The high desert community of El Paso, Texas was established in 1850. El Paso is a border town, sitting in the westernmost point of West Texas and straddles the Rio Grande on the U.S.-Mexico border. El Paso has many faces and on one hand it’s steeped in wild west history. There are many tales of Billy the Kid making his way to Texas and according to legend, freed the only man to ever escape from the old El Paso jail.
El Paso also shares a culture and history with it’s south of the border neighbor, Ciudad Juárez. In fact, El Paso was the city people came to visit to watch the Mexican Revolution play out just over the border in Juárez in 1911.
Today, El Paso is known for its large military presence that is anchored by Fort Bliss, but on the flip side has an up and coming culinary scene. With a growing list of top-notch restaurants, museums, and theater this is a town worth getting to know.
Here are a few of the more interesting facts, in no particular order.
24 Things You Probably Don’t Know About El Paso, Texas
- Before El Paso was nicknamed the Sun City, El Paso, Texas was known as the Six Shooter Capital.
- El Paso, Texas is the boot capital of the world.
- El Paso is one of the 10 safest cities in the United States.
- El Paso is one of the sunniest locations in the United States, with 302 days of sunshine a year.
- The first Thanksgiving took place in the United States in 1598 in the town of San Elizario in El Paso County (long before the Mayflower pilgrim-landing in 1620).
- Marty Robbins’ classic Country-Western song, “El Paso” about a love-struck cowboy who guns down another in a jealous rage was inspired by a stop at Rosa’s Cantina.
- The Wyler Aerial Tramway was the third tram built in the United States and offers a 7,000 square mile view into three states and two countries.
- The El Paso Mission Trail dates back to 1598.
- El Paso has the only Border Patrol Museum in the U.S.
- El Paso is home to one of the 13 Holocost Museum’s in the United States (and the only bi-lingual Holocost museum in the U.S.).
- The Magoffin Home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places is one of the oldest adobe homes in the region.
- The Rio Grande River is one of the longest rivers in North America and the natural border between the El Paso, Texas in the United States and Juarez, Mexico.
- El Paso has a gigantic manmade star on the side of Franklin Mountain that is 400 feet tall and more than 300 feet wide. It’s lit up by more than 400 light bulbs.
- 17-year-old Elizabeth Taylor visited El Paso in 1950 before her wedding to Conrad “Nicki” Hilton, Jr. And stayed in the penthouse of El Paso’s Hilton (plaza) hotel.
- The city’s landmark Plaza Hotel opened in 1930 as a Hilton by hotel mogul Conrad Hilton. Hilton hotel mogul Conrad Hilton opened his first high-rise hotel in El Paso in 1930.
- The only jail Billy the Kid ever broke into was San Elizario Jail (when he posed as a Texas Ranger).
- Pat Garrett was a lawman from El Paso who lives in infamy for gunning down Billy the Kid.
- El Paso Street, the city’s first and oldest street, has seen the footsteps of Wyatt Earp, Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, President William Howard Taft, and Pancho Villa, and was the scene of the infamous Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight in 1881.
- Concordia Cemetery is home to the grave of John Wesley Hardin who died in 1895 and is said to have killed more men than Billy the Kid or Jesse James. Legend has it, he once killed a man for snoring too loud.
- The Buffalo Soldiers memorial in Concordia Cemetery is dedicated to the black soldiers who served in the military after the Civil War.
- There are numerous haunted places in El Paso.
- El Paso is reputed to be the birthplace of everyone’s favorite tequila mistake-maker, allegedly invented at Tommy’s Place Bar in 1945. Legend has it that everyone’s favorite drink with Mexican food, the tequila-based margarita, was invented in the El Paso-Juarez region at Tommy’s Place Bar on July 4, 1945, by Francisco “Pancho” Morales.
- El Paso is the only major city in Texas that works on Mountain Standard Time.
- El Paso’s official slogan is “You better El Paso Up”.
Know more fun facts about El Paso? Please share them below in the comments!
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Where To Stay In El Paso
During my trip to El Paso, I stayed at Hotel Indigo. The boutique hotel is located in the heart of downtown El Paso. It’s an easy walk to many restaurants, bars, and landmarks. The hotel has a very hip vibe and mixes El Paso history through a great collection of art and photography with a modern updated feel. The 5th-floor bar is a great open-air space that looks onto the pool and skyline. The rooms are large and offer a great view of downtown El Paso. The hotel does a turndown service and offers a delicious breakfast, great happy hour snacks and drinks.
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