El Paso, Texas
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El Paso Business Signs
The far West Texas city of El Paso, which borders the modern day nation of Mexico, was first established around the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission of El Paso del Norte. This mission was built in 1659 by Fray Garcia de San Francisco. El Paso means ‘the pass’ in Spanish. The city was officially founded in 1680 and then incorporated in 1873.
According to a July 1st, 2013 estimate by the U.S. Census, El Paso has a population of 674,433. This makes it the 19th most populous city in the United States. El Paso’s U.S. metropolitan area has a population of 831,036 people. However, El Paso stands on the Rio Grande right beside the border from the Mexican city of Juarez, Chihuahua. El Paso, Juarez, and a third city, Las Cruces, form a combined international metropolitan area. This is sometimes referred to as Paso del Norte or El Paso-Juarez-Las Cruces and has an estimated population of over 2.7 million people. This region is also the largest bilingual, binational work force in the Western Hemisphere, according to the New York Times.
The El Paso metropolitan area had a GDP of $29 billion in 2011 and $92 billion worth of trade in 2012. The city has become one of the centers of the American based call center industry. RITA claims El Paso is one of the busiest international crossing points in the country, second only to San Diego.
El Paso serves as the headquarters for one Fortune 500 company, Western Refining and three other publicly traded companies: Helen of Troy Limited, (a manufacturer of personal health care products under numerous labels such as OXO, Dr. Scholl’s, Vidal Sassoon, Pert Plus, Brut, and Sunbeam) El Paso Electric, and Western Refining Logistics.
El Paso is also a center of American military activity, as the home of Fort Bliss, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and Biggs Army Field. As recorded by the El Paso Times, the military employs over 37,000 people in the city, with a $6 billion annual impact to the local economy.
El Paso is also the site of Amigo Airsho, which is ranked as one of the top ten air shows in the nation. It is held at the Dona Ana Airport. The city also hosts Fiesta de las Flores, the oldest Hispanic Festival in the Southwest. The Fiesta de las Flores celebrates El Paso’s Hispanic heritage and culture and attracts 20,000 to 30,000 visitors to the area.
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) was founded in 1914 as The Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy. In the fall of 2014, enrollment at UTEP was 23,079 students (19,817 undergraduates and 3,462 graduates). In a 2012 Howard report, UTEP was established as the largest university in the country with a majority Mexican-American student population (at 70%).
The city of El Paso doesn’t have any major professional sports teams. However, the men’s basketball team at UTEP plays in the NCAA Division I, and won a national championship in 1966. Today, they play their home games at the Don Haskins Center.
El Paso’s most famous and prestigious sporting event, though, has to be the Sun Bowl. This annual college football game, along with the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl are the second-oldest bowl games in the country, after the Rose Bowl. The Sun Bowl began in 1935 and is played at Sun Bowl Stadium. It is now referred to as the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
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El Paso, TX