Details for The Caprock (Atlas Number 5135005299)

Historical Marker — Atlas Number 5135005299


Marker Number 5299
Atlas Number 5135005299
Marker Title The Caprock
Index Entry Caprock, The
City Odessa
County Ector
UTM Zone
UTM Easting
UTM Northing
Subject Codes Exploration and expeditions; geology
Marker Year 1967
Marker Location From Odessa, take IH-20 west about 13 miles to highway rest area/truck weigh station near mile marker 104.
Marker Size 27" x 42"
Marker Text A range of flat-topped ridges and cliffs stretching from Texas panhandle to 20 miles South of this point and extending into new Mexico. The name also refers to tough limestone that caps ridges. Rising sharply 200 to 1,000 ft. above plains. This section, Concho Bluffs, Marks Western edge of Caprock escarpment. Called the "Break of the plains" because it divides the staked plains from the north central plains of Texas. Observed by Coronado's expedition, 1540-1540, provided shelter in storms, but delayed entrance of settlers to staked plains. Herds of stampeding cattle at times plunged over its edge. In the area, the Caprock blocked eastbound wagons, including some from California gold fields in 1850'a. Because of scarce surface water, staked plains were too dry for farming or ranching until wells were drilled and windmills installed. Ridges and canyons here hindered railroad building. In 1881 workmen earned $2.50 a day-highest wages ever paid until then on a texas railroad job-at "Colt's Big Rock Cut" (the mile-wide, 17-ft. chasm visible here). A tragic accident with dynamite injured several of Colt's men and killed three. Their graves, known to the pioneers around Odessa, were on a hill northeast of the tracks, but cannot now be found.