Today I Learned: The Franklin Mountains Are NOT Named After Benjamin Franklin
I asked 5 co-workers who they thought the Franklin Mountains are named after and they all said, “Benjamin Franklin”.
That’s what I always thought, too. But, thanks to an article about El Paso in a 1981 issue of Texas Monthly, they were named after a landowner from almost 200 years ago named Franklin Coons.
After the Mexican War…land was purchased by Franklin Coons, who later became the city’s first postmaster. El Paso was called Franklin until 1859.
---Texas Monthly, March 1981
So, that means that the mountains and, by extension, Franklin High School are NOT named after the guy who helped write the Declaration of Independence and discovered electricity.
Except, in a way, maybe it all IS named after Dr. Franklin. The aforementioned Franklin Coons’, according to other sources, was actually named Benjamin Franklin Coons. I think it’s safe to assume Coons was named after Benjamin Franklin. So, the mountains and high school are named after him but HE was (probably) named after the Founding Father. All this is to say, it’s a good thing he went with his MIDDLE name instead of his surname or we might today have the Coons Mountains and the Coons Cougars.
A few more interesting facts I learned about the Franklin Mountains:
- They run a length of 23 miles from El Paso north into New Mexico
- The mountains in Las Cruces are not a part of the Franklin. Rather, they are known as the Organ Mountains.
- The Organ Mountains are named after the musical instrument because the highpoint “needles” resemble the pipes of a pipe organ (suuuuuure, they were).
The Franklin Mountains State Park is the largest urban park (completely inside the city limits) in the 48 contiguous states and the 9th largest urban park in the world.