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This historical home that once belonged to famed El Pasoan Richard Burges today provides information about the development of the city and county. The building in classic Revival style is an architectural anomaly in the Southwest, yet it is an attraction in its own right. Today, the home houses the El Paso Historical Society office and guests are encouraged to visit and learn more about why this man was so important to the city's people, not just in politics, construction and other endeavors, but in ecological preservation as well. In fact, Burges played an instrumental part in the development and conservation of the famed Carlsbad Caverns.
Also called the Plaza de los Lagartos, San Jacinto Plaza lies at the heart of El Paso's historic downtown district. In fact, the name lagartos roughly translates into "alligator" and at one time there were actual live alligators in a pond that was once here. When the park was established, the owners created a large area for these crocodilians, however they were removed finally in 1975 due to vandals harming them. Today, the plaza pays homage to the alligators in the form of a sculpture which replaced the pond. In December, the plaza hosts the official Christmas Tree Lighting and during the rest of the year, the shade under the trees provides ample refuge from the Southwest heat.
The sweet fragrance of these beautiful roses will allure you while you are in Memorial Park. The Municipal Rose Garden will fascinate you with its vibrant hues and the different types of roses it displays. The garden features 350 different varieties on more than 1600 rose bushes and it also has a lovely water exhibit in the heart of the garden. There is also a small fish pond that is perfect for kids and adults alike.
This museum located on the eponymous military base pays homage to the United States 1st Armored Division, more affectionately known as 'Old Ironsides'. The first division in WWII to encounter enemy fire. Today, the museum exhibits artifacts about this unit which include weaponry, historical accounts, patches, etc. Additionally, if you have the time, visit the replica Old Fort Bliss located on the same property. Admission is free, however you must have identification to enter the base.
The Misión de Corpus Cristi de Ysleta del Sur has a long history, going all the way back to 1682 when it was established by the Tigua Indians. The Tribal community sought refuge at this site while fleeing Spanish forces in 1680 and built a structure made of adobe. Over the next few centuries, the mission suffered casualties as fire and flooding ransacked the buildings. It was rebuilt and moved several times until it reached its present site in 1908. It is considered the oldest continuous parish seat in Texas. Boasting striking semblances of Late Victorian and Classic Revival architecture, the mission site bears a pristine white visage which gives way to most interiors including religious relics and motifs. Yet bearing an inextricable Tigua heritage, the mission shelters a church bell and a few statues which have braved the ravages of time. Spanning more than three hundred years of cultural, spiritual and religious history, this Spanish colonial mission is a stirring emblem of Christianity and aboriginal American ties.
When a fleet of Pueblo Indians escaped from New Mexico during the Revolt of 1680, they settled on the southern banks of the Rio Grande, where they began a new life in the town of Socorro.Two years later in 1682, the Nuestra Señora de la Concepción del Socorro was formed to serve the newly displaced settlers. Fifty years later, a massive flood destroyed the original edifice and another was built on its site. That structure also became a casualty in another flood from 1829. Finally, the third and present mission was erected using some of the salvaged materials from the other churches in 1843. The structure, a stunning stuccoed edifice, not only embodies a distinct architectural style, but also represents the storied history of this important mission that took root several centuries ago. Inside, traditional vigas or painted roofs, beautifully re-purposed from the original 18th-century mission, are of special historical and cultural importance. This beautiful building hosts events and other services, including the annual festival in September to honor the patron saint Michael.
Take the El Paso Mission Trail to get a glimpse of this cow-town's frontier past. This nine mile (14.5km) stretch has the famous missions Ysleta and Socorro alongside the San Elizario Presidio and Chapel. The trail originated back between the 16th and 17th Centuries. In fact, these churches are some of the oldest in the country. Check out the pioneer county jail which housed the infamous Billy the Kid or the exhibit on the Salt War of 1877. The Tigua Cultural Center chronicles five centuries of history, from Indian origins to the Spanish conquest. Each of these historic sanctuaries will transport you to a different era. If you want to know the real El Paso, then this trail is an interesting place to start.