A May 21, 1948 article reported that El Paso did not have an official city flag:
The city council on Thursday approved the design for the official El Paso flag and hopes to unveil it on the municipality’s seventh birthday, June 18.
According to officials, the manufacturer promised to deliver the flag within three weeks. The approved template calls for a 5′ x 8′ sky blue field with the city’s seal embossed in gold as the centerpiece. When the city’s flag is planted, it will take its place next to the flags of the United States and Texas, which occupy the stand that was set up in the city council chambers a few weeks ago.
The revelation that El Paso did not have an official flag came recently when Mayor Dan Ponder decided to decorate the council chamber with flags.
According to the mayor, the city’s official flag will only be used on “state” occasions, and its permanent stand will be located at City Hall.
Unveiling the flag for the 75th anniversary
The city government of El Paso was established on June 18, 1873, when Secretary of State James H. Newcomb certified and approved the city charter in Austin.
The newly adopted city flag was indeed introduced as part of the city’s 75th anniversary.th Anniversary. Along with the news of the new official flag was an article dated June 18, 1948, which recounts the city’s early history:
On August 12, Benjamin S. (Uncle Ben) Dowell was elected mayor in the first city election. A total of 105 voters registered to participate in the elections. The registration gives some idea of the city’s population at that time.
Dowell was a bartender, postmaster, Confederate soldier, and racehorse owner at various points in his colorful career. The bar, located where the Paso del Norte Hotel now stands, bore his name.
The first post office was opened in 1854.
A post office was opened in 1854 and the city was named Franklin. This name was officially changed to El Paso in 1859. …
The gradual increase in the number of women in society and the steady growth of the population created a need for law and order. The county’s administration was then in San Elizario, but events pointed to the need for local government.
An example is the assassination of a district judge on December 7, 1870, on El Paso Street near the current site of the Ellanay Theatre.
Ben Dowell’s first city government did an honest job, but the problems were almost insurmountable. The position of city marshal was not paid, and since the six-shooter was an integral part of Western dress, the turnover of marshals was high.
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State cost $550 the first year
The cost of running the city government, including maintenance of the ditches, was $550 in the first year. In November of that first year, Dowell called a special city council meeting to announce that he had raised $16. Three dollars of that amount was for fines, $12 for taxes, and $1 for something the mayor couldn’t remember.
A dog license law was introduced, but apparently its provisions were too strict for Dowell, who lost his mayoral office in 1875 to M. A. Jones over a dog license problem.
The Salt War of 1877 in El Paso County pushed city politics and government out of the spotlight until 1880, when citizens petitioned for city elections.
Solomon S. Schultz was elected mayor, but Schultz could not have chosen harder times for his administration. The first railroad reached El Paso in 1881 and the boom continued. A law was passed banning the sale of liquor on Sundays from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. People holding public dances had to pay a $2 license fee; Of these, 1 dollar went to the marshal, whose presence was mandatory.
Finally, six-shooters were outlawed, opium shops were banned, and taxis were instructed to charge no more than 2 cents per trip from the railroad depot to any part of the city.
A franchise was issued to illuminate city streets with 40 lanterns, but the contract stipulated that no light was needed on moonlit nights.
The first church, the Episcopal Church, was founded in 1870, and it was not until 1882 that the second church, First Presbyterian, was founded. Telephones appeared in September 1883. The first school was opened in 1885.
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Cowboys lassoed dancers on stage
The city first appreciated the modern tactics of the Chamber of Commerce when, in 1883, the city council agreed to eliminate the tax on John Robinson’s circus and menagerie because “it would advance the city’s business interests.”
Many of these were curious side effects, as the city experienced intense growth pains in the course of its development.
There was a time when the cowboys lassoed the dancers when the first stage show appeared. There was a woman smuggling an alarm clock from Juarez in her hustle and bustle on a mule-drawn tram, and the shaking car set off the alarm just as the customs inspector entered the car. El Paso Street was dotted with saloons and gambling halls. There were feuds over ownership of drainage ditches. Elections have always provoked strong reactions. City marshals often died in the line of duty. For a time, a secret committee of prominent businessmen met by candlelight, risking their lives to maintain law and order.
But over the years, the city flourished and finally eclipsed the neighboring villages and became the center of the Southwest in its own right.
Trish Long can be contacted at [email protected] or by phone at 915-546-6179.