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The El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center was established in 1994 by Henry Kellen, a Holocaust survivor. It is an ode to the millions of people who died and to those who endured. This museum presents the atrocities committed during the end of World War II as a grim reminder of hatred and prejudice. Visitors can get a glimpse of that time with the multi-media presentations that cover life before the Third Reich, the subsequent rise of the regime, the concentration camps and more. Admission is free though donations are welcome.
This museum focuses on the more than 400 years of history in this part of what is now known as Western Texas. It is one of the three city-operated museums, the other two include the Museum of Art and the Museum of Archaeology. The permanent exhibits include artifacts and documents that present the past as well as the city's present development. The exhibits are spread over more than 44,000-sq. ft. of space and since the admission is free, it provides a cheap, interesting education on how this part of the Southwest was settled.
The EPMA has been going strong since 1959, providing the city and surrounding area with countless aesthetic delights. About 100,000 visitors come through the doors of the museum annually, to see some of the many temporary exhibits in the well-designed halls and galleries, as well as more than 5,000 permanent artworks. The majority of art focuses on Native American, Mexican and European pieces. The museum offers numerous education programs to enhance one's knowledge and even has it's own art school.
The famous city designer and architect Daniel Burnham designed this historic three-story building in his trademark neoclassic style. The station was erected in 1906 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Over those last 70 years, the station gradually fell into disrepair until the city restored the entire structure in the 1980s. Today, Amtrak has trains that run through its terminals and if you find yourself downtown, it's definitely a building that deserves a visit.
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.
In the midst of the scenic Franklin Mountains lies the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre, a venue that holds over 1,500 spectators. The theater hosts a number of events throughout the year, from plays and concerts to dance and opera, there is something for all ages. During the summer, the amphitheater presents its 'Cool Canyon Nights' series, it's free to public and always a nice entertainment option in the hot desert. See website for upcoming activities and a complete calendar of events.
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.
The Tigua people are the last remaining tribe that carries on Puebloan culture in the state of Texas. Puebloan culture includes all tribes that live in similar ways and have similar cultural practices albeit they speak mutually unintelligible languages. In fact the binding nature of their name also derives from the houses they build, Pueblos. Here at the center inside the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, visitors can learn more about these native peoples with the wealth of education the tribe provides, such as bread baking, social dancing and even a museum with ancient artifacts.
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.