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El Paso

El Paso - description of the city:

El Paso is Spanish for “the pass.” The city is located in the western part of the state of Texas. The estimated population of the city is around 674,433, which makes it the 19th most populated city in America. 

The city sits on the Rio Grande, just across the border from the city of Juarez, Mexico. This entire area is known as being one of the largest binational, bilingual, forces in the entire western hemisphere. 

Fray Garcia, established the mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe for El Paso del Norte in 1659. The village grew around this mission and is now what is known as the El Paso-Juarez region. For the past 4 years, the city has been ranked as the safest large city in the United States. It has ranked in the top 3 safest cities since 1997. 

There is one fortune 500 company and 3 publicly traded companies located in the city. It is also where the Medical Center of the America’s is located. This is the only medical research and car complex in southern New Mexico and West Texas. The university of Texas, which is located in the city, is ranked 7th in the national university rankings by Washington Monthly. The Sun Bowl is held in the city every year; this is the 2nd oldest bowl game in the United States. 

There is a strong military and federal presence in the city. Biggs Army Airfield, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and Fort Bliss are all located in the area. Fort Bliss is one of the biggest military complexes for the United States Army and is also the biggest training area for the country.

History 

The region of El Paso has been settled by humans for thousands of years. This is evidenced by different Folsom points from the hunters and gatherers at Hueco Tanks. Maize farmers were the earliest known cultures of the area. The area was populated by the Jumano, Suma, and Manso tribes when the Spanish first arrived. 

In 1836, the Texas Revolution occurred, but this was not felt in this region because the population of America was small, at less than 10%. However, the region was claimed as being a part of Texas in the treaty that was signed with Mexico. The area remained a self-governed area with representatives from Texas and Mexico. Texas took control of the city in 1846. 

From 1836 through 1848, Americans settled into the region. Anglo settlers established thriving communities next to Hispanic settlements in the area. In 1844, the Texas Republic wanted part of the Santa Fe trade and the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo made the settlements located on the bank of the Rio Grande formally an American settlement. The compromise of 1850 created the Texas and New Mexico border for the city. 

By 1910, most of the people living in the area were Americans, but this was a short lived time as the Mexican revolution impacted the area greatly. This war brought in a number of Mexican refugees. During this time the town boomed as Spanish newspapers, theaters, schools, and movie houses were built. The unrest in Mexico has led to more Mexican natives fleeing to the city throughout the years.

 Mining as well as other industries eventually developed throughout the area. The Northeastern railway started in 1897 in order to help extract the natural resource from the surrounding areas. There was a major business development within the city during the 1920s and 1930s. 

The great depression hit the city hard and the population of the city declined until the end of the Second World War. The majority of the population losses were among the white community. However, whites remained the majority until the 1940s. 

After the war, there was military expansion throughout the area and oil discoveries in the Permian Basin. This spurred economic growth in the area. Oil refining, copper smelting, and garment making as well as other low wage industries spurred the growth in the area.

Arts 

There are many great museums located throughout the city. The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens and Centennial Museum are located at UTEP and include a large collection of Native American and El Paso Brown pottery. 

On the eastern slope of the North Franklin Mountain, you will find the Museum of Archaeology. The grounds of the museum include native plants of the area, samples of shelters from Native Americans, all in a location that is unspoiled. There are dioramas for children that show the geology and culture of the southwest. 

The Museum of Art is near the Plaza Theater, which is located in the public square downtown. The museum has art from many southwestern artists including Tom Lea. 

Some of the other museums located in the city include: 

  • Lynx Exhibits
  • Gene Roddenberry Planetarium
  • War Eagles Air Museum
  • Transportation museum
  • Border patrol museum
  • Magoffin Homestead
  • Science Museum
  • Museum of History

Events 

There are many great events that take place in El Paso. One of the premier events is Amigo Airshow. This is ranked as one of the top ten air shows in the United States. The event consists of ground activities as well as air entertainment. Franklin’s flying circus is one of the acts of the event. These people walk on the wings of the airplane while it is in flight. Some of the ground activities at the event include the Jet Powered school bus. The event has been held at Biggs Army Airfield for 31 years, but it will now take place at Dona Ana Airport. 

Another great event in El Paso is the KLAQ river raft race. This event takes place every year on the second to last Saturday in June. Participants float down the Rio Grande with their friends and family. Organizers of the event encourage participants to build unique rafts and trophies and prizes are awarded for different things such as best decorated, best looking crew, and most points. The race covers 3 miles of the river, from the Vinton Bridge to the Canutillo Bridge. 

The PRCA international rodeo takes place in El Paso as well. This is one of the oldest rodeos in the nation and is often ranked as one of the top 50 rodeo shows in the United States. 

The Fiesta de las Flores is in the southwest and is the oldest Hispanic festival in the area. This is a 3 day festival that takes place over Labor Day weekend and emphasizes the culture and heritage of the Hispanic people in El Paso. Every year 20,000 to 30,000 people attend the festival. Some of the activities that take place include a parade, a senior appreciation dance, crowning a queen, live entertainment, and military appreciation day. This festival is well known for its arts and crafts, authentic cuisine, games, and the services that are available for the enjoyment of all who attend. 

Each year the Neon Desert Music festival takes place. This is a 2 day event that typically occurs at the end of May. There are 5 stages set up in the downtown area where over 30 acts from electronic dance, indie rock, and Latin music will play. 

Balloon fest takes place in the city during the Memorial Day weekend and offers 3 days of hot air balloons floating throughout the skies. There are concerts to attend and over 60 balloons take flight during the event. 

The downtown street festival is also held in June near the convention center. This is the oldest music festival of the city and brings in national, regional and local acts.

Reasons to Visit 

There are many great reasons to visit El Paso. The city has a bit of something for everyone. There is an alluring mix of art galleries in the city, each rich in culture and history. These museums aim to provide visitors with sights that can only be found in the city. 

For those that want a fun night out, you will find that there are some great bowling centers located in the city of El Paso. Bowling has long been a favorite past time of many and you should enjoy a game or two while you are in town. 

When it comes to entertainment, El Paso offers fun for both large and small families. The El Paso zoo is a great place for families to spend the day. You can also spend time biking along the Rio Grande or take time out to feed some baby goats located at the Licon Dairy Farm. If you are looking for roller coasters and other rides, Western Play land is open throughout the year. 

El Paso is probably most known for its rich history and culture. There is a large amount of diversity in this great city and many chances to learn about different cultures are available. You can learn about the Tiguas culture, study the fate of John Wesley Hardin, or visit Magoffin Homestead, who was one of the prominent founders of the city. 

The city of El Paso has a lot to offer for tourists of all types.

Country United States
International title El Paso
Population 649,121 people
Timezone America/Denver
State Texas
Geographic coordinates Latitude: 31.75872 x Longitude: -106.48693

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