The El Paso region has had human settlement for thousands of years, as evidenced by Folsom points from hunter-gatherers found at Hueco Tanks. The evidence suggests 10,000 to 12,000 years of human habitation.
The Texas Revolution (1836) was generally not felt in the region, as the American population was small; not being more than 10% of the population. However, the region was claimed by Texas as part of the treaty signed with Mexico and numerous attempts were made by Texas to bolster these claims. El Paso County was established in March 1850, with San Elizario as the first county seat. The United States Senate fixed a boundary between Texas and New Mexico at the 32nd parallel, thus largely ignoring history and topography. After the Civil War’s conclusion, the town’s population began to grow as Texans continued to move into the villages and soon became the majority. El Paso itself, incorporated in 1873, encompassed the small area communities that had developed along the river.
El Paso is located at the intersection of three states (Texas, New Mexico, and Chihuahua) and two countries (the U.S. and Mexico). It is the only major Texas city on Mountain Time. Ciudad Juarez used to be on Central Time, but both cities are now on Mountain Time. El Paso is located within the Chihuahuan Desert, the easternmost section of the Basin and Range Region. The Franklin Mountains extend into El Paso from the north and nearly divide the city into two sections; the west side forms the beginnings of the Mesilla Valley, and the east side expands into the desert and lower valley. They connect in the central business district at the southern end of the mountain range. Franklin Mountains State Park, the largest urban park in the United States, lies entirely in El Paso, extending from the north and dividing the city into several sections along with Fort Bliss and El Paso International Airport. The Rio Grande Rift, which passes around the southern end of the Franklin Mountains, is where the Rio Grande flows.
El Paso has a diversified economy focused primarily within international trade, military, government civil service, oil and gas, health care, tourism and service sectors.
Amigo Airsho is one of El Paso’s premier events, and is ranked as one of the top ten air shows in the country. The show is filled with air entertainment and ground activities. Acts include the Franklin’s Flying Circus, where performers walk on the wings of an airborne plane. Ground activities include the Jet Powered School Bus.
The KLAQ Great River Raft Race is an annual event celebrated on the second to last Saturday of June. Participants are encouraged to ride the river and float the Rio Grande with family and friends.
Fiesta de las Flores is the oldest Hispanic Festival in the Southwest. The three-day Fiesta is held each year during the Labor Day weekend and emphasizes El Paso’s Hispanic heritage and culture.
The annual El Paso Downtown Street Festival is held during the last weekend of June in downtown El Paso near the El Paso Convention center.
The annual Neon Desert Music Festival is a two-day event usually held on the last Saturday and Sunday of May on five stages in downtown El Paso stretching from San Jacinto Plaza to Cleveland Square.
The outdoor concert series, started in 1983, is held annually at the Chamizal National Memorial and draws over 60,000 attendees. It features local and international performers with musical genres ranging from Classical, Country, Tejano, rock and others. The evening concerts are showcased every Sunday afternoon and start in early June and end in the middle of August.