Chamizal National Monument and Scenic View Park

Trip Start Nov 25, 2006
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Flag of United States  , Texas
Sunday, March 25, 2007

After the U.S. won a war against Mexico (The Mexican-American War), it took a lot of land away from them. So the U.S. drew a new boundary between the two countries-with the Rio Grande River anchoring a big part of it. But then, the river channel moved! This created a huge shift in property ownership here in El Paso. With the new river channel, some urban land that had been Mexican now fell into U.S. possession. Surprise, surprise, the U.S. didn't want to honor the Canadian judge's ruling that we give that land back to Mexico. It was disputed for about a century. Finally in the 1960's (I was in grade school by this time!) the U.S. negotiated a resolution: it gave a chunk of that land back to Mexico. Both countries built a concrete channel for the Rio Grande River (so it wouldn't move again!), and they turned the disputed lands into parks. That's the story of how we visited Chamizal National Monument, dedicated to mutual respect and appreciation between the two cultures through the arts.
 
Chamizal has a great visitors' center with relevant movies and museum displays explaining this history. It also has a cool theatre and outdoor amphitheatre where they have lots of free music and stage productions in English and Spanish. It's a great place to check out in El Paso. The National Parks system is one federal program that somehow seems to really work right. You may wish to visit El Paso blogger Dada's entry on Chamizal because his incisive and humorous style is always worth a visit.
 
Across the free bridge of the Americas, located right there, you can also visit a city park in Juarez that has an anthropology museum. We'll do that someday, too.
 
While speaking of parks, I'll also post my photos from the city park on the point of Franklin Mountain that overlooks El Paso (and, beyond to Juarez) on Scenic View Drive. From here, you can see "the Pass to the North" or "El Paso Del Norte": the gap in the mountains that early explorers and settlers traveled through, now filled in with El Paso and Ciudad Juarez (slightly overlap the 3 photos with your imagination to get the full overlook viewpoint):
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
Vista Sol Apartments

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