A Tour of an Old Town: A History and Look at Real Estate in San Elizario
Southeast of El Paso, traveling via Loop 375 and Socorro Road is a little town with plenty of Western-style vibe, a classic adobe-style chapel, local Mexican restaurants, and a friendly populace called San Elizario. The Brian Burds Home Selling Team is out there every day finding new properties and helping sellers bring their house to market. We help buyers and sellers find the best opportunity for their particular needs, and we love the El Paso area and its rich history. We thought we’d do something different these next couple of posts and bring you some history about some of the communities that form part of the El Paso area.
The End Point of an Expedition
In 1598, the Spanish expedition led by Juan de Oñate was sent northward to establish a New Mexico. It was at this time that he and his caravan —composed of 539 souls including Franciscans, families, soldiers, and pigs, carts, horses, wagons, sheep, cattle and stretched more than 3 miles— reached the Rio Grande and landed in San Elizario. Oñate called a mass and declared the area for the King of Spain. This event is called “La Toma” or “the taking” where possession of the land is officially declared.
For a lot of the nineteenth century, San Elizario was a relatively prosperous town in the area, as many merchant caravans passed through. After Mexico won its independence from Spain during the War of Independence, San Elizario became part of the state of Chihuahua. Mexican troops still had a presence as late as 1835. When the Rio Grande shifted and the Treaty of Guadalupe decided that the new boundary between Mexico and Texas was the “deepest channel” of the river, the little town became part of the state of Texas.
The Salt Wars
A lot of people might also be surprised to know that San Elizario was subject to serious civil unrest during the late 1800s, as disputes over salt deposits just west of the Guadalupe Mountains rose amongst the population. After this, many people fled persecution and punishment.
The Chapel and the Jail
Today, two main attractions of this charming little town remain standing. One is the chapel that sits in the center of the plaza. In the early days of the town, the chapel was the center of the community, as all of the inhabitants were ardent Catholics and all the news and happenings of the population were communicated and spoken through the church.
The jail is another attraction that receives plenty of attention year-round. One of the main claims to fame of the small adobe jail is the story of Billy the Kid and how that particular building—that to a normal statured person of the 21st century would seem oddly low ceilinged—was the only jail that the outlaw broke into, not out of. The reason the famous rebel found himself in San Eli was that his friend Segura had been captured and he was determined to help him out. Kid traveled from Old Mesilla to the town jail, knocked on the door, pretended to be a Texas ranger holding prisoners, overpowered the guards, and proceeded to help his friend escape.
San Elizario and the Growing Area
The El Paso area today is a growing market for real estate. As development expands from El Paso eastward, new homes are being built, old homes remodeled, schools and roads expanding. The real estate prices outside the El Paso city limits are even more affordable than homes in the city’s jurisdiction. As more people commute to work, prefer to work remotely or look for the small town vibe, the San Elizario area is a viable option. The average commute time into the city is about 30 minutes, which is pretty average in the 21st century. The population is approximately 9,000 residents and the median home price is $80,000.
For residents of the Sun City, San Elizario is always a good place to visit and explore the Southwest heritage that unites us all. Next time you’re looking for a short day trip, consider heading up to see the jail the infamous Billy the Kid broke into or step into the chapel, or enjoy live music and food at El Bandido.
The Brian Burds Selling Team services San Elizario. We have hundreds of listings in El Paso and also in the surrounding area. If you’re looking for an affordable home with a small town vibe, give us a call. We can guide you to the many communities in the El Paso area and the many options that exist in this market.