Concordia Cemetery in central El Paso doesn’t look like much at first sight. The disparate collection of headstones, crosses, and mausoleums stakes out a 52-acre expanse of dusty desert in the shadows of residential neighborhoods, a carpet wholesale warehouse, and Interstate 10.
Nevena Christi points to a label painted on a brick wall inside the El Paso workshop of Rocketbuster Handmade Custom Boots. “Wildcat,” it says. Elsewhere in the 1900 warehouse, similar labels mark sections for ocelots, badgers, and rats. “The building was a trappers’ warehouse,” Nevena explains. “The names of animals are written all over the walls, so the building has always had a history in leather, let’s put it that way.”
We Texans love to celebrate our heritage in creative ways, and we go so far as to designate special routes that commemorate important events in our state’s past. Among them, the Independence Trail follows our struggle to statehood, leading us from the Brazos River bottomlands to the Alamo in San Antonio, and the Forts Trail traces historic settlements on the edge of the Texas frontier. Our trails also celebrate the progress of early influential personalities like Comanche Chief Quanah Parker and statesman Sam Houston, who—along with other notable figures including lawmen, pioneer women, Buffalo Soldiers, and vaqueros—deserve recognition for their unique contributions to Texas and what it is, as well as what it represents, today.
El Pasoans celebrate their famous native son every October with a month of art, literature, and history events.