San Elizario, one of the newest cities in Texas, dates back to April of 1598, when colonizer Don Juan de Oñate first came to the area, taking possession of the lands that the Rio Grande drained into for the King of Spain. That beginning, was the birth of the American Southwest. Historic San Elizario is immersed in over 400 years of history and sits on the
Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail. The trail served as the supply route from Mexico City to the northern areas of New Mexico for over 300 years. The National Register Historic District and State Cultural District is steeped in history. The self-guided walking tour covers 18 historic sites. You will visit the majestic San Elizario Presidio Chapel built in 1877, the last of other chapels that served the military fort that was occupied by Spanish, Mexican, Confederate and Union troops. Visit the Old El Paso County Jail Museum, in the actual building that was the first jail in El Paso County. The original jail cells are part of the interpretive exhibit museum, the site where Billy the Kid broke out Melquiades Sequra in 1876, saving him from the rope.
The Los Portales Museum and Visitors Center, located in front of the Presidio Chapel is the not only the starting point for the walking tour, but the perfect start to your visit to the San Elizario Historic District. Its exhibits focus on the rich and colorful historical legacies of San Elizario and is housed in the public school building in El Paso County. The Eduardo Pedregon Memorial Veterans Museum on Main Street, focuses on the patriotism of this small west Texas town. The museum is dedicated to the veterans of San Elizario. The San Elizario Veterans Memorial Walk in front of the building is dedicated to those who have served, or are currently serving, in all branches of the United States Armed Forces. This Memorial separates the warrior from the war, focuses on the valor and sacrifices of these patriots, and gives each of them a place in history. The Museums are all operated by the San Elizario Genealogy and Historical Society. The Society also supports the Cultural Activities in the district and offer free guided tours of the district on the fourth Sunday of every month. Private and Custom tours are also available. Admission is free at all museums and most events.
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