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What El Paso, Texas, looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

El Paso began to shed its frontier image at the turn of the 20th century, becoming a major industrial, commercial, and transportation center. In 1900, the city’s population was 15,906; by 1910, it had grown to 39,279, and by 1925, it had grown to 77,560. The cosmopolitan community established many educational and cultural institutions, including the oldest symphony orchestra in Texas. Jesuit priests built a network of parishes and schools in the El Paso Valley over the 1880s and 1910s with the help of the American Catholic hierarchy. They laid the foundations for Pius X’s El Paso Diocese in 1914. One of the most prominent Jesuits in El Paso was Father Carlos Pinto (1841–1919), known as “the apostle of El Paso” for his work among Mexicans.

In 1909, William Howard Taft and Porfirio Díaz organized a summit in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas. It was the first time a Mexican president crossed the border into the United States, and a U.S. president met with a Mexican president. Texas Rangers, 4,000 U.S. and Mexican troops, FBI agents, Secret Service agents, and U.S. marshals were brought in as tensions rose across the border, including assassination threats. Among other things, John Hays Hammond owns significant investments in Mexico. In 1908, he ran for vice president against Taft, a close friend from Yale. Burnham headed a 250-strong private security detail hired by Hammond. On October 16, the day of the summit, Burnham and Private C.R. Moore, a Texas Ranger, discovered a man carrying a concealed palm pistol along the procession route. Burnham and Moore captured, disarmed, and arrested the assassin within feet of Taft and Diaz. An overwhelming number of Americans lived in the city by 1910, creating a settled environment. Still, this period was short-lived as the Mexican Revolution brought refugees–and capital–to the bustling boom town.

Here are some fascinating historical photos of El Paso, Texas, in the 1900s.

#1 Group shot of many African American members of the United States Infantry, outside and among tents, buildings, and equipment, at the International Bridge in El Paso, 1900s

Group shot of many African American members of the United States Infantry, outside and among tents, buildings, and equipment, at the International Bridge in El Paso, 1900s

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#2 Irrigation Canal running through Town, 1900s

Irrigation Canal running through Town, 1900s

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#3 Washerwomen, El Paso, Texas’, 1900s

Washerwomen, El Paso, Texas', 1900s

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#4 Mexican adobe house, Mt. Franklin in distance, El Paso, Texas,1907

Mexican adobe house, Mt. Franklin in distance, El Paso, Texas,1907

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#5 Newly designed canal structure in Franklin Canal, El Paso Valley, 1900s

Newly designed canal structure in Franklin Canal, El Paso Valley, 1900s

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#6 Store Front for Sears, Roebuck and Co in El Paso, Texas, 1900s

Store Front for Sears, Roebuck and Co in El Paso, Texas, 1900s

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#7 An airplane over the city, El Paso, 1900s

An airplane over the city, El Paso, 1900s

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#8 The studio at the 16th Infantry Camp, El Paso, Texas, 1900s

The studio at the 16th Infantry Camp, El Paso, Texas, 1900s

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#9 Mexican Quarter of El Paso, 1900s

Mexican Quarter of El Paso, 1900s

(Original Caption) Looking north from the International Bridge showing the Mexican quarter.

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#10 Trams travelling down Oregon Street, El Paso, Texas, 1909

Trams travelling down Oregon Street, El Paso, Texas, 1909

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#11 Trams travelling down San Antonio Street, El Paso, Texas, 1909

Trams travelling down San Antonio Street, El Paso, Texas, 1909

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#12 Washerwomen, El Paso, Texas, 1900.

Washerwomen, El Paso, Texas, 1900.

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#13 The Plaza, El Paso, Texas, 1900s

The Plaza, El Paso, Texas, 1900s

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#14 View of El Paso, looking North from International Bridge showing Mexican quarters, 1909

View of El Paso, looking North from International Bridge showing Mexican quarters, 1909

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#15 The Federal Building and Hotel Sheldon from across the park in downtown El Paso, Texas, 1902.

The Federal Building and Hotel Sheldon from across the park in downtown El Paso, Texas, 1902.

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#16 The Plaza, El Paso, Texas’, 1900s

The Plaza, El Paso, Texas', 1900s

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#17 El Paso, Texas Panoramic, 1900s

El Paso, Texas Panoramic, 1900s

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#18 El Paso – The Day The Circus Came To Town, 1900s

El Paso - The Day The Circus Came To Town, 1900s

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#19 Ysleta Tiguas, 190s

Ysleta Tiguas, 190s

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#20 El Paso Street, El Paso, Texas, 1903.

El Paso Street, El Paso, Texas, 1903.

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#21 Mexican church at the smelter, El Paso, Texas, 1907

Mexican church at the smelter, El Paso, Texas, 1907

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#22 Roosevelt’s reception at El Paso, 1906

Roosevelt's reception at El Paso, 1906

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#23 Franklin Canal, El Paso: Completing reconstruction of settling basin and concrete lining, 1907

Franklin Canal, El Paso: Completing reconstruction of settling basin and concrete lining, 1907

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#24 Parade in front of Sheldon Hotel, 1907

Parade in front of Sheldon Hotel, 1907

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#25 View of sidewalk, 1907

View of sidewalk, 1907

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#26 Man with horses, 1907

Man with horses, 1907

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#27 View of Santa Fe street, El Paso, 1907

View of Santa Fe street, El Paso, 1907

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#28 Corner building, Morse the Popular Price Tailor, 1900s

Corner building, Morse the Popular Price Tailor, 1900s

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#29 Hotel Dieu, 1907

Hotel Dieu, 1907

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#30 Senora de Guadalupe Mission Church, 1907

Senora de Guadalupe Mission Church, 1907

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#31 Man on road, El Paso, 1907

Man on road, El Paso, 1907

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#32 Building, El Paso, 1907

Building, El Paso, 1907

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#33 Man on burro, El Paso, 1907

Man on burro, El Paso, 1907

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#34 County courthouse, El Paso, 1907

County courthouse, El Paso, 1907

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#35 Parade in downtown El Paso, 1907

Parade in downtown El Paso, 1907

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#36 Man walking horse, parade, 1907

Man walking horse, parade, 1907

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#37 Adobe home by railroad tracks, 1907

Adobe home by railroad tracks, 1907

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#38 Crowd in front of Sheldon Hotel, 1907

Crowd in front of Sheldon Hotel, 1907

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#39 Adobe ruin, 1907

Adobe ruin, 1907

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#40 Adobe houses, 1907

Adobe houses, 1907

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#41 Road with adobe buildings and carriage, 1907

Road with adobe buildings and carriage, 1907

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#42 Road with adobe houses, 1907

Road with adobe houses, 1907

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#43 Two-story brick building, 1907

Two-story brick building, 1907

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#44 Road with wagon, billboards and building, 1907

Road with wagon, billboards and building, 1907

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#45 Ysleta Mission, 1907

Ysleta Mission, 1907

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#46 Alamo Bar, 1907

Alamo Bar, 1907

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#47 Women next to fence, 1907

Women next to fence, 1907

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#48 Valley Inn Hotel, 1907

Valley Inn Hotel, 1907

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#49 Parade in downtown El Paso, 1907

Parade in downtown El Paso, 1907

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#50 Crowd in front of Sheldon Hotel, 1907

Crowd in front of Sheldon Hotel, 1907

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#51 Women on parade, McKinley visit, 1907

Women on parade, McKinley visit, 1907

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#52 Men on horseback, 1907

Men on horseback, 1907

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#53 Businesses, El Paso, 1907

Businesses, El Paso, 1907

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#54 Crowd in front of Sheldon Hotel, 1907

Crowd in front of Sheldon Hotel, 1907

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#55 Wagon with passengers, 1907

Wagon with passengers, 1907

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#56 Parade on San Antonio Stret, El Paso, 1907

Parade on San Antonio Stret, El Paso, 1907

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#57 William McKinley, 1907

William McKinley, 1907

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#58 Crowd in front of Sheldon Hotel, 1907

Crowd in front of Sheldon Hotel, 1907

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#59 Mounted horsemen on parade, 1907

Mounted horsemen on parade, 1907

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#60 Bennett House in El Paso, 1906

Bennett House in El Paso, 1906

There are columns beneath an entrance that protrudes from the building, a balcony to the left, windows, and a roof that extends farther out.

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#61 Carnegie Hall Windows, 1904

Carnegie Hall Windows, 1904

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#62 Carnegie Library 2nd Floor Gates, 1904

Carnegie Library 2nd Floor Gates, 1904

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#63 Carnegie Library Children’s Patio, 1904

Carnegie Library Children's Patio, 1904

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#64 Carnegie Library Entrance, 1904

Carnegie Library Entrance, 1904

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#65 The front and right side of the Carnegie Library in El Paso, 1904. The building has four large ionic columns with a star engraving above them. Trees and bushes can be seen on the landscaping.

The front and right side of the Carnegie Library in El Paso, 1904. The building has four large ionic columns with a star engraving above them. Trees and bushes can be seen on the landscaping.

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#66 The Carnegie Library in El Paso, Texas, 1904

The Carnegie Library in El Paso, Texas, 1904

The library has an extension to the right, and tall columns in front of the entrance with a star and "Free Public Library" engraved above the columns. Landscaping can be seen with a large tree.

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#67 Carnegie Library Lawn View, 1904.

Carnegie Library Lawn View, 1904.

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#68 Carnegie Library Janitor, 1904

Carnegie Library Janitor, 1904

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#69 El Paso, 1909

El Paso, 1909

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#70 El Paso, 1907

El Paso, 1907

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#71 Dedication of the Monument, 1909

Dedication of the Monument, 1909

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#72 First Presbyterian Church in El Paso, 1906

First Presbyterian Church in El Paso, 1906

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#73 The Gray House in El Paso, Texas, 1904

The Gray House in El Paso, Texas, 1904

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#74 T. M. Wingo House, 1907.

T. M. Wingo House, 1907.

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#75 Nesom House in El Paso, 1903

Nesom House in El Paso, 1903

It has trees in front of the building along the sidewalk. The building itself has two small columns in an open space within the outside wall. The roof has a decorative curved design and a rhombus shaped hole in the wall.

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#76 Nesom House Interior, 1903

Nesom House Interior, 1903

Support beams hold up the ceiling, from which hangs metal and glass light fixture. The room contains chairs, a table, cabinets, a window, a fireplace, carpet, and a curtain.

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#77 Oregon Street, El Paso, Texas, 1900

Oregon Street, El Paso, Texas, 1900

People seen walking across the street in the foreground are slightly blurred, and text can be seen directly on the photo that reads, "Oregon Street El Paso, Texas 7". A handwritten note on the back labels the building in the center as the Federal Building.

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#78 El Paso Alhambra Theater, 1900

El Paso Alhambra Theater, 1900

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#79 El Paso Military Institute, 1906.

El Paso Military Institute, 1906.

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#80 El Paso Military Institute Main Dormitory, 1909

El Paso Military Institute Main Dormitory, 1909

There are three stories, with the lowest story being lower than ground level, and many vertical windows along the front. The building has an arched entrance, and the forefront of the photo has landscaping

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#81 El Paso Public Library: North Side – Second Floor, 1904

El Paso Public Library: North Side - Second Floor, 1904

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#82 A street in El Paso with various stores seen on the side to the left and a sign for the “Herald” seen in the background, 1900s

A street in El Paso with various stores seen on the side to the left and a sign for the "Herald" seen in the background, 1900s

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#83 El Paso Theater, 1900

El Paso Theater, 1900

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#84 A Residence for Mr. J. E. Nagley, 1903

A Residence for Mr. J. E. Nagley, 1903

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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