El Paso, Texas, was first established in 1850, with San Elizario serving as the first county seat. The city has since flourished into a metropolitan area with a population of more than 700,000 people. A search through historical books and articles reveals countless fun and interesting facts about this colorful desert community. Here are a few of the more interesting facts in no particular order:
1. The Plaza HotelHilton hotel mogul Conrad Hilton opened his first high-rise hotel in El Paso in 1930. The building, located at 106 Mills Ave., is now the Plaza Hotel and remains a landmark in the city’s skyline.
2. The MargaritaThe tequila-based drink, the Margarita, was allegedly invented in the El Paso-Juárez region at Tommy's Place Bar on July 4, 1945, by Francisco "Pancho" Morales.
3. Mount Cristo Rey The monumental statue of Christ atop Mount Cristo Rey is not technically a crucifix, as the palms of Christ face downward in a gesture of blessing.
4. The International HotelElvis Presley, Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw all stayed at the once luxurious El Paso International Hotel, now a Doubletree Hotel.
5. Gen. John PershingGen. John Pershing used El Paso High School’s Jones Stadium as a staging area during the pursuit of Francisco “Pancho” Villa.
6. El Paso Street
El Paso Street, the city’s first and oldest street, has seen the footsteps of Wyatt Earp, Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, President William H. Taft, Pancho Villa, and was the scene of the infamous Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight
7. Ysleta del Sur PuebloThe Tigua Indian Reservation Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, located in El Paso County, is one of two Indian reservations in Texas.
8. Mountain Standard TimeEl Paso is the only major Texas city on Mountain Standard Time. When its sister city, Ciudad Juárez, was on Central Standard Time, you could celebrate New Year's twice by making a short trip into Mexico.
9. The Borderland's First ThanksgivingSpanish explorer Don Juan de Oñate arrived at the Rio Grande near El Paso and ordered his expedition party to rest and conduct a mass of thanksgiving on April 30, 1598.
10. Six Shooter CapitalNicknamed the Sun City, El Paso earned an earlier moniker as the "Six Shooter Capital" during the late 1800s because of its lawlessness.