Van Horn, Texas

Anglo-Texan settlement began in the late 1850s and early 1860s supportive of the San Antonio-El Paso Overland Mail route. Although U.S. Army Major Jefferson Van Horne is believed to have passed near the area in 1849 on his way to take command of what would later become Fort Bliss the town is instead named for Lt. James Judson Van Horn who commanded an army garrison at the Van Horn Wells beginning in 1859. Lt. Van Horn’s command was relatively short-lived, as the post was seized by Confederate forces in 1861 and Lt. Van Horn was taken prisoner. Settlement was further stimulated by the construction of the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1881.The town has several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places including the First Presbyterian Church (now Primera Iglesia Bautista), built in 1901. (Wikipedia)

We intended to stay for an overnight, but ended up staying 3 nights. This was partially due to weather, but it was so quiet and peaceful we just kicked back and read books and walked around and worked on our webpage. The peacefulness of the park may not last however as they were adding permanent sites for the expected influx of workers for various projects in the area. Poppy found this a very interesting place when she discovered rabbits hopping around. Squirrels were her favorites in Savannah, but bunnies are bigger and exciting.

The campground has a seasonal restaurant that opened when we were there and we wanted to show our support. The owner was in training as the cook under direction of the park manager. We went for dinner Friday night then for breakfast the next morning. It spoiled us (Sandy mainly, who said she could get used to this type of campground.)

In late 2006, The Wall Street Journal reported that Jeff Bezos,  founder and CEO of amazon.com, had acquired 290,000 acres (1,200 km2) of land 25 miles (40 km) north of Van Horn to house his fledgling space tourism company Blue Origin. As of 2008, Blue Origin had been expected to start commercial operations as early as 2010, aiming for 52 launches per year from the Van Horn facility. As of March 2010 however, Blue Origin and Bezos “have been very secretive about” the plans for the Van Horn facility for the past five years, having granted no interviews with news media since a single interview with the Van Horn Advocate in early 2005.(Wikipedia)

In early 2010, NASA awarded Blue Origin US$3.7 million to work on an advanced technology, which detaches a crew cabin from its launcher if the shuttle malfunctions. (Wikipedia)