We stayed at Park Hills Christian Church in El Paso, TX on the way to and from a mission trip to build a house for a family in Juarez. The unique orange circle of a church boasts a beautiful view of both the city of El Paso and the mountain behind the church. On our last night in El Paso before leaving, my boyfriend asked me if I'd like to climb the mountain with him in the morning, and if that would be romantic. I answered yes to both, and so at 5am the next morning, we set off up the mountain. Both tired from three days of dealing with concrete, pounding nails, drywalling, and stuccoing, we didn't quite make it to the top. From where we stopped though, we got a beautiful view of the city lights. It's really interesting because you can perfectly see the line between the U.S. and Mexico--in the U.S. the lights are bright, white, and scattered around, while in Mexico the lights form a hazy yellow blanket over the city of Juarez. My boyfriend and I sat up there reminiscing about the trip and everything that's different and the same in Mexico and the U.S. until the sun rose. Then we wandered back down the mountain in the calm of first daylight.
Probably the best petroglyphs/pictographs in the self-guided area was Mescalero Canyon. This is also the most recent. It depicts a battle about 165 years ago between 25 Kiowa Warriors and 800 Mexican Soldiers. The Kiowa lost one brave then escaped into the mountains. These petroglyphs were also damaged by graffiti and the National Park Service hired someone to eradicate the graffiti in 1974. Unfortunately, they hired an idiot. He brought a large sandblaster. He got rid of the graffiti alright but also the petroglyphs. You can see the large gap he left in Photo 5.
There are ancient petroglyphs (carved) and pictoglyphs (painted) all through the area. Most of the ones in the self-guided area have been pretty much destroyed with graffiti and are hard to see. For the best views of petroglyphs go on one of the guided tours.
This is one of the smaller tanks located on North Mountain. It was dry when I visited. When it is wet, there are some interesting animal life in them. Do not touch the water because the oils and dirt from your hands can kill the fragile creatures living here.
There are trails you can access from the Interpretive Center or the Parking Area. The total length of the trails are 1 1/2 miles. They are all easy except for a portion that goes up the mountain where it gets steep and you must grasp chains to make your way along the trail (see photo 3). These are the only trails that are self-guided.
Just outside the Interpretive Center, there are ruins of a Stagecoach Relay Station for the Butterfield Overland Mail. This is not the original spot where the station was located from 1858 to 1861; the ruins were relocated from another, more fragile spot.
At the Interpretive Center you will show your registration and watch a mandatory 15 minute film. The first part informs you about the history of the area, then turns into the normal prohibitions. There are a few interesting displays in the center.
Your first stop will be the Visitors Center. Here you will fill out a registration, pay the fee of $5 per adult, and get instructions to drive down to the Interpretive Center which is located in the old Escontrias Ranch house.
The area around the Magoffin House has been declared an historic district and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are several buildings in the area of historic and/or architectural interest.
In 1875, pioneer politician and businessman Joseph Magoffin built this magnificent Territorial style home out of adobe with Greek Revival architectural details. The home is filled with original furnishings from the Magoffin Family. The Magoffin family called this home for 111 years. Today it is open as a museum showing how an affluent family lived on the frontier of the west in the late 1800s. Open daily 9 AM to 5 PM. There is a nice garden and a few picnic tables on site. Scheduled for renovation sometime Summer 2012.
Right smack in the middle of downtown El Paso you wil come across the Plaza Theatre. The big theatre, which opened September 12, 1930. It was advertised as the largest theater of its kind between Dallas and Los Angeles. Designed as a modern film house with the flexibility of presenting stage shows, the Plaza eventually hosted popular traveling shows and movies, becoming a fixture in the lives of theatergoers for generations to come.
Although several theaters existed in downtown El Paso at the time the Plaza Theatre opened, its size, elaborate decor, and technical innovations made it stand out. No expense was spared in creating this elaborate building, designed in Spanish Colonial Revival style of architecture.
Murchison Park is operated by the City of El Paso and is located toward the end of the great Scenic Drive in El Paso. It is said to be the ending or beginning point of the Rocky Mountains with the Franklin Mountains. There is a flag pole at the point that is visible from most points of the City. There is also an outer rock point at Murchison Park that you can hike out to with some commanding views of El Paso. Parking is sometimes hard to find and I understand that at night that it is even more difficult.
Burges was the City Attorney in 1908 and was responsible for writing the City Charter. He was also responsible for helping get Carlsbad Caverns national park status and the creation of the Elephant Butte Dam. His once elegant Classic Revival House with majestic white columns is now the offices of the El Paso County Historical Society. The house sits on a hill as you go up to the UTEP Campus and Scenic Drive
El Paso Street is located in the heart of El Paso. This is the first and oldest street in the city. Famous folks have walked this street including Wyatt Earp (officer of the law in various Western frontier towns), Billy the Kid (a 19th century American frontier outlaw and gunman), Pat Garrett (an American Old West lawman, bartender, and customs agent who was most known for killing Billy the Kid), Pancho Villa (one of the foremost leaders of the Mexican Revolution, between 1911 and 1920), U.S. President William H. Taft, and the legendary El Paso Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire (an Old West gunman and lawman). On April 14, 1881, the infamous Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight took place on this dusty street between present day East San Antonio Ave. and East Overland Ave.
But for me the most attractive was architecture of a few old buildings along El Paso Street including this building in my pictures which stands on corner of West Overland Ave. and represents mixed style that reminded me a bit some buildings in Mudejar style I have seen in southern Spain.
This bronze statue is 14 feet high and the tallest historical monument in Texas. The one and a half ton statue of Spanish Franciscan monk Garcia in Pioneer Plaza was unveiled in 1996. The priest has long beam with date 1659 and mysterious signs carved on.
There is a short information on the post: Fray Garcia de San Francisco, founder of the Pass of the North, 1659. El Paso del Norte (the present day Ciudad Juarez across the border from El Paso), was founded on the south bank of the Río Bravo del Norte, (Rio Grande) in 1659 as little church and mission built by Fray Garcia who came from Spain to New Mexico 30 years earlier. He introduced Native Americans (Indians) to agriculture, irrigation, raising of livestock and cultivation of grapes.
The Garcia statue is the first of 12 sculptures that form a greater project called XII Travelers Memorial of the Southwest. This project "promotes the rich heritage, cultural diversity and attractions of the great city of the Pass of the North and the surrounding region" (link below). The last sculpture is the world's largest equestrian bronze (Don Juan de Oñate) dedicated in El Paso International Airport on April 21, 2007.
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