If you do any traveling on I-10, chances are you have seen McKinney Wrecking across from UTEP.
As far as I know, it’s the only recycled building materials lot in El Paso (the only interesting one anyway.) The main building that houses their offices was once part of Prices Dairy and was moved to its current location next to Globe Mills some time in the 80’s. If a large building is torn down in El Paso, chances are any historically significant pieces (valuable too) will wind up here.
Closed in 97, housed here since
From used claw foot tubs, doors, cabinets and lighting fixtures, if it can be reused they’ve got it.
Broke, not baroque
You want some beer and nacho soaked seats from Dudley field? You’d better hurry, they only have 3 rows left! Are you tired of the neighbors parking in front of your driveway? Set up a large no parking sign:
You will need to supply your own “No” though. Fun fact, this sign is from the parking garage that used to be at Mills and Oregon, prominently used in the the first “The Getaway” movie. It has since been demolished and replaced with a bigger garage.
You can wander around the lot for hours and any given time you stop by you are guaranteed to see something new. When I was walking around I noticed something on one of the Globe Mills silos that I hadn’t noticed before:
This would be tough to see from the freeway
It’s almost baked off but the faint remains of an old Cream of Wheat sign can be seen on one of the silos. I walked around a bit more and snapped a few more pictures, of which you can see here: McKinney Wrecking
El Paso’s downtown area is kind of unique. Many if its buildings have remained relatively unchanged since their initial construction. Sure, businesses have come and gone and some new buildings have replaced old dilapidated or damaged structures. For the most part though, we have retained in continual use many of the buildings and homes that date back to the early 1900’s.
The neighborhoods in central El Paso and in the Sunset heights area retain their older character as well. As they say, you can’t stop progress and with construction of the I-10 freeway, it would obliterate a few hundred homes and businesses that ran along its route.
Downtown El Paso before I-10
On both sides of Prospect St. were it croses over the freeway there are 2 distinct areas were a few remnants of these buildings once sat.
Parking up on the north side of prospect, you find the first set of stairs to nowhere:
What’s fascinating is that in addition to the stairs the foundations are largely intact. The walls may be long gone but somebody still resides here:
On the south end of Prospect St. there is a larger area that was once apartments. There may be some other reason that they are no longer standing as they seem to be situated closer to the historic San Francisco neighborhood and out of the range of the freeway.
Let Love Enter
This plat of land had more of an archaeological dig feel to it. Large sections of sidewalk and wall foundations are easily identifiable.
The dig site
And just like the other side there are various signs vagrant activity. Old shoes, mattresses and camp like sites were butted up against the few remaining walls.
Dr. Jones! We found the throne room!
The tile entryway in one of the buildings was still intact, you don’t find build quality like that anymore:
A little Swiffer wet-jet action and its good as new
I had to split as I was parked illegally on Prospect St. but I did get a few more interesting shots that can be found here: Lost Foundations
If you are traveling west on I-10, one building that stands out in the Sunset Heights neighborhood is the Sunset Grocery.
The distinctive green and white color scheme make spotting the three story building from the freeway easy. The bottom store is filled with various antiques and other items but does not appear to be a real store. I “Googled” looking for any information about the building and came up empty with the exception of a dubious Facebook page. (Update 11/7/2012: I have come across a new Facebook Page that appears to be legitimate and is worth checking out for the history and other photos)
The painted signage that was once prominently displayed on the brick facade is almost completely faded away. The building sits at a off square intersection, so its footprint is kind of unique, I don’t think there are any right angles.
The apartment entrances are in the back with a few parking spots so if you want your next rental home to be in a historic neighborhood you can give them a call.
There is no shortage of antique stores in and around El Paso. By far the largest and most unique has to be the Whoppee Bowl. If you do any driving between El Paso and Las Cruces you can’t miss it, its right off the Vinton exit:
During my last pass I noticed that they had a large airplane in their yard, very similar the the planes I had spotted in Fabens. Today’s work load was kind of lite so I drove out there to take a look. In addition to the plane there was a large white rooster, a exact copy of the green one at the lumbar yard. A curious coincidence or the relics of some long gone chicken chain, who knows?
The building is 11,000 square foot building of hoarding collecting bliss. The owners are in the process of adding a second level to the inside to be able to display more of the wares from the 35 of dealers who rent space there. Cash registers, wooden statues, old wood stoves, you name it its here. Navigating through the isles was tricky. I had to be extra careful to not smack my camera on some precariously placed antique while walking around.
A Pickers Dream
One thing that jumps right out at you is the very large Nazi flag hanging from the center. I would think that to be a bit of a liability, possibly alienating some potential customers but hey what do I know?
I could have spent a few more hours here happily snapping pictures but lunch was up and it was time to return to the less dusty confines of my office. I’ll have to go back but for now you can see what I shot here: The Whoopee Bowl
I was needing to get out of the office for a bit so I jumped in the Jeep and went to check out a drainage culvert off of Mesa Hills. I had seen it in my previous excursion to the area when I almost get trapped on the other side of the Sunland Park Dam.
After parking in the Westside Recreation center, I headed down a path that paralleled the arroyo till I could find a spot down.
Now I have lived in El Paso all my life and I think this is the first time I’ve seen a sign warning about snakes. Come on! We are smack in the middle of a desert next to a mountain, snakes should be expected.
The arroyo empties into a large wetland area, that despite the recent Hotter-Than-Hades heat wave, was quite green. I moved on to the concrete spillway hoping to find some interesting graffiti.
Not so much, just a bunch of lazy tagging. From here I walked back up to another feeder where I found the youth of El Paso’s favorite passtime: shopping cart stealing and dumping!
“Who” ever did this was long gone but left their mark. There had to be a skunk near by because this place smelled pretty foul. Time to head out before I get sprayed. The full set of photos can be found here: Mesa Hills Wash
Like any big metropolitan area, El Paso has its share of weirdness. Today I bring you the end result of one really devoted individual in the northeast part of El Paso.
La Casa de Asucar:
La Casa de Asucar (the Sugar House)
This houses perimeter is completely covered on a very ornate and intricate fence that makes no bones about just exactly who this person believes in.
This guy knows how to build a proper shrine
The level of detail is amazing. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for the upkeep on this place. I was also quite shocked that there was no apparent damage from vandals. No tagging, no missing heads or hands.
The Sugar House
I was left with a kind of Hansel and Gretta feeling after seeing the Sugar House. What do the neighbors think? Its well maintained and lighted at night but it is a bit over the top. The Sugar House is a very appropriate name for the religious beacon just off the freeway. More sweetness can be found here: La Case de Asucar