Chamizal National Memorial

On my way back to Cruces I passed through El Paso again.  Flash floods in the desert aren’t much fun to drive through and today looked like a good time for indoor activities.

Lucky for me I was passing right by Chamizal National Memorial.  This site commemorates the peaceful settlement of the Chamizal boundary dispute, a bloody conflict that nearly resulted in attempted assassination of both US and Mexican presidents in the early 1900’s.

See that hill in the distance?  That’s Mexico.  The monument sits right on the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.

Outside the visitor center are several colorful murals combining people & significant cultural images in an amazing abstract way.  Nuestra Herencia/Our Heritage” mural by artist Carlos and Marcos Flores.  Some very talented artists down in the desert, respect!

Inside the center there are displays covering the history of Chamizal, a photographic & chronological history running the length of the hallways, and plaques serving as reminder of peaceful cooperation between our nations.

One of the more interesting displays is a cabinet of dolls with different cultural dress replicas.  This exhibit was created to celebrate the great breadth of diversity in this region.  Much more information can be found on the NPS site by clicking here.

And probably the most spectacular piece is a giant painting called El Paso Gracias A Dios (El Paso Thanksgiving) by Hal Marcus.  This thing is ceiling height and like 10 feet long and jam packed with color & imagery that is hard to describe.  Probably the coolest folk art I’ve seen from this region to date. Apparently there is a much larger art gallery here but for some reason it was closed today or I missed it – pictures online show it should not be skipped!

Heading back to Cruces now that the rain is over to plan for tomorrow.  I have 2 days left in New Mexico, going to try and make them count!

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