Last week we spent a few hours checking out El Paso’s city centre. The tourism website is quite good and has a downloadable self-guided walking tour of the downtown area.
As luck would have it, we managed to find a parking lot just next to the starting point of the tour. The tour took about 90 minutes, and steered you through the historic downtown area: we found it quite interesting – knowing who shot who and where! The Mexican border is literally a stone’s-throw away from El Paso, so it was not surprising to learn about the involvement of El Paso in the Mexican Revolution back in the early 1900’s and the influence of some of the architecture.
The Post Office, built in 1917, is still in use today. The tour mentioned the style of the building was meant to fall in align with some of the federal buildings in Washington, D.C.. Kind of reminds you of a famous Washington building, doesn’t it?! Inside, they still have some of the old mailboxes.
There was quite a lot of construction going on to restore some of the buildings, many of which looked completely empty. It feels like there is a conflicting vibe in the centre: there is a large banking presence downtown, so there were a lot of “suits” walking around, but you could turn a corner and find yourself next to a dodgy area, reminiscent of Vancouver’s East Side juxtaposed with its downtown.
Still, it was a very interesting tour. If you are ever in the area, it’s a good way to spend a few hours getting exercise and finding out a little local history while doing so.