Old Fort Bliss Barracks

Heading up Fred Wilson Boulevard, there’s an entrance into Fort Bliss for William Beaumont Army Medical Center.  What’s interesting is a large collection of largely unused old barracks and a lone empty chapel, baking in the west Texas sun.

The first 3 easily accessible buildings are right across from a parking lot, making it easy to check out.  Given that this is an active part of base, I heeded all trespass warnings and didn’t check to see if any of the buildings were open.  Plus who knows why these aren’t in use, there’s probably all sorts of contaminants like lead or asbestos inside.  At the very least there were large piles of nasty pigeon poop all over the place, so I stuck to the dirt.

The 3 barrack buildings were all the same construction in various states of disrepair.  It’s too bad they can’t be used for some more interesting purpose.  Donald Judd’s Chinati comes to mind. Down the way was a small boarded up chapel.

Upon closer inspection, the front door that was boarded up had been kicked in, exposing the interior:

Looking in, you could tell it was completely empty so I didn’t venture any farther than my lens would go.  A curious feature was the bridge to the entrance which I guess in the past would have had water.   There were probably lots of past marriages here with lots of photo opportunities.

I didn’t want to get stopped and asked  a bunch of questions, so it was time to bug out.  After grabbing a few more shots, I headed out.  The full set can be seen on flickr here: Old Barracks on Fort Bliss

The Lady and La Calavera

While heading down Texas street I stopped to grab a pic of a probably post-prohibition era sign, painted on the side of a building:

 There are a few of these old wall signs left scattered around downtown and this one advertising Bevo makes it especially unique.  Not far from it is a large wall mural by Tino Ortega:

The piece is pretty impressive, easy accessible while driving by.  Most street art is best viewed by pounding the pavement and walking up to it though.  The scope is always more impressive from the sidewalk level.  One of the benefits of seeing it up close is you will will notice a nice companion piece nearby that would be easily missed in a passing car:

Sugar skull, guardian of the alley. Forever watching…waiting, what have you seen?

More Outdoor Public Art

I’ve been helping set up at the Downtown Art Market and after finishing up I headed out to get some pics of some outdoor art around the area.

First up is a piece by EXIST1981. Its tucked behind a building off of San Antonio Avenue:

The Mandala Mural was created in honor of the artists son and was created entirely by spray paint.    Not far from it is another mural by Federico Archuleta:

This piece is a joint commission between Juaritos and Amor Por Juarez.  Both murals sit in choice locations for viewing and add some great color to the often forgotten backsides of buildings.  With so many industrial warehouses in the neighborhood, more murals such as these would really go a long way in helping establish the area as an art district.

Further down in the Union Depot area I found a couple of small paste/poster pieces:

As I continue to wander around downtown, I’ll keep posting up what I find.  There’s a lot out there waiting to be found.

Old San Francisco Historic District

MapI spent some time at the Downtown Artist Market on Saturday and after setting up, I walked up to what is called the Old San Francisco District of El Paso.  Its a curious sliver of a neighborhood that looks like it was originally part of Sunset Heights before the freeway cut though town.  There’s been a lot of activity in the area with the construction of the Chihuahua’s ballpark, and I wanted to see what effects if any, this has had on the area.   I walked up the new pedestrian walkway, turning left at Franklin and about halfway down the block was the first sign of  “progress.” The neighborhood laundry has been closed and looks to become some kind of establishment that sells alcohol:

 The 60 day TABC required posting was on the door and the lot was fenced up.  I’ll bet the cost of entry downtown for a bar/grill establishment has gone up in the last year so, making this location a prime target. It’s a short walk from the ballpark with street parking. Winding around to Missouri, facing east there is another building now empty that used to be a grocery:

There was no obvious activity.  l’ll bet it won’t be long before something fills the empty space.  The rest of the buildings are residential apartments so you have to figure that some sort parking requirements will  go into effect to help the residents.  Either that or on game night you just don’t leave your house unless you are coming back after the game.  It’s a pretty cool little spot retaining, for now, a lot of charm for this often forgotten part of town.  I shot a few more pics before I heading back to the market:

For the full set of pics see: San Francisco District on flickr

 

DWN TWN Art & Farmers Market 2014

I spent some time this weekend at the Downtown Artist and Farmers Market in El Paso’s Union Plaza District.  It’s been going on for a few years now and has really taken shape from its humble beginnings.

While browsing around, I walked a few blocks over to see how the area has changed in the last year with all the recent development activity.  One new addition is a large pedestrian mall following Durango street from Overland to the site of the new stadium. There’s been a lot of talk about not having enough parking for the El Paso Chihuahua’s baseball games. This looks like a good way to shuttle foot traffic up the colorful walkway from the downtown transit terminal across from the Civic Center.

The artist market has grown leaps and bounds since the addition of the farmers market.  Food trucks also frequent, parking down on San Francisco street, giving patrons plenty of grub to choose from.

One thing that would really help would be if more of the businesses in the area would open up for lunch on Saturday (Hello! the Garden and Brick & Mortar…)  On the corner of San Antonio and Anthony streets sits The Mix , a cool retail/ shopping venue.  A few retail stores were open but a pub and nearby restaurant opened later in the afternoon. Bummer.

With plenty of parking and new vendors, the Art Market is worth a weekend checkout.  It’ll be interesting to see the area continue to grow once baseball takes hold downtown. There should be more to see and do as this and future seasons get going.

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