wool and Mohair warehouse is now owned by True Value, a local hardware store. (Sally Beauvais / Marfa Public Radio)

The pole doesn’t appear to be connected to any kind of system, and there aren’t any other poles in the immediate area that resemble it.

Alpine resident Mike Green asked West Texas Wonders what it’s doing there.

This photo from 1945 — the year the warehouse was constructed — shows the pole in question as part of an existing system. (Alpine Avalanche, August 31, 1945 / Archives of the Big Bend, SRSU, Alpine)

The answer begins with the history of the building, which was once a wool and mohair warehouse (and, over the years — a feed store, saddle shop, consignment sales warehouse, back up vault for the local bank, and space for livestock shows and dances) and ends with Santa Claus.

A livestock show at Alpine’s wool and mohair warehouse in 1954. (Glenn Burgess Collection / Archives of the Big Bend, SRSU, Alpine)

This story features Bob Wills’ Steel Guitar Rag, as well as audio from this historical video.

Listen to it at the top of this page.

About Sally Beauvais

Sally Beauvais reports on rural issues in Far West Texas. She also runs Marfa Public Radio's engagement efforts.
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West Texas Wonders is a storytelling initiative from Marfa Public Radio that invites you to take part in the stories we cover. Visit marfapublicradio.org/curious for more information.