The Chamizal Memorial draws tons of visitors every year, for all kinds of reasons.

For years, people have come to the Chamizal for concerts, enjoying the park, meeting friends from Juarez, etc.

Do you know why it's there to begin with?

Once upon a time, The Rio Grande was a mighty river. (Yes, it still is in places but, around here, notsomuch.) In the late 1800's, the Rio was not only way different than what we see around here today, it could also be very temperamental and would often flood. One flood in particular, the great flood of 1897, displaced thousands, many of whom resettled in an awful locale that would eventually become Kern Place.

Most of the Rio Grande's path through El Paso marks the actual border between the Unites States of America and Mexico. (In other areas, you can cross it and still remain in the U.S.) The afore mentioned flooding often resulted in the river adopting a new course.

As the course of the Rio shifted, so did the international boundary and the United States and Mexico were constantly at odds as to who could claim what in terms of land.

To sort this mess out, President of the United States John F. Kennedy and Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos ordered their staffs to settle the matter once and for all.

Finally, after years of negotiations, each side was allocated certain lands and the Rio Grande itself was guided through a permanent, cement river bed so that it could never change course again.

In 1967, each country had a new Prez; Lyndon Johnson for the U.S. and Gustavo Díaz Ordaz for Mexico. These two officially opened the new riverbed/international boundary setting the new arrangement in ... well ... stone.

The Chamizal Memorial commemorates this resolution of a centuries-old problem.

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