|Fun City Facts
The largest city in area in the United States is Juneau, Alaska. It covers 3,248 square miles, yet the city population is fewer than 30,000.
A marker on the 13th step of the Colorado capital building in Denver, Colorado is precisely 1 mile above sea level.
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El Paso, Texas
Although American traders and trappers had visited the area of El Paso since 1823, American settlers began to stay for good after the Mexican Cession in 1848.During the Texas Republic period, the area was disputed between the Mexican State of Chihuahua and The Republic of Texas. El Paso was legally a part of Mexico. Sam Houston claimed all of the land above the Rio Grande. Mexico still considered El Paso a part of Mexico.
A trading post called Franklin was established during this time some miles away from Ponce's Ranch. Other settlements were also scattered across the region and eventually became part of El Paso itself. Ciudad Juárez dropped the old name of El Paso del Norte and El Paso, Texas kept it. El Paso was platted in 1859, but grew very slowly due to its remoteness.
During the Civil War, Texas, along with most other Southern states, seceded from the Union to join the Confederate States of America in 1861. It was also during the war between the states that El Paso and its military outposts were important in protecting the Confederacy's claim to the territory of New Mexico. The Confederate cause was met with great support from El Paso residents. After the war was concluded, the town's population began to grow.
With the arrival of the Southern Pacific, Texas and Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroads in 1881, the population boomed. With a tempting green valley and a nearly perfect climate year-around, the town attracted a constant stream of newcomers: gamblers, gunfighters, thieves, cattle and horse rustlers, murderers, priests, Chinese railroad laborers, prostitutes, and entrepreneurs. During the Wild West era, El Paso was dubbed as the "Gunfight Capital of the World" due to its great remoteness and lawlessness. El Paso hired town marshals with rough reputations such as Dallas Stoudenmire. However prostitution and gambling flourished until World War I, when the Department of the Army pressured El Paso authorities to crack down on vice.
The Mexican Revolution began in 1910, and Ciudad Juárez was the focus of intense fighting. Occasionally, stray shots killed civilians on the El Paso side. El Paso became a center of intrigue as various exiled leaders including Victoriano Huerta and Pancho Villa were seen in the city.
Beginning in the 1920s and into the 1930s, El Paso became the birthplace of several locally and nationally well-known businesses and events. Business' like major hotel chains and El Paso is the main hub for Continental Airlines in Denver. Additionally, the college football Sun Bowl has been held in El Paso since 1936.
After World War II, Wernher von Braun and other German rocket scientists were brought to Fort Bliss in El Paso, along with many of the V2 rockets and rocket parts, starting the American rocket program one V2 rocket is still on display at Fort Bliss. The popular drink, the Margarita, was another famous invention given a home in El Paso. It was first mixed in the El Paso-Juárez area at Tommy's Place Bar on July 4, 1945 by Francisco "Pancho"
From World War II until the 1980s, El Paso boomed into a sprawling city. The expansion of Fort Bliss from a frontier post to a major Cold War military center brought in thousands of soldiers, dependents, and retirees. The industrial economy was dominated by copper smelting, oil refining, and the proliferation of low wage industries (particularly garment making), which drew thousands of Mexican immigrants. With the election of Raymond Telles, the city's first Hispanic mayor in 1957, the demand for civil rights amongst the Hispanic population began. Stretching into the tumultuous 1960s, and converging with America's anti-war and civil rights demonstrations, great strides were achieved that became evident in the 1970s.
Today El Paso is home to the University of Texas at El Paso. Fort Bliss, a major United States Army installation, lies to the east and northeast of the city, extending north up to the White Sands Missile Range, supporting most of the El Paso community. The Franklin Mountains extend into El Paso from the north and nearly divide the city into two sections just like old west neighbors.
Dallas Stoudenmire (1845-1882)
|Dallas Stoudenmire (1845-1882)
|Dallas Stoudenmire was known to shoot first and ask questions later. The "Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight" took place here on April 14, 1881. Stoudenmire, the sixth marshal in eight months, was hired to "clean" and civilize a remote, violent and wild town. Stoudenmire was an effective marshal; he instilled fears by terror to control the City Council. With his fierce reputation and dexterity with his pistols, he intimidated a violence-hardened town. On May 28, 1882, the City Council announced they were firing the marshal. When Stoudenmire learned of this, he entered the Council Chambers. Upon seeing Stoudenmire, the council members remained quiet and became terrified. Stoudenmire strolled up and down the chamber as he scolded, cussed profanities and threatened to shoot. In a blink of eyes, he pulled out and twirled his pistols as he growled, "I can straddle every God-damn aldermen on this council!" Council members quickly voted unanimously to retain Stoudenmire as their town marshal.
February 24, 2024