Famous Landmarks in El Paso – Our Top Five
El Paso has a lot of history and culture that people sometimes don’t know or remember. Everything from the Butterfield Trail, to one of the oldest and longest running NCAA Bowl Games happening here every year, to having the only NCAA Basketball Team in the state with an NCAA Championship Title, to historic bad things like the first plane hi-jacking occurring here many decades ago!
Sandra Day O’Conner, Debbie Reynolds, Gene Roddenberry, F. Murray Abraham, Sam Donaldson, Sherman Helmsley all claim El Paso as their home. John Wesley Hardin, the man known for killing Billy the Kid is from El Paso and is buried here. (Billy the Kid is too, in Mesilla.) Many major movies have been shot or had scenes filmed here, including the chase scene in “The Getaway”, Bruce Willis’ “Last Man Standing”, “Courage Under Fire” had battle scenes filmed here, the cool big city bar in “Committed” was actually one of El Paso’s hot spots. Elizabeth Taylor lived in El Paso at the Hilton while married to Conrad “Nicky” Hilton, Jr. UTEP Basketball changed the face of basketball forever with the first all-black starting lineup in the National Championship game against Kentucky in 1966!
What are some of our favorite local landmarks? Everyone has something they enjoy, so we polled across the staff to learn some of our favorite Famous Landmarks.
Andy Lee offers you the Mission Trail. “I think the best piece of history this area has to offer is the Mission Trail. Three unique and beautiful churches line the trail. Each has its own history and stories to tell. Built in 1680, the Ysleta del Sur mission predates many east coast American landmarks. Ysleta del Sur is the oldest continuously active parish in the state of Texas. The Socorro Mission was built by Piro Indians and Spanish families who had fled Socorro, New Mexico after the Pueblo Revolt of 1860. The San Elizario Chapel was completed in 1882 and has a more European look that the other two missions. All three are beautiful and amazingly still active. They also represent the native American and Spanish influences that define the ‘El Paso Del Norte’ region.”
Courtney Nelson, an avid motocross rider and Boy Scout dad loves riding and hiking around the area, like at Franklin State Park. “I just did a hike with my son’s Boy Scout Troop through FRANKLIN MOUNTAIN STATE PARK. (5 miles, Cramp!) Very cool trails for hiking or Mountain Biking…..beautiful view. Court and I plan to go back with our bikes to do this cool, beginner downhill section. Rabbits, Coyotes were out early. Also did CITY OF ROCKS back in October. (2.5 hours away, near Silver City NM) It’s this area full of giant Boulders in the middle of no where….which experts believe to be a debris field from a Volcanic eruption 35 million years ago. The volcano was 19 miles away! Holy crap! Very cool park for camping, rock climbing. The kids loved it.”
Glenn Garza goes downtown to the Camino Real Hotel. “The Camino Real Hotel. (Across from The Plaza which was the very first Hilton, built by Conrad himself!) Family friendly and FULL of history. See where presidents, famous actors/actresses have stayed, drink where Pancho Villa (who was also from El Paso) drank and within a few steps in any direction of more wild west history than you can shake a peacemaker at!”
Johnnie Walker learned how big a deal our very own Hueco Tanks is with climbers when he was on vacation in California. “After meeting several climbers a friend of mine introduced me to, they found out I live here and have climbed at Hueco Tanks, and suddenly they were all freaking and asking about it. I never knew that we had what climbing magazines have called a Mecca for climbers! People come from all over the world to climb here, and there are videos of some of the great climbs at Hueco Tanks.”
JT remembers climbing Mount Cristo Rey in his 4th grade class. “My class crawled the path up the mountain, just as thousands of the devout have made the same pilgrimage before and since. Every year, sunrise Easter mass is held at Mount Cristo Rey, and I was an altar boy, witnessing the thousands who came from all over the world to see the monument at the summit.”
So many things have happened here, and there’s so much history to the area. Did you know that John F. Kennedy stopped in El Paso and did an interview before his last trip to Dallas? What’s your favorite landmark here in the Sun City?
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El Paso has a lot to brag about.