Photo Collections and Archives

President Obama, 2011, Courtesy of the El Paso Times

Presidential Visits to El Paso

For better or for worse, the 2016 presidential election is heating up. Most likely, come November, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be elected the 45th president of the United States. This year, immigration has been a focal point in the minds of the candidates and voters. Because of El Paso’s proximity to the border and to Mexico, it’s safe to assume whomever is elected will have to deal with this ever changing and vocal community. Surely other presidents have.

Since 1891, U.S. presidents have traveled to the Borderland, some making numerous stops during their presidency. Some have come to the Pass to campaign, while others have engaged in complex, monumental diplomatic discussions and actions with international ramifications. This gallery contains photos from some of those visits. These photos were used in a talk in March 2016 at the El Paso County Historical Society titled “Presidents at the Pass,” presented by the Honorable William Moody of the 34th District Court. Those not credited are available in our archive.

Hotel Cortez

Postcards: Regional Snapshots

They don’t make postcards like they used to. Often, today’s postcard images, though masterfully shot, lack the breathtaking allure and soul of those the everyman would send in the early twentieth century. On the contrary, those that were sent over a hundred years ago contained masterful drawings, bold colors, and a pleasant texture. The same is true of those capturing our City at the Pass.

Many times, the postcards that were sent were artist renditions of snapshots that were taken of the city, or views the artist wished to express. Likewise, many postcards captured Downtown and the Franklins, neighborhoods and buildings, not as they looked exactly but rather how the artist or photographer wanted them to be viewed. Postcards are snapshots of the heart of a city. But they are also projections of how one wishes a city to appear and exist.

El Paso’s postcards tell a story of a bustling city, but also one contending with progress and growth. They tell the story of what the expected or desired path of El Paso was. Oftentimes, the images appear to come from a children’s storybook. This is not to mention the history that exists on the backs of many postcards, writings that underscore the lives of countless people from around the world.

At the Society we have a collection of over 200 postcards, many of them sent in the early the 20th century. The 30 in this gallery capture various areas in El Paso from Downtown and Montana Street to Segundo Barrio and Highway 80. Even though this gallery only contains images from El Paso, a number of postcards in the Society’s archives highlight the beauties and vibrancy of Ciudad Juarez.

Hotel Paso del Norte, 1912

Hotel Paso del Norte and the Camino Real: El Paso’s Premier Hotel

In July 2016, a city council item was approved to begin creating incentives to renovate the Camino Real Hotel in Downtown El Paso. Using a design by Trost & Trost, the original 10-story edifice was built by Zachary T. White in 1912. The 17-story tower, which is a staple of El Paso’s Downtown skyline, was erected in 1985.

Take a look at some of the photographs we have in our collection of this iconic El Paso hotel.

Angelo Lombardi  1

El Paso jeweler: Angelo N. Lombardi

Thanks to Patrick Lombardi for the recent donation of photos, articles and documents related to his grandfather Angelo N. Lombardi. Angelo Lombardi, pioneer El Paso jeweler, came to El Paso from New York City in 1911, and became manager of the Eddy Foster Manufacturing Co., the largest jewelry business in the Southwest. Until World War […]

Aultman Scrapbook, Pancho Villa

Photos: Otis Aultman Scrapbook

Among the many treasures at the Historical Society is a scrapbook by photographer Otis Aultman. Aultman came to El Paso where he first worked for Scott Photo Company, was later in partnership with Robert Dorman, and eventually owned his own studio.

By 1911 El Paso was a gathering place for many of the main personalities of the Mexican Revolutionqv-Francisco Madero, Francisco (Pancho) Villa, Pascual Orozcoqqvand after the shooting began, many American newsmen also flocked to El Paso to cover the event. Aultman was a man in the right place at the right time. He photographed the battle of Casas Grandes, the first battle of Juárez in May 1911, and the Orozco rebellion in 1912. He was a favorite of Pancho Villa, who called Aultman “Banty Rooster” because he was only 5’4″ tall. Aultman worked for the International News Service and Pathé News and experimented with cinematography. In 1916 he was one of the first photographers to arrive at Columbus, New Mexico, after the famous raid on that town by the Villistas.

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