Dear Friends and Media,
I have just learned that the Meyers Group plans to demolish the Haymon Krupp & Co. Building, designed by Trost & Trost and erected in 1916.
Judging by the company’s prospectus, it seems they are planning to build a five-story apartment complex that will occupy half a city block.
Located at 117 W. Overland Ave., at the northeast corner of South Santa Fe St., the Haymon Krupp & Co. Bldg. has been an El Paso landmark for 105 years. Haymon Krupp (1874-1949) was a Jewish merchant and investor from Lithuania who came to our city in 1890, just as the population reached 10,000 inhabitants. He was a pioneer of the American outdoor clothing industry and a co-founder of the Texan Oil and Land Co., established in 1919. The company drilled the first successful oil well in the Permian Basin; and in 1928, after overcoming technological barriers, Texon broke the world record and drilled the deepest oil well on the planet (8,525 feet).
Krupp was also known for distributing thousands of dollars worth of coal to the poor in El Paso and throughout West Texas every Christmas for 40 years. He once was once honored as the “most distinguished citizen of El Paso” and the “Most Useful Citizen in Texas.”
The edifice on W. Overland is four stories tall and was erected at a cost of $75,000. Like most of Henry C. Trost’s other downtown commercial buildings, it consists mostly of reinforced concrete and is structurally very strong. It was here where Haymon Krupp & Co. manufactured clothing and sold dry goods to wholesalers. Pancho Villa is known to have purchased uniforms for his soldiers from the ground-level office.
Today the venerable edifice stands abandoned and neglected, a ghost of what it once was, but its history is not forgotten. On Krupp, I refer you to Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage Press, 1989), 109-15.
The 2017 County architectural survey lists the building as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing structure, and thus it would be fully eligible for generous federal and state tax credits if the Downtown National Register Historic District were established.
The building lies just outside the local Downtown H-Overlay Historic District and thus there is no protection or oversight from the City’s Historic Landmark Commission.
I can only hope that the Meyers Group, which did an outstanding job of restoring the Trost-designed Hotel Paso del Norte, would consider saving the Haymon Krupp Building rather than razing it. It was not only designed by the greatest architectural firm in the history of West Texas, but it also an important piece of El Paso Jewish history.