San Jacinto Plaza

San Jacinto Plaza

San Jacinto Plaza

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San Jacinto Plaza is an historic park located on the corner of Oregon and Mills in the heart of Downtown El Paso, Texas.


When the US government leased land from Smith's ranch, for the first Post opposite El Paso (meaning El Paso del Norte, later renamed Ciudad Juarez), U.S. Army troops would drill in the plaza. The city of El Paso acquired the property on which the Plaza is located in 1881 from William T. Smith. Smith had bought the land from the heirs of its early owner, Juan Maria Ponce de Leon, a prominent El Paso figure, who had owned the spot since 1827. The square had since been the location of the corrals for de León’s ranch.The city cleared and cleaned the dry, sandy, mesquite-filled property and in 1903 the City Council officially named the park in honor of the famous battle Texas fought for its independence.

J. Fisher Satterwaite, El Paso Parks and Streets Commissioner, contracted with Fisher Satterthwaite to create beauty out of this desert patch. By 1883, the park was surrounded by a fence, a walled pond was created, a gazebo was erected and 75 Chinese Elm trees were planted. Satterthwaite then introduced three alligators into the pond.

The Alligators

The alligators were the central attraction yea, and thrived. At one time the pond contained as many as seven of the reptiles. Most visitors to the park would rest on the wall surrounding the pond and watch the alligators. The reptiles quickly became a staple of the El Paso Culture. In 1952, an...
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