Another year and another series of downtown buildings are set to be razed. After decades of little activity downtown, it seems like there are reports of buildings being demoed every few months or so. Whether by accident(?) or in the name of progress, even our city hall has come down. In almost all of the instances, there’s been much debate for history or for growth. The latest is a a block of buildings downtown that have preservationists up in arms that enough is enough.
I went down to check out the progress and River Oaks has moved fast to knock down these properties.
The front facades give little indication to the true history of the buildings. Most have been poorly re-skinned in attempts to “modernize” and its tough to see what can be salvaged.
Its natural to point the finger at the current owners but they can’t be held fully to fault. These buildings have had hard lives and it shows. Past “fixes” and “updates” by previous owners often do more damage than good. Restoration is a tricky proposition, requiring vast sums of money to do properly. Look at the recent Mills Building restoration, this was the second time its been done and required a complete gutting to get it right.
Contrast that to the Caples building remodel, which as been stalled forever and will likely never get done by the current owner.
Let’s hope that we don’t continue down the demolition path, erasing what history we have left. Downtown El Paso has lots worth saving and we must find the right mix of restore and reuse or we will wind up with parking lots everywhere.
More pics on flickr: Demolition Time
Sometimes the sun is in the right place.
The weather for this past weekends Art Market was perfect. Not a bit of wind unlike the previous, and the temps were much more in line with the season. The El Paso Diabetes Association held their annual Run/Walk downtown and as a result there was a lot more “foot traffic” at the Art Market:)
With the weather playing nice, I felt it was time to sample some of Independent Burgers‘ homemade ice cream! It’s good stuff but the fancy cart is what sells it. I wish they would come up with some way to have burgers as well…an Independent food truck might be a good idea.
I broke away for a bit to get some more pics of the freshly painted sphinx at the Scottish Rite Temple. For the past couple of years they had a color treatment that highlighted the headdress but recently returned it to the classical white:
The Temple sits adjacent to the recently opened Chihuahua’s Ballpark. It was nice to see it sans construction barricades and busy workers.
It’s really shoehorned into the old City Hall space but it works. It looks a lot nicer than City Hall ever did. I won’t complain and hope to get out to a game soon to take it all in. Back at the Art Market the races were finishing up and El Paso’s Ballet Forklorico was performing a demonstration:
Western Street where The Garden and Brick and Mortar sits is pretty cool now, a far cry from the days of being a dusty parking lot for Club 101. The brick walkway and recently added overhead lighting jazz up the space, making it great for outdoor events such as this. As always more pics can be found on flickr: Diabetes Run/Walk