Murchison Park is one of the go-to places that El Pasoans take out-of-town visitors for a great view of the city both day and night.
Located at the top of Scenic Drive, the tiny park gives visitors a grand vista of downtown El Paso, Juarez, the Chamizal Memorial, the Plaza de la Mexicanidad (home of the big red X), UTEP, the Hueco Mountains to the east and the lower valley as far as the eye can see.
If one gets out of their car, a small walking path allows park you to get out and stretch your legs.
If they did, they probably would wonder what decade El Paso is stuck in, for the seven or so plaques that describe our great city to visitors from near and wide were placed there in the early to mid 1960’s and have never been updated.
The plaques constitute a weird trip down memory lane and a convoluted mix of history and geology.
The plaques, made of bronze and donated to the city by the State National Bank of El Paso were designed to give visitors an explanation of what they were looking at as well as a little history of the area. Look this way and see the Rio Grande.
Look over here and see Juarez. It was a great idea, especially for tourists who probably could not tell, looking outwards, where El Paso ends and Juarez begins. A great idea of 1960’s El Paso.
However, imagine yourself a visitor to El Paso today. You have no idea of the city boundaries, the history, or the culture of our great town. You could, if you read the plaques, learn all about “Peace Grove,” “Cordova Island,” Texas Western College, and the El Paso Smelting Works.
Here are some of the plaques and what you can learn if you read them closely:
Historical markers certainly have their place, but in order to be useful, they need to have accurate information, something these bronze markers are sorely lacking.
With their outdated mixture of history, geography, and economics lessons, these city owned and maintained exhibits are ripe for updating. Their English-only presentation is certainly not conducive in our multicultural community and their dated information makes a mockery of a city that wants to be considered “modern and up-to-date.”
Perhaps an innovative school could adopt these as a project, update the information, add some cool QR Codes that readers can scan that will take them to updated websites with up-to-date useful information that moves us out of the 1960’s bronze plaque age.
Author: Tim Holt is an educator and writer, with over 33 years experience in education and opines on education-related topics here and on his own award-winning blog: HoltThink. He values your feedback. Feel free to leave a comment. Read his previous columns here.
Starting Monday, August 14, El Paso Water will close Scenic Drive from Wheeling Avenue to Alabama, to all traffic for several weeks to complete the next phase of the Kentucky Dam stormwater improvement project.
The $3.9 million project will help reduce flooding in Central El Paso. The project will increase the capacity of nearby ponds and add piping that keeps water off the streets by directing stormwater into the dam.
Additionally, the project will improve service in the area by replacing water and wastewater lines.
Short sections of neighboring streets will be restricted to local traffic during construction:
- Streets between Scenic Drive and Alabama
- Streets between Wheeling Avenue and Altura Avenue
Drivers will still be able to enter and exit Scenic Drive by detouring around the closure on Alabama Street and turning north onto Wheeling Avenue.
“It is an iconic view, but it’s not user-friendly. It needs to be cleaned up and more accessible. It is our jewel,” said Isha Rogers, Murchison’s granddaughter, a member of Friends of Murchison Park and a member of the El Paso Community Foundation board of directors.
The Friends of Murchison Park have been working with Surroundings on a new design that will include ADA-accessible paths down to the overlook, shade trees, parking and safety improvements, and more, according to Kenneth Francis of Surroundings.
Friends of Murchison Park members include Michelle Assael, Rick Francis, Ben Gonzalez, Robert Gonzalez, Josh Hunt, James Magee, Steve Santamaria and Tania Schwartz.
Surroundings is an award-winning multi-disciplinary landscape architecture studio based in Santa Fe that works across the Southwest.
Murchison is a small overlook park on the southern tip of the Franklin Mountains. At an altitude of 4,200 feet, it offers wide, panoramic views of El Paso and Juarez. The park, which opened in 1963, is named for El Paso pioneer and businessman Samuel Macintosh Murchison.
A great interview with Robert Diaz from the El Paso County Historical Society tells more about this remarkable part of El Paso’s history. Watch it here. SEE THE VIRTUAL MODEL HERE (VR headset recommended for optimal experience.)
El Paso, TX
Isha Rogers and Steve Santamaria
Kenneth Francis, Principal
Will Iadevaia, PLA Carly Piccarello, PM Emily Knox, PA
SERVICES PROVIDED: Landscape Architecture
Gallery & Photos courtesy Surroundings Studio
Starting this Sunday, April 2, the City of El Paso Parks and Recreation Department will change the hours for Scenic Sundays from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. for the spring and summer.
The popular roadway that cuts along the southern slope of the Franklin Mountains is closed to vehicles on Sunday mornings between Wheeling and Robinson Avenues to promote outdoor recreational activities.
Scenic Sundays gives people the opportunity to walk, run, bike, or skateboard along Scenic Drive, and offers breathtaking views of El Paso and Juárez, Mexico.
Starting Monday, February 6, El Paso Water is closing Scenic Drive from Louisville Avenue to Kentucky Street for several months for the Kentucky Dam Improvements project.
Drivers will still be able to enter and exit Scenic Drive by detouring around the closure on Louisville Avenue. The $3.9 million project will reduce flooding in Central El Paso.
The project will increase the capacity of nearby ponds and add piping that keeps water off the streets by directing stormwater into the dam.
Additionally, the project will improve service in the area by replacing water and wastewater lines.
Recently my friend Mandy was in town and we had a quick 5 hours to hang out and have some fun. She is from El Paso originally, but now lives in Florida. She comes back home a few times a year. Every time we hang out I try to take her to places she had no idea existed in El Paso or Las Cruces on our day trips.
So if the opportunity arises where you need to entertain some guests or plan a date, I have some ideas for you. Even if you are flying solo and have some time to yourself and want to enjoy a random evening this is perfect for you.
We started our Thursday evening adventure at a local tea shop, Tippi Teas. On this particular day, and it must be because it’s the new year, I tried my first shot of grass, lemongrass. Yes, it’s definitely not my usual sugar infested or cheesy goodness I typically go for.
I’m trying to give this healthy thing the benefit of the doubt. Had it not been for my friend Mandy being here, chances are that I never would have tried it either lol. But to be honest I’m glad I did.
Although it tastes like mother nature, aka dirt, I would do it again. I always tell my God daughter that she needs to try everything at least once so I took my own advice. It really does give you a bolt of energy after you drink it. I paired it up with a delicious detox tea.
Tippi Teas has a huge selection of loose leaf tea, smoothies, and other healthy man shots. My two favorite places to get my tea fixes are at The Tea Spout and Tippi Teas. If you haven’t tried them I recommend you do and soon.
After tea time we went to “Paint & Create Pottery” where we got our creative juices flowing. I love this place! It’s on its third name now.
It used to be “At The Clayground” and “Stone Painters”, some of you may be familiar with it. Anyhow, I don’t care how many names it goes through as long as it never goes away.
I’ve been coming here for over 6 years. It all started as a great way to entertain my God daughter and young cousin and quickly turned into an addiction for me and my family.
It’s for everyone! Take the kids, husband, girlfriends, or just go solo. It’s a very relaxing and rewarding way to spend some time. I am hooked on painting cereal bowls but they have a wall with a great pottery selection to choose from for both kids and adults.
Once you choose your item you go to the painting bar and pick your colors, paint brushes, and whatever other crafting tools you need.
Sidebar, you can take beverages and snacks and they also book parties. Now, after you get your paint you go sit down and start working on your masterpiece.
Once you have it just the way you want it, you turn it in and pick it up in a few days after they have put it in the pottery kiln.
And just like that I will have a new bowl to eat from.
All of That painting worked up quite an appetite. On our way to get dinner we stumbled upon an art class and studio I’ve never been to or seen before. This is how all the good stuff is found. Mandy and I are ALL about the arts so I promptly busted a u-turn and we parked to go see what we were missing.
It happened to be the Art Avenue Studio on Texas street. I’ve heard of them but I have never been. Once a month they do art work shops and they are all taught by different local artists that the studio is featuring during the month.
These work shops are open to the public. This was a sweet find. I would like to recommend everyone check out their FB page for their schedule. I’ll definitely be back fo sho.
We needed to focus, our mission was still to get food in our bellies. After we took a quick tour of the studio we got back in the car and continued to our destination point, Tacos Don Cuco.
That’s right, you heard correctly, Tacos Don Cuco is a staple in my life that I love to share with everybody I know. This inevitably turns into everyone’s favorite spot due to their Papa Don Cuco.
The tacos are awesome but the potato is where it’s at. It’s a mashed up buttery baked potato smothered in queso and then topped with ground beef and sautéed onions. I’m drooling just think about it.
Once you take your first bite, you remember you’re alive and that all is right in the world and that anything is possible. They also have a fantastic salsa bar. This place is the most legit Juarez style taco stand in EP and they have several locations all over town.
The potato ALWAYS turns into EVERYONE’S favorite dish in EP. Hidden secrets like this, is why you need to follow my Facebook page 😉
After we got to about a 75% full ratio, we went on to our next stop to continue feeding our soul with art. Not sure if you knew or not but every Thursday the El Paso Museum of Art stays open till 9 p.m. and its FREE. Thursday night after 6 is my favorite time to go.
I used to go every week a couple years back. I was hooked, definitely one of my favorite places in El Paso.
Since we walked off our Papa Don Cuco we felt in the mood for elotes. We drove up the road to Malolam. One of El Paso’s hippest new spots is located in the TI:ME shopping center on N. Mesa. Not only are they awesome but their kitchen serves food late.
By this time it’s 9pm already so this is exactly what we’re looking for. I have been before and had their elotes. It’s probably the second best in town (*1st is at Tacoholics). I also had a coupon from my Sun City Coupon Book which gave me a FREE appetizer, score! Anyhow, since we were there we also ordered their chicken quesadilla and fideo.
The chicken was on point! At this point I’m at 110% full ratio so we wrap it up and call it a night. We top it all off with a drive over Scenic Drive. Boom!
Thursday night adventure was a success.
If you’re ever looking for something to do, message me on Facebook and I’ll help plan a fun adventure for you.
Go Local and tell them I sent ya 😉 -Annie’s Adventures