Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Boot Hill"

There's a special place in El Paso, where a short walk will take you through history. Concordia Cemetery was started in 1856 and in a few years it became the main burial site for the city. That makes it a fascinating place for the visitor. You can see the graves of Chinese railroad workers, buffalo soldiers, and numerous infamous outlaws including John Wesley Hardin.

When I was there recently, I was lucky enough to see an immature burrowing owl guarding his home underneath a tombstone.

To read more about Concordia Cemetery, click here. (Thanks to Bernie Sargent for providing this great photo!)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Stories of Spirits in El Paso

Tomorrow, March 11 (and every month or so), the Magoffin Home State Historic Site in El Paso presents a special program called Stories of Spirits. In this special two-hour tour, the historical tour is expanded to include stories of spirits and odd events that occur in the house!

Starts promptly at 10 a.m.; fees $5 per person, no children under 12 please; reservations encouraged (915) 533-5147.

This is a popular tour and fills quickly, so put these dates on your calendar for future Stories of Spirits tours--April 8, May 13, June 10, August 12 and September 9!

The Magoffin Home Built in 1875 by pioneer Joseph Magoffin, the nineteen room, adobe home is a prime example of Territorial style architecture. This style developed in the southwest in the mid-1800s and combined local materials (adobe) and then fashionable mid-Victorian wood trim. It is a beautiful place!

More information about the Magoffin Home State Historic Site.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Drive the speed limit and you miss it!

Late this summer, I noticed a curious structure being built on the side of the Hwy 90 heading south from Van Horn. Odd. Too small for a house or store. Too large for a bus shelter, and too far from anything to house kids waiting for the schoolbus. Yet, there it was, being patiently built by a small crew of men, just a few miles north of Valentine, population 247. A boxy-looking thing, way out in the middle of the desert.

In early October, I took that road home to Van Horn. The first clue was the portable lighted sign by the only gas station in Valentine. "Welcome Prada Marfa," it said. Huh.

Then I sped by, way too fast to get anything but a hint of what it was. Stop the car, back up. What?!? A Prada store?

There, perfectly and beautifully positioned in the desert, is a sealed time capsule, a non-functional full-sized reproduction of an urban boutique Prada store stocked with the fall 2005 line of shoes and purses. It makes me happy just to look at it. It will decay in time, and the ruin will become part of the landscape.