Friday, December 21, 2007

old el paso

I was inspired by my last post to recount what once was in downtown el paso. With the help of the public library's photo archives I picked out some of the pictures that most caught my eye. If anyone knows the whereabouts or specifics of the buildings here, please feel free to comment. I love this kind of stuff. Thanks!

Old El Paso photos

Thursday, December 20, 2007

downtown preservation

I ran across an interesting commentary regarding the de-emphasis on downtowns in the latter half of the last century. The article is specific to Louisville, KY but I think there are some lessons to be learned here for the vast majority of downtowns across the nation, mine included. I think El Paso has felt the effects of several of these problems, if not all. According to the article, there are seven factors that lead to urban decay:

1. popularity of the automobile and good roads
political myopia
fear of crime
a trend toward downtown vertical construction
a general notion

You can read the article here.

Downtown El Paso still has many of it's beautiful old landmarks, although many are in various level of decay. It's interesting that among these old turn of the last century buildings, they themselves replaced older victorian buildings in the name of progress. This city experienced tremendous growth in that transition period and many of the older buildings fell to the wrecking ball. Thankfully it seems people are finally becoming sympathetic to the historic nature of downtown. A downtown plan is in place to (hopefully) return the city center to it's once proud image. I'm hopeful the historic integrity of the area will be kept intact as much as is possible.