My daughter, Regan, and I left our Airbnb in Marfa Texas and headed south down the desert highway going towards the Mexican border. After driving about 30 minutes we found ourselves slowing down through the ghost town of Shafter. We decided to veer off the highway and down the only road of Shafter which consisted of nothing more than dirt and weeds. I wanted to take a look at the historic Catholic church that sat prominently just off to the left. After going beyond the church and driving up to the cemetery then returning towards the main road, we glanced over to the right, beyond the abandoned adobe structures, and saw a balded man with a long beard, wearing a loose brown dress coming down the road towards us. After being in this abandoned town for a good 30 minutes this is the very first sign of human life we’d seen. As he got closer, we realized the dress was actually a robe. Around the waist of the robe was a thick leather belt. Around his neck was a straw hat. He walked over to us and offered a smile and friendly handshake. For a minute I forgot about COVID and shook his hand. He introduced hisself as Father Carlisle and said that he was a monk that lived in the town. We chatted a couple of minutes and found out the population of the town was 28 and that he had been there 7 years. Evidently the population of 28 included another monk who lived just down the road. More about Father Carlisle later.
The old adobe and timber Catholic church below. Father Carlisle told us that it opens for services the last Sunday of each month. It was built in 1890.
Some of the abandoned adobe structures. Notice the roofs are gone. I read that when the towns people left in the 1940s that they took the metal roofs with them.
The town of Shafter was the first major mining town in west Texas established in 1886. At one time there were six silver mines in operation. When the mines closed in the 1940s, the town died. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Shafter Historic Mining District.
I wanted to document Father Carlisle with a photograph so bad. I boldly asked if I could take a picture of him for my blog. He politely said he’d rather not. I could do nothing but respect that. However, I had to get a picture of that awesome robe he was wearing, so as he walked off in the distance I took a fast cell phone image from my car.
Beyond the ghost town of Shafter, stay tuned in for the adventures, Regan, and me had in Marfa, Texas. It’s hard to describe but once you get there, you’ll get it.
I am, Kim, owner of Dear Violet Photography. As a Dothan, Alabama photographer, I specialize in family, maternity, graduating seniors, and business portraits with a focus on branding. I’d be honored to capture your portraits too. Whether you’re in Enterprise, Ozark, Headland or even Panama City, Florida do not hesitate to contact me, Kim, of Dear Violet Photography to find out more about this once in a lifetime experience.
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