About El Paso
The Safest City in America
El Paso was just named the safest large city in America, passing Honolulu for top honors according to CQ Press. While some people might find that surprising, those of us who live here know that it’s a very safe place. In fact, El Paso has consistently ranked in the top three safest cities in the U.S. since 1997. Perhaps one reason is that the Milken Institute ranks El Paso second in their 2011 Best-Performing Cities index for job growth, wages, and gross domestic product. In short, it’s a great place to live.
El Paso is a pretty warm place to live. Technically, it’s a hot desert climate with little humidity and mild, dry winters. The average temperature is about 78°, with summers averaging in mid to high 90s, and winters averaging in the high 50s, often dropping into the 30s at night.
Long before Europeans reached El Paso, the Jornada Mogollon culture built pueblos in the area around the Rio Grande Valley, that were abandoned around 1450. The Manso and Suma tribes are believed to be descendants of the Mogollons in this area. Both tribes were hunter-gatherers, eating game as well as wild fruits and vegetables.
In 1598, Spanish explorer Don Juan de Oñate celebrated a Thanksgiving Mass on the banks of the Rio Grande, near present-day El Paso — 23 years before the Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe celebrated at the Plymouth Plantation.
In 1680, the small village of El Paso became Spain’s governing base for the territory of New Mexico. However, the Apache and Comanche Wars made it hard for the Spanish to develop the area as raiding parties made it difficult to grow crops and raise livestock. The New Mexico territory was ceded to the United States in 1848, and Texas took control of El Paso in 1850.
After the Civil War, the town was incorporated in 1873. The trains arrived in 1881, beginning a boomtown period, during which El Paso was known as the “Six-Shooter Capital” thanks to its frontier lawlessness. When the Army cracked down on vice around their bases, El Paso matured into a top manufacturing, transportation, and retail center of the Southwest.