Dear Friends and Media,
Item 4.1 of the current City Council agenda authorizes Mayor Margo “to sign and submit an application, and all required documentation, to the Texas Historical Commission for Official Texas Historical Marker for the City building located at 1211 Montana Avenue.”
That would be the Turney Mansion, designed by Henry C. Trost and completed in 1909. The building is owned by the City of El Paso and currently houses the International Museum of Art. It stands within the Montana Avenue National Register District, established in 2004.
While I fully support any effort to commemorate a masterpiece by the iconic architectural firm Trost & Trost, what I do not understand is why the same Mayor is dead set on demolishing Fire Station No. 11, a City-owned Art Deco building that was designed by the same firm and completed in 1930.
In fact, the Mayor is leading the effort to demolish 14 buildings within the “Arena Footprint” that are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. This would require displacing Toñita Morales from her home and using eminent domain to seize the home of Romelia Mendoza against her will. Let us remember that 39 Mexican-American Duranguito residents have already been expelled from the historic neighborhood and essentially “disappeared”, with zero media coverage documenting their current plight.
The Mayor continues to insist that Chihuahuita is the birthplace of El Paso even though the academic community confirms that El Paso began as an Apache encampment on the north bank of the Rio Grande on the site of Duranguito.
Why would the Mayor sign off on the preservation of one Trost building while working as hard as he can to demolish another?
Because that is the will of the powerful developers who support him politically and are financing his campaign for reelection. They want us to pay for a $500M+ multipurpose G-League basketball arena even if it pushes the City into Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
You will also see the six pro-Oligarchy City Council reps vote in favor of the same agenda item, and Rep. Svarzbein will probably make some gratuitous speech, as he often does, praising the City for its love of history.
It would be better if the City’s preservationist policies were consistent and were based upon empirical data rather than political expediency.
Enjoy your weekend!