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If I Were Mayor, We Would Not Have Lost A 130 Year Old Building In Downtown El Paso To Fire

John Wesley Hardin was a famous gunslinger in the late 1800’s.  He was also a lawyer who had his offices at the intersection of San Antonio and S. El Paso Streets, across the street from the Camino Real Hotel, itself a historic landmark in El Paso.  Last night, the building that Hardin practiced law out of, burned for four hours, and is considered a total loss.

Kress building - courtesy: el paso times


Downtown El Paso is full of historic buildings and landmarks like the Kress building.  Unfortunately, a lot of those buildings are owned by people like Billy Abraham, and Gerald Rubin, the owner of Helen of Troy  – people with a lot of money, but apparently abosolutely no desire to make sure those historic structures are well taken care of. 

courtesy: el paso times

Buildings that stand for 130 years should not go up in flames in a few hours.  Buildings with that much history should not be in the hands of people who clearly couldn’t give a damn about the history of this city, it’s structures, or it’s people.  What happens if that building had been full of customers?  Were there adequate exits?  How about fire extinguishers?  Smoke detectors?  Sprinkler system? 

It’s an abomination that people who have millions of dollars can’t and won’t spend a couple thousand to make sure that the beautiful buildings that define our downtown are not properly maintained.  Apparently, all they want to do is destroy the facades with poorly constructed signage and some hastily slapped on coats of paint and stucco so they can carve up the interior of the buildings and collect rents.

courtesy: el paso times

The Plaza Theater took millions of dollars and years to renovate, and it has become a jewel in downtown El Paso.  How many more 130 year old buildings are we going to allow to be destroyed by paint and stucco, or devastating fires, before we, and City Council, say NO MORE?

If I were mayor, this would not have happened.

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