The history of El Paso begins, with the Indians, then the Spaniards, then the Mexican, then the Republic of Texas, and ultimately finds its home in the United States as a border town, which throughout its long and diverse history enriches the residents and visitors to El Paso.
Similar to much of the southern United States, El Paso Texas was originally inhabited by the Indians, although there is no specific date of their arrival. The Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate arrived from Mexico City in spring 1598, claiming the land for the King of Spain, and naming it “El Paso del Norte”. Soon thereafter Spanish Missionaries arrived establishing the first Mission Trail in America, and the Ysleta Mission is the oldest Catholic Church in Texas, as the Tigua Indians have worshiped there since 1682.
While a large part of Texas territory became the Republic of Texas, El Paso remained in the disputed territory, however that ended when in 1845, the Republic of Texas requested to officially become part of the United States. This was finalized in1846 with the official end of the war between Mexico and the United States and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo assuring the right of all, to continue to reside in the U.S. and if the Mexican residents wished to attain citizenship.
The Mexican Revolution began in 1910, however, in May 1911 El Pasoans, has a front seat at the Battle of Juárez. Revolutionaries established a temporary headquarters in the Caples Building, located in downtown El Paso, and while resolute to not harm residents, one stray bullet did claim a resident’s life. After three days, the revolutionaries surrendered, and shortly thereafter El Paso was a “military” city as troops from Fort Bliss as well as the Texas National Guard, and Texas Rangers all descended to guard the border.
Famous places carry the distinction for a variety of reasons, from historic, to cultural and social as well as unique beauty offered by the natural world of the environment, wildlife, flora, the countryside and of course the spectacular skies, both day and nighttime, and El Paso offers all of this from a sometimes volatile, and sometimes peaceful history.
The Caples Building, is famous for playing a part in the Mexican Revolution as headquarters for the revolutionary forces, it was built in the Romanesque architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Magoffin Home, also a state Historic Site, was built in 1875 offers a view into the historical family life of a multicultural family involved in U.S. expansion, settlement, through several wars, and the personal touch with ghost stories by moonlight.
Dating back to 1680 the original materials used for Ysleta Mission are thought to be built of mud-chinked logs using willow reeds, and is now the start of the Spirit of El Paso’s MissionTrail, which still celebrates a Thanksgiving Day feast, originating twenty-three years before the pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts.
Once again it is the nature that brings fame to El Paso in the Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site. As a Sacred Desert Sanctuary access is strictly limited to seventy people in the North Mountain area at one time. It offers both self-guided and guided tours for viewing rock imagery, or just enjoy hiking, rock climbing, bird watching, studying nature and history, picnic or just come to gaze at the stars.
Another magnificent example the El Paso area is Guadalupe Mountains National Park, it is famous for the towering spire of rock, El Capitan, and the highest elevation in Texas the Guadalupe Peak.
El Paso offers a variety of incentives for tourism, with natural beauty, cultural diversity, as well as the long and varied history. For a spectacular view of El Paso the Wyler Aerial Tramway offers a fantastic gondola ride atop the Franklin Mountains, originally built in 1959 to aid with construction of a radio transmission tower, and in public operation from1960 to 1986, it was reopened by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 2001 continuing to offer the ride to panoramic vistas.
Chamizal National Park offers not only the beauty of the park but is also a living testimony to the cultural history of the blended lives and peoples in El Paso. The annual Chamizal Festival offers cultural exhibitions, native storytellers, mariachi bands and vaquero (cowboy) shows.
Tourists of all ages can enjoy the El Paso Zoo, which of course offers not the wild animal aspects such as feeding the giraffe, it also has the Hunt Family Desert Spring interactive water play to cool off and a treehouse playground to explore.
The Franklin Mountains State Park offers a not only the usual active summer activities of hiking, camping, and biking riding it also offers a focus on local culture with a live musical on the city’s history each summer.
Visitors to El Paso have a variety of museums, from the Museum of Art, Museum of Archeology, Railroad and Transport museum to geographically specific to El Paso Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens which offer the ethnological exhibits the region and the Chihuahuan Desert. and the village of Mata Ortiz pottery.
Visitors can also enjoy, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Keystone Heritage Park and Botanical Gardens,Wet n’ Wild Waterworld, the Thousand Steps Trail, St. Patrick Cathedral, and finally for those who have gone before the Concordia Cemetery. El Paso offers to all a fascinating natural, cultural and social history.