West Texas Wonders

West Texas Wonders is a new journalism initiative from Marfa Public Radio that invites you to take part in the stories we cover. It’s guided by you, our listeners, and your curiosity about our region – from the border to the Basin.

Here’s how it works: You submit a question about West Texas that you’d like us to investigate. We’ll run regular voting rounds so you can weigh in on what you most want answered. If your question is picked, a Marfa Public Radio reporter will work with you to find the answer. Finally, we present the answers on-air and online.

You can ask us anything about West Texas, silly or serious, big or small, from that weird street name in your neighborhood to where our tax dollars go.

You can ask questions you don’t otherwise hear in the news —

Do ranch brands and gate symbols in West Texas have secret meanings behind them?

I’ve heard it’s legal to drink beer on the street in Marfa. Is it?

Or you might ask —

Oil and gas companies generate a lot of money in the Permian Basin — how much of that wealth supports the rest of the state, and how much of it returns to the community?

Will it be up to individuals and private companies to raise money to repair the Balmorhea pool?

So, ask away: What have you always wondered about West Texas, the region or its people that you’d like us to investigate?


Your Questions, Answered:

The Burro Lady, Rainfall and Marriage, Old Roads And Gas Stations With The Rambling Boy

Rachel Maxwell of Alpine wants to know what the highest level of education the Burro Lady achieved was. Harry Hudson of Dallas wants to know how Mrs. Kerr of Fort Stockton’s marriage proposal related to rainfall. Gretchen Coles of Marfa wonders … Continue reading

An Astrobleme, And Hotel History With The Rambling Boy

Listeners Linda Beranek, Guadalupe Espinoza, and Josh Knight are among many Marfa Public Radio listeners who have submitted questions about esoteric local history to West Texas Wonders. So we turned to resident historian Lonn Taylor, also known as The Rambling … Continue reading

How Accurate Is The Saying, “For Every Bar In Odessa There’s A Church In Midland?”

By Mitch Borden Today we’re diving into a question from our West Texas Wonders series and this one is taking us to the Permian Basin. Sarah Ross Kelliher, a librarian at the Midland Centennial Library, asked us to get to … Continue reading

Faulting and Fracking: Exploring the History of Earthquakes in West Texas

Listener Ken Richards has always noticed the unique fragments and features of the Big Bend. “I assume some of that, a lot of that, moved around by earthquake,” says Richards. “But I’m wondering if it’s seismically active now.” West Texas Wonders … Continue reading

Without Hospice, Who Gets To Die In The Big Bend?

By Sally Beauvais More than a fifth of the people who call the vast Big Bend region of West Texas home are 65 or older, according to census data from 2016. And many of them, at one point or another, … Continue reading

The Cone-Nose and Chagas Disease: West Texas Realities to Reckon With

Listener Rachel Monroe was preparing recently for a Big Bend river trip. It was summer, and she thought she and her companion, a park ranger, could sleep in the open air, under the stars. But the ranger rejected that idea … Continue reading