Marfa, Texas was originally a water stop for steam locomotives, then it became the Camp Albert military base, which was later changed to Camp Marta during World War I. During World War II, it was used to house German prisoners of war and for mortar testing. In 1949, after the war ended, the base was closed and the land sold into private hands. Marfa is home to the Chinati Hot Springs, its historic Hotel Paisano and the mysterious Marfa Lights.
The Chinati Hot Springs is a retreat in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. Guests may spend the night or just pay for a day visit to the springs. Overnight accommodations are spartan, but comfortable, and include a communal kitchen. Several hot and cold soaking pools are available throughout the site, fed by the natural springs.
The Hotel Paisano opened in 1930 and was a local favorite of ranchers that came to town to buy and sell cattle. In 1955, Hollywood came to town to make the movie, "Giant," on the property. The cast and crew, as well as stars Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean, stayed on site. Each of the stars has a room or suite named after them.
The Marfa Lights appear to be balls of flickering light that show up occasionally in the sky east of the town. The first written record of the sighting was in 1883. While driving cows, Robert Reed Ellison noticed the lights and thought they were Apache campfires. Since then, scientists have been trying to discover their origin, but with no luck. An official viewing area is available on Highway 90, roughly nine miles east of town.