Abandoned Terminal Redex

Several months back (July) I went to a weird site at 3670 Doniphan.

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There are a few scattered buildings and a single sign that displays “Terminal” at its top.


Terminal, that way

The few buildings at the back are the only remnants of industrial activity and they don’t match the age of the other foundation bits and pieces scattered around.  There are these weird blocks that seem to be marking some sort of station locations set next to train tracks that snake through the property.



The last time I was here the main “office” building had been locked up with entry accessible only through a hole in the wall. A side storage area was broken in to but not very interesting.

Open for business

Open for business

This time around the front door had been pried open and the second story graffiti was new, overlapping the older tagging.   Once inside I noticed something kind of weird, the walls had sections broken out in seemingly random spots.  I also noticed some exposed ceiling tiles and cut sections of pipe insulation on the floor and then it hit me… copper scavengers.

Plastic fantastic

Plastic fantastic!

A couple of fake plants and a desk was all that had been left behind. The drawers had been rifled through, though I wager there wasn’t anything to begin with. After walking back out I headed over to the electric station were it was obvious that nothing is going to be going on here for a while.


All Off

At about this time a white Jeep Liberty with a flatbed trailer drove up behind the building.  I continued to take pictures, waiting for some sort of acknowledgement for the driver.  Eventually I got a nervous “¿Qué Pasa?” from the driver who was holding some very large bolt cutters.  I approached him with a “Hey what’s up?” trying to explain that I was taking pictures because well you know… abandoned stuff is cool.  Confused, he clearly had no idea what I was taking about and asked if I understood Spanish. I went with “No” to make things nice and simple and continued take pictures but not of him fearing I would spook him further. There wasn’t much was left around to look at except for this nice canister:



I headed out leaving the scavenger behind, I guess there was still some copper to be had that he wanted. Recycling is all the rage right now, so I guess he can be considered to be doing his part for the environment??? The full Flicker set can be viewed here: Abandoned Terminal Pt. 2, for comparison here’s part 1: Abandoned Terminal. My very first view of the site from next door with my Holga can be viewed here: 2008 Graffiti

Chalk the Block ’11

This weekend downtown El Paso held the 4th annual Chalk the Block event.  The organizers bring together artists, artist teams and other performers for a free event that turns the sidewalks around the plaza and museum into temporary art installations.  With the recent removal of the fences around San Jacinto Plaza the downtown park makes for a great place for artists to create chalk and pastel works on the concrete.

Big Red Heart
Big Red Heart

We arrived early Saturday morning so many of the artists were still working on their pieces. There was still a bunch of other things to see as we wandered around. Poetic Kinetics was on hand displaying one of their Holding Flame sculptures:

Poetic Kinetics
Holding Flame

Jack was mesmerized by it but Shaun was a little afraid.  The flame visuals created by the burner at the top really can hypnotize you.  The heat kicked by the flames keeps you mindful of the danger overhead but the distance keeps you safe. Fiat of El Paso was also using this a showcase event for their just launched 500, with artists creating works around and on the spry little hatch.

Fiat 500

Fiat 500 Art Car

There was a large selection of food trucks on hand hawking all sorts of nacho-churro-relleno-on-a-stick concoctions. We opted for a stop at Kipps Cheesesteaks for their awesome hot sandwiches.

Eat at Kipps!
Eat at Kipps!

I guess no outdoor event is complete without some sort of protests.  The Occupy Wallstreet protests that are currently sweeping the globe have even spawned a local group who were standing out in front of the Cortez Building.  They had wanted the center of the Plaza but were supplanted by the arts this weekend. Go Arts!

Occupy Mesa Street?

Occupy Mesa Street?

Main street had been turned into an informal gallery space with several booths set up and artists displaying their wares. Local El Paso artists David “Grave” Herrera  and Mitsu Overstreet of “Border Youth” were on hand laying down some paint on a Sun Metro bus:

Grave's Border Youth
Grave’s Border Youth

The kids were about done at this point and we had seen everything that was worth checking out.  This years event was well organized and looks to be something that will continue and only get better.  My full Flickr set can be viewed here: Chalk the Block

Elizabeth and Chapel Cemeteries

Last week when I was in the Dallas/ Fort Worth metropolitan area I had the chance to do some urban exploring with a local friend. Virginia had a 2 day conference to attend and we were staying up by the Texas Motor Speedway.  Using Google maps, I spotted two little cemeteries that were really close to our hotel. On the last full day there, I again headed out with a friend to see what was to see:

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Elizabeth Cemetery

Our first stop was Elizabeth Cemetery.  It’s all that remains of Elizabethtown because like many small towns, once the railroad passes you, its time to turn out the light.  While nothing may be left of the village the cemetery is still quite active with burials as of this year.

Elizabeth Cemetery

Smile for the Camera!

The cemetery is well maintained and under the watchful eye of a remote security camera. The march of progress has put a modern neighborhood right behind it but one can imagine that this was once out all by itself.  One of the more notable features was the presence of these interesting seals on some of the gravestones:

Republic of Texas

Rick Perry would be proud

We walked around were kind of amazed at the range of dates buried there.  Infant mortality was pretty high in the 1800’s and it shows here.  As artists who had to suffer through some graphic design classes we noted one amusing example of the importance of laying out your text before committing to the final design:


Bloom in he-aven

You almost have to read it in a Chandler Bing voice.  Even though suburbia encroaches nearby, this area is still very much ranch or farm land.  Down the road is well house with the remains of a windmill.

Windmill Tree

Windmill Tree

Windmill Tree

This plot of land is a cow pasture and probably has been since it was first homesteaded.  The skeleton of the windmill is completely dwarfed by the tree.  Upon closer inspection you can see that in this instance nature is triumphing over industry:

Grow baby, grow!

Grow baby, grow!

The tree has completely engulfed one of the legs of the windmill.  No worries though, the windmill most likely hasn’t been used since power lines were pulled to the well house some time in the 20’s.  Continuing on down the dirt roads toward Chapel Cemetery, we passed the remains of a house.

Burned Out House

The roof, the roof, the roof was on fire.

Burned Down House

The fire here looked like it burned with some serious intensity.  All that remained was the firebrick from the chimney and metal scraps.  The rest was ash.  In locating this site on Google maps their satellite map shows it burned down but the 3/4 view yields this:

It shows only the back garage as being burned out.  From this image the house looks well maintained so one can only wonder what circumstances lead to the structure fire. Continuing on down old Denton road and passing an orchard we stopped at Chapel Cemetery.

Chapel Cemetery

Chapel Cemetery

Chapel Cemetery

Chapel Cemetery was smaller than Elizabeth.  It didn’t have the fancy gated entrance or camera setup but was well maintained.  The nearby orchard and other industrial activity may have kept vandalism down. Chapel seems to be dominated by a couple of  families, Francisco and Raibourn.  The Raibourn plots were pretty extensive but right in the middle was this one spelling oddity:


I’m Reyborn, not Raibourn

Did Mitchell want to be different? Was he randomly inserted here? Simple coincidence?  My money in on the “Lazy Stone Mason” from Elizabethtown who likes to hy-phen words, misunderstanding which Rayburn he needed to use. The last two prominent features here were these odd tree looking gravestones:

Woodmen of the World

Woodmen of the World

They carry a “Woodmen of the Word” seal which I hadn’t noticed before in any of the other cemetery hops I’ve done.  A quick Google search turns up that the Woodmen were a fraternal benefit society which has grown into a financial services organization.  I would have never known.  I’m so glad Al Gore invented the internet.

In all it took us about an hour and half to see the 4 stops on the map and made for a nice mourning  morning trip.  The full Flickr set can be viewed here:  Elizabeth and Chapel Cemetery