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  • Railroad and Transportation Museum of El PasoRailroad and Transportation Museum of El Paso, Texas
    In the late 1880s, the Copper Queen Mine in Brisbee, Arizona connected to the Santa Fe's Arizona & New Mexico Railroad in Fairbank, Arizona and became the Arizona & Southeastern Railroad, constructed in 1888-1889 by the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Co. which was a subsidiary of the Phelps Dodge Corp. The main function of the line was to bring copper anodes from the smelter in Brisbee to the refinery in El Paso, Texas. Wanting to defuse the costs even more, the PDC extended the rail line another 19 miles further to the north, connecting to the Southern Pacific Railroad at Benson, Arizona. As the new century approached, the nation was beginning to enjoy the benefits of electricity in their homes and businesses, which in turn created a greater need for copper. The new rail line continued to grow to take care of the needs of the nation, and the mines kept producing the copper. As the country needed more copper, the mines needed more railroads to transport the copper to markets, and soon it became an endless cycle. World War arrived, and afterwards, the demand for copper began to decline, thus making the railroads less profitable and no one felt this more than Phelps Dodge, which was in the business of producing copper. Needing more money put into the copper production, they decided to sell the El Paso & Southwestern Railroad, which had grown to over 1200 miles of track and trains. The Southern Pacific Company offered to purchase the railroad, and bought out Phelps Dodge in 1924. Then, in 1955, the Southern Pacific was forced to make some mergers which in turn caused the collapse of many smaller railroads, one of which was the El Paso and Southwestern.  Exhibits include the use of railroads in wartime, the second transcontinental railroad that went through El Paso, urban transit from the 1880s mule cars to the electric streetcars of the beginning of the 20th century, a restored 4-4-0 Classic American 1857 locomotive that is the last remaining one in the world, and the history of the El Paso & Southwestern Railroad No. 1.

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  • Franklin Mountains State ParkFranklin Mountains State Park El Paso, Texas
    The Franklin Mountains State Park is located in El Paso, Texas, and is the only urban park that is set completely within the city limits, covering 24,247+ acres. The park was started by an act of the Texas legislature in 1979 to stop the influx of developers into the area that contained significant ecological and aesthetic aspects. The residents of the city wanted to create the park to protect it and preserve the natural beauty that thrived inside the city. The Parks and Wildlife got the property in 1981, and opened to the public in 1987; covering about 37 square miles of magnificent scenes, rock formations and gorgeous views. The mountains look out over the Rio Grande River, and are in the northern parts of the Paso del Norte or Pass of the North that goes from Mexico into the United States. For millennia, Native Americans, gold-seekers, soldiers, traders, priests entrepreneurs, adventurers and ordinary people have used the pass in both directions that would lead them to their destination. The Native American peoples lived here for more than 12,000 years, using all the resources of the area to live, leaving their mark in beautiful pictographs, in rock outcrops, boulders, rock shelters and water sources. In the 1580s, the Spanish conquistadors and priests came through here on their mission to colonize and conquer the Puebloan villages in the present day region of New Mexico. The park has two wonderful hiking trails, and another being built so that one day it will encompass a 100 mile system. Rock climbing has grown in the nation and this is one of the best areas around to do that. There are some primitive camping sites in the Tom Mays unit, and five RV sites.

January 11, 2011