description

At the turn of the 19th to 20th century, the neighborhood began to take shape from a craggy desert hill peak to a neighborhood with streets and carriages making their way to and from downtown El Paso.
Some of the first settlers included affluent and middle-class Mexican families who were forced to leave during the beginnings of the Mexican Revolution. The families brought what little means they could carry in wagons and some means to start a new life. Some of these refugees included doctors, businessmen, hacendados and tradesmen of varying skills. Most of the families who relocated came from different parts of Chihuahua that included, Chihuahua, Cd. Juarez, Santa Eulalia, San Paulo Meoqui, Jimenez, and Parral. Many of the families purchased and built brick bungalows popular during that period. Today, some of the streets in Sunset Heights bear the names of key political and military figures in Mexican History: Porfirio Diaz, 19th century president and dictator in México and Miramón, named after General Miguel Miramón who was executed alongside deposed Emperor Maximilian of México.
In addition to Mexican migration to the neighborhood, several affluent Anglo families built their homes here as well. Many of these mansions still stand and are considered historic treasures. Some of the families that moved here were architects, educators, businessmen and former military officers who settled in the area when stationed to Ft. Bliss. Like the streets named after prominent Mexican figures, likewise, streets in Sunset Heights were renamed to reflect the contributions of notable El Pasoans such as Dr. William Yandell, who developed a public health program, and Fewel Street, named after Major W.J. Fewel who initiated the first street paving program. Some of the notable residents included the Richard F. Burges, Zack White, Ernst and Olga Kohlberg, the Hixons, the Lorentzens, Gustav and Bertha Zork and the Schwartz families.
Sunset Heights was diverse in many aspects; the people who lived there shared a common love for their city and neighborhood and communed with one another even if they did not share the same cultural backgrounds. According to archived interviews, children from the neighborhood gathered at the Schwartz residence on Prospect for the Sunset Heights reading club and in a passage by Constance R. White, she recalls, “The close friendships formed during those years, the warmth and feeling of mutual affection have all remained a vital part of my life. It was not until I left home for college that I realized what a unique community we were privileged to enjoy in El Paso. Here we had Jews and Gentiles, Mexicans and Lebanese, all working and living together with mutual respect and harmony. Not so in other places, I soon discovered.”
Published in 1982, this excerpt is part of a historical memories contest and thus reflects the language and social perspective of its time.

Uploaded on 04.23.2021 by El Paso Museum of History

Central / Sunset Heights, (2020 - 2029), Identity

  • Virtual Exhibition

Your comment will be visible after the El Paso Museum staff has reviewed it. This usually happens within 24 hours.

Thank you for your comment

Neighborhoods and Shared Memories: Sunset Heights

Report this entry

Choose the most important reason for this report

Your name

Your email address

Optional detail

Thank you for your report

More from the same community-collection

Sunset Grocery, 700 Mundy

Sunset Grocery, 700 Mundy

Randolph Dr., Wallace apts.

Built in 1903 and named for owner George E. Wallace, these apartments were designed by one of El Paso's earliest...

Sunrise 2009 - El Paso, Texas

sunrise 11-5-09
From a vacant lot in Sunset Heights in El Paso, Texas where Upson meets Prospect.

Randolph Dr. 1205, Wallace apts

Randolph Dr. 1205, Wallace apts.

Mundy Park gazebo

Title Mundy Park gazebo in historic Sunset Heights neighborhood, El Paso, TX circa 2015 Early activities described Page 82 in...

Missouri 900, 4-14-12

“Missouri 900” is the “Holy Family St. Anthony of the Desert Catholic Church.” I’m told that a long name such...

EPCC Rio Grande

I’ve taken pictures at just two of the Community College campuses, Rio Grande (largely because it’s just four blocks from...

Border fence

Border Fence C-I, 6-26-09
Not the smartest thing I ever did. I kept thinking, “Oh, the things I’ll do...

Home In Sunset Heights

Home located in the historical Sunset Heights area.

225 Porfirio Diaz back

Photo taken by Thurman Studio Portraits & Commercial Photography 217 S. El Paso Street

225 Porfirio Diaz - El Paso, Texas

Photo taken by Thurman Studio Portraits & Commercial Photography 217 S. El Paso Street

803 Upson

Photo taken by Thurman Studio Portraits & Commercial Photography 217 S. El Paso Street

803 Upson

Photo taken by Thurman Studio Portraits & Commercial Photography 217 S. El Paso Street

Graduation from Jesus and Mary Academy - 1947 - El Paso, Texas

Located in Sunset Heights. Home was located across the street from Cathedral. Photograph of Irene Valdez and Manuela Medrano. Date...