Guide to MS367 El Paso City Records
Between 1900-1930, El Paso experienced tremendous enlargement in population and development. The city grew from 15,906 residents in 1900 to a peak of 102,421 in 1930; numbers later declined in the 30s and 40s, and would not again reach 1930 levels until the postwar boom of the 1950s. Refugees from the Mexican Revolution especially contributed to the rapid increase in population after 1910. From 1900 El Paso finally began to develop from a frontier town into a modern city with concomitant industry, commerce, and transportation, taking steps to clean up its wild-west reputation by enacting ordinances outlawing houses of gambling and prostitution in 1905. Other contributing factors to El Paso’s advancement during this period were its location as a gateway to Mexico, proximity to mining concerns in Mexico and the American Southwest, plentiful natural resources, and cheap Mexican labor. Completion of the Elephant Butte Dam in New Mexico assured a steady supply of water for agriculture, which allowed cotton to become the dominant local crop and set the stage for subsequent textile industry. Standard Oil, Texas, and Phelps Dodge established major oil refineries in El Paso, and the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) was a leading employer. The State School of Mines and Metallurgy opened its doors in 1914. From 1920-1933 Prohibition benefited the local economy by increasing tourist trade with drinking and gambling establishment across the border in Juarez.