Weeds grow high around the empty buildings on the land where many say El Paso got its start. The spot where Don Juan de Oñate is believed to have led a Spanish expedition in 1598 after discovering the Pass to the North is marked by little more than an abandoned fountain.
Generations later in 1850, El Paso pioneer Simeon Hart established Hart’s Mill in the same area of Paisano Drive on the edge of the Rio Grande. Now there is just La Hacienda, a restaurant that closed down decades ago.
The officers quarters from Old Fort Bliss, built between 1873 and 1893 still stand nearby – also empty and forgotten.
In this video, multimedia journalism student Tony Cast takes at look at the little strip of land hidden from memory between the city’s freeway and the border fence as two UT El Paso historians discuss its significance being lost to new generations.