In the wild, harsh region of the Big Bend civilization came slowly. Rich deposits of mercury were discovered here about 1900, and the mining town of Study Butte (Stew-dy Beaut) came into being around the Big Bend Cinnabar Mine, managed by Will Study. But fame and progress, elusive as the quicksilver itself, faded as the mine became less and less profitable, and was closed in the early 1940s. Today, a few families live among old stone and adobe structures. Visitors pause to absorb silent impressions of a colorful past, and occasional rockhounds search tailing heaps for fragments of cinnabar, agate and other colorful rocks.
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