Texas over Time: Big Bend National Park–The Window

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.


  • Being directly on the United States-Mexico border, Big Bend has been the landmark of several different disputes between Mexico and the U.S. On May 5, 1916, Mexican raiders and American soldiers fought a three-hour battle in the town of Glenn Springs, which is now a popular spot in Big Bend’s park.
  • As a part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, thousands of young men were given employment by carving out the seven-mile access road, “using only picks, shovels, rakes and a dump truck” into the Chisos Mountains Basin.
  • With only 1,409 visitors in its first year, Big Bend now has an annual record of over 300,000 visitors.
  • The Window frames panoramic views of the canyon and is a popular location at sunset. It is made from the rock canyon that cuts through the Chisos Mountains rim.


“Chihuahuan Desert.” – DesertUSA. Digital West Media Inc., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <http://www.desertusa.com/chihuahuan-desert.html>.

“Texas’ Gift to the Nation.” National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2016. <http://www.nps.gov/bibe/learn/historyculture/tgttn.htm>.

“Big Bend National Park Mountain Hikes.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, 03 Feb. 2016. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/mountain_hikes.htm>.

“Big Bend National Park.” National Geographic. National Geographic Partners, LLC., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/big-bend-national-park/>.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant. See these and other images of Big Bend in our Flickr set.

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