Preserving The History Of A Bi-National Community Through South El Paso Street, El Paso, Texas



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South El Paso Street is a historic-commercial throughfare, that links two border cities: El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. This thesis examines how South El Paso Street paved the way for the development of this bi-national community through its urban and architectural transformation. This street was once lined with adobe buildings, soon saw these buildings replaced with new technologies and facades reminiscent of the Midwest. The arrival of the railroad into the Paso Del Norte not only brought a new era of transportation to this part of the United States, but it also summoned new ideas and transformed the architectural fabric of the community. Soon after the railroad arrived, reinforced concrete buildings replaced the traditional buildings of the region. This street tells a story of time, people influences and what the future holds for this resilient community. Downtown El Paso suffered a period of decay beginning in the 1970s and 1980’s. The commercial area that defined downtown was ignored due to the establishment of shopping malls and the city expanding further away from the downtown. South El Paso Street, mainly the section south of Paisano Drive, was especially affected by this neglect. In recent years there have been philanthropic, public, and private economic organizations who have sought to revive downtown. This thesis examines the potential lasting effects of the preservation methods that have been employed and provide recommendations for further rehabilitation of neglected buildings. South El Paso street is still home to many historic and the significant buildings that tell the story of El Paso and can serve as revitalization tools for this area. There is a need for immediate action to reverse the decades-long decline. Improving these buildings, the streetscape, and highlighting their historical place in the life of El Paso, will benefit not only the city, but the people themselves. This will strengthen the commercial and bi-cultural vitality of the entirety of South El Paso Street, which remains an essential link between Mexico and the United States.

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South El Paso Street