Trip Ideas

Mission

History & Culture

Long before El Paso was El Paso, our desert home was known by a different name. Spanish explorers first lent the name El Paso del Norte to the combined areas we now identify individually as El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.

From that former name, to the influence of pachuco’s zoot-suiting around “El Chuco,” or to the familiar landscape and infamous heat rooting the idea of the Sun City—whichever way you choose to reference it, the name, the land and the sites all possess a piece of history waiting to be discovered.

Some of the most well-known facts that are shared among El Pasoans revolve around the alligators that once roamed around San Jacinto Plaza. Perhaps you’re aware of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa’s visits to the tip of Texas or how the very first high-rise Hilton Hotel, now known as The Plaza, was first built here. But, did you know that in 1902 there were 86 saloons in El Paso and one of the most notable, The Coney Island Saloon, was where Mannen Clements, cousin of gun-slinger John Wesley Hardin, was fatally shot in one of the last Old-West-style gunfights.

Wherever you find yourself in El Paso, you are living some part of the past. Take a step back in time with us as we travel to some popular places that make El Paso’s history special.

Magoffin Home
Magoffin Home
1120 Magoffin Ave.
915-533-5147 

Do you ever find it hard to imagine what it was like to live during a certain period? Find yourself thrown back in time when you visit El Paso’s only historic house museum. The Magoffin Home housed pioneer, politician and civic leader, Joseph Magoffin and his family for more than 100 years. The home comprises 19 rooms made of adobe brick. As you venture throughout the home, admire the milled, wood beam ceilings said to have traveled from the Sacramento Mountains in New Mexico to El Paso by wagon. The home offers insights to home and design styles, furnishings, art and décor from the 1890s and 1930s. Take on a tour to learn more about this historic home that once hosted one of El Paso’s most prominent families.

The Union Depot
The Union Depot
700 W. San Francisco
 
 

Attracting thousands of travelers daily, the El Paso Union Passenger Station, or the Union Depot, was a place of hustle and bustle connecting the world for the past 100 years. Opening its doors in 1906, the neo-classical design came from architect Daniel H. Burnham of Chicago and contractor Frank Powers of El Paso. Among its contributions to the growth in El Paso, the Union Depot was also the first international train station and it helped with trade between the United States and Mexico.

Concordia Cemetery
Concordia Cemetery
3700 E. Yandell Dr.
915-842-8200 

Lying just below I-10’s “Spaghetti Bowl” is one of El Paso most historic cemeteries. Dating back to the 1800s, Concordia Cemetery in central El Paso, is famous for being the resting place of notorious gunslinger John Wesley Hardin and El Paso’s first mayor, Benjamin S. Dowell. The cemetery was originally a ranch owned by Hugh Stephenson and his wife Juana Maria Ascarte, who was the first person buried in the cemetery. One of El Paso’s oldest Catholic churches, San José de Concordia el Alto, also stood in the middle of the grounds. So, explore the 52-acre land and snap a few photos of the historic tombstones as well as the sites like the Buffalo Solider Memorial.

El Paso Mission Trail
El Paso Mission Trail
9065 Alameda Ave.
915-851-9997 

Trost Tour
Trost Tour
915-703-3151 

Henry Trost and his architecture firm, Trost and Trost, is responsible for many of the buildings in downtown El Paso. After moving here in the early 1900s, Trost and his younger brother garnered huge success and built El Paso’s first skyscrapers. Among his many buildings are the first ever Hilton hotel, known as the Plaza Hotel, and the White House Department Store. Download the Visit El Paso app to take a self-guided walking tour of the remarkable 10 buildings.

For visitors, locals and history buffs alike, these five sites are great options to discover. Take on a tour, dig up the past and embrace old El Paso.


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