Protect El Paso Texas's rich history from the bulldozers!
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In 2016, the National Trust for Historic Preservation added South El Paso's oldest neighborhoods to the list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Later, the executive directors of the Trust wrote an open letter to the El Paso City Council asking that that in particular Duranguito, El Paso’s oldest platted neighborhood with national historical and archaeological significance, be spared from the bulldozers.
The City plans to raze this besieged neighborhood to build a sports arena.
This is a call to action to bring national attention to El Paso's rich cultural and architectural heritage. We could lose several important historical landmarks if Duranguito, also known as the First Ward, is destroyed. These include several sites of memory from the Mexican Revolution such as revolutionary general Pancho Villa’s “Casa Clandestina,” a 117-year old building that housed a Chinese laundry and represents one of the last standing sites of what was the largest Chinatown in Texas around the turn of the twentieth century, a Firehouse station constructed by the nationally-renown Henry Trost architectural firm, and three 130-year-old Victorian style homes owned by Benancia Ascárate Stephenson, who represents one of the founding members of the El Paso fronterizo (borderlands) community in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The archaeological remains under the ground in Duranguito include structures from El Paso’s foundational settlement, the Juan María Ponce de Leon ranch founded in 1827. These are just a few of the cultural and historic jewels of a section of El Paso that has often been called “the Ellis Island of the Border,” because of its migration from all parts of the world. These border sites of memory deserve their place alongside our nation's landmarks.
Our goal is to petition the City of El Paso with as many signatures as possible that show we believe this history is part of our country’s historical heritage. We are asking that the City of El Paso declare Duranguito an historic district and reallocate funding to create a designated corridor that celebrates its important global border culture. Please help us defeat the bulldozing by adding your name to help us strengthen and mobilize this movement!
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