“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
El Paso in El Paso County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)


Smeltertown Marker - (English) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Kirchner, November 4, 2010
1. Smeltertown Marker - (English)
Inscription.  The Kansas City Consolidated Smelting and Refining Company came to El Paso in the late 19th century, creating a mining and smelting center for the Southwest. In 1899, the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) bought the operation and refined lead, copper and other ores. The need for a large labor pool brought in thousands of Mexican immigrants; these workers established homes for their families on company land around the smelter and developed a dynamic community called Smeltertown, or La Esmelda.

Smeltertown grew into a small city within a city and was home to ASARCO brick and cement plants, and a limestone quarry. The settlement was divided into upper and lower Smeltertown, or El Alto and El Bajo, and within these areas were smaller barrios. The only one remaining today is La Calavera, or Skull Canyon, laid out along the road to the Smeltertown Cemetery. Smeltertown was home to its own Y.M.C.A. branch and schools, most notably E.B. Jones School. Throughout the area, residents established organizations, stores, restaurants and other businesses, and named streets after residents who died in military
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Click or scan to see
this page online
service during World War II. The San José del Rio (San José de Cristo Rey Catholic Church) served the residents as a place for worship and social and community activity. Parishioners undertook regular pilgrimages to the top of Cerro de Muleros, now known as Mount Cristo Rey, and initiated creation of the Cristo Rey Monument, erected in 1940.

In the early 1970s, after environmental officials found high levels of lead contamination in the soil, community buildings were razed and families were relocated. Today, an annual reunion brings former residents together to remember the once vibrant and bustling Smeltertown.

Smeltertown (La Esmelda)
La Fundadora y Refinería Consolidada Kansas City estableció un centro de minería y fundición en 1887. En 1899, ASARCO compró las operaciones para luego fundir plomo, cobre y otros minerales. Para poder cubrir las grandes necesidades de mano de obra, llegaron miles de inmigrantes Mexicanos. Los obreros establecieron hogares en los propios terrenos de la compañía, desarrollando una comunidad dinámica llamada La Esmelda.

La Esmelda creció en una pequeña ciudad dentro de la ciudad grande. El asentimiento se vio dividido en las áreas de La Esmelda Alta y Baja, dentro de las cuales se ubicaban los barrios. El único que existe hoy día es el barrio “La Calavera.” La Esmelda contaba
Smeltertown Marker - (Spanish) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Kirchner, November 4, 2010
2. Smeltertown Marker - (Spanish)
con su propio centro YMCA así como escuelas, la más notable siendo la escuela E.B. Jones. Los residentes establecieron organizaciones, restaurantes, tiendas, así como otros negocios, designando las calles con nombres de aquellos residentes que habían dado su vida en el servicio militar durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. La iglesia Católica San José del Río fue no solo el lugar espiritual sino también un centro social y comunitario. Los feligreses realizaban peregrinaciones regulares a la cima del cerro de Monte del Cristo Rey. Asimismo iniciaron el establecimiento del Monumento Cristo del Rey, edificado en 1940.

A principios de la década de los 70, autoridades ambientalistas encontraron altos niveles de contaminación de plomo en el suelo. Las instalaciones comunitarias fueron demolidas y las familias trasladadas. Actualmente, se reúnen anualmente los antiguos residentes con el fin de recordar La Esmelda que en su tiempo fue una comunidad llena de vitalidad y energía.
Erected 2004 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 13137.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1899.
Location. 31° 47.174′ N, 106° 31.6′ W. Marker is in El Paso, Texas, in El Paso County. Marker is on Ewald Kipp WayMarker
The El Paso Smelter Works is Seen in the Background image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Kirchner, November 4, 2010
3. The El Paso Smelter Works is Seen in the Background
Smeltertown Marker (English) is on far left. Smeltertown Marker (Spanish) is in the center and Madero Camp Marker is on the right.
, on the right when traveling south. Marker is about 500 feet southwest of the intersection of Executive Center Boulevard and West Paisano Drive (US-85). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: El Paso TX 79922, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Madero Camp (here, next to this marker); El Paso Del Rio Del Norte (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line in New Mexico); International Boundary and Water Commission (approx. ¼ mile away in New Mexico); Fort Bliss Officers' Quarters (approx. 1.8 miles away); El Paso del Rio del Norte (approx. 2 miles away); The Camino Real (approx. 2 miles away); Major Simeon Hart (approx. 2 miles away); Capt. James W. Magoffin (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in El Paso.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Additional keywords. Company Towns
Monument at the summit of Sierra de Cristo Rey image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Kirchner, October 21, 2012
4. Monument at the summit of Sierra de Cristo Rey
View is from West Paisano Drive and Executive Center Boulevard in El Paso.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 17, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 2,011 times since then and 213 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 17, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona.   4. submitted on October 28, 2012, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

Share this page.  
Share on Tumblr

CeraNet Cloud Computing sponsors the Historical Marker Database.
U.S. FTC REQUIRED NOTICE: This website earns income from qualified purchases you make on Thank you.
Paid Advertisements

Dec. 8, 2023