Patricia Martinez

On Friday morning, a 103-year-old gem of a home burned to the ground. The Krakauer mansion at 1519 Golden Hill Terrace was a Trost-designed mansion that had fallen on very hard times. I went by on Monday and shot a couple of quick photos and was terribly sad to see that windows were completely missing in the attic dormer as well as in the front of the home. I was hoping to find out who owned the home and try to get inside to see what kind of damage was done over the years to it, but on Friday morning, I woke up to live Facebook feeds from local news stations that showed the beautiful home up in flames.

The home was built by by Robert & Ruth Krakauer in 1915 and designed by Henry Trost. The Krakauer family was one of El Paso's early prominent families headed by Adolph Krakauer. He immigrated from Germany and came to El Paso in 1872. His son, Robert, lived only four years after building the mansion. He was accidentally shot when his wife's gun went off at the family's ranch near Clint.

Barbara Given-Behne, who a direct descendant of the Krakauer family, spoke to me by phone on Sunday. She was understandably quite upset about the loss of the home, not because of the family connection, but because it was a loss of a piece of the city's history. Behne, who is an administrator of Remember in El Paso When, a Facebook page dedicated to the history of El Paso, has long been an advocate of preserving and honoring the history of our centuries-old city. She said the loss of the Krakauer house is another blow to the legacy of Trost in El Paso, and another reminder that our elected officials need to work to prevent losses like this in the future.

The Krakauer House, the Billy Abraham-owned buildings in downtown El Paso, the Segundo Barrio, the Union Plaza area - all these historic areas need to be protected, and landowners need to be held accountable for the neglect that allows incidents like this fire to destroy our historic El Paso treasures.

The El Paso Fire Department is still investigating the cause of the fire at the Krakauer Home. They are asking for anyone who has information on the incident to call 915-471-3448. If you know of anything related to the fire that destroyed this home, please call them. We need to find out why this happened and hopefully prevent it from happening again.