San Elizario is a city in El Paso County, Texas, United States. The population was 13,603 at the 2010 census. It is part of the El Paso Metropolitan Statistical Area. It lies on the Rio Grande, which forms the border between theUnited States and Mexico. The city of Socorro adjoins it on the west and the town of Clint lies to the north.
San Elizario was established sometime before 1760 as the civilian settlement of Hacienda de los Tiburcios, where in 1789, the Spaniards established a fort called Presidio de San Elizario. The town that grew up around it took the name San Elizario, which is a corruption of San Elceario (Spanish for Saint Elzear); Saint Elzéar of Sabran is the Roman Catholic patron saint of soldiers. San Elizario was El Paso County's original county seat. It was incorporated several times between 1871 and 1911, with another unsuccessful attempt at incorporation made in 1986. On November 5, 2013, San Elizario residents voted to re-incorporate the town, having successfully fought off an attempt by Socorro to annex a portion of it, and San Elizario was officially incorporated when El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar signed an order of incorporation on November 18, 2013.
On May 10, 2014, Maya Sanchez, who led the push to incorporate San Elizario, was elected mayor by a wide margin over two other candidates, while Leticia Hurtado-Miranda, David Cantu, Miguel Najera, Jr., Rebecca Martinez-Juarez, and George Almanzar were elected to the five city council seats.
Location of San Elizario, Texas
|Coordinates: 31°34′58″N 106°15′57″W|
San Elizario is located at (31.582873, -106.265703), right next to the river.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 10.3 square miles (26.7 km2), of which 10.3 square miles (26.6 km2) is land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.40%, is covered by water.
San Elizario is served by the San Elizario Independent School District.
In 1598, Don Juan de Oñate, a Spanish nobleman and conquistador born in Zacatecas, Mexico, led a group of 539 colonists and 7,000 head of livestock (including horses, oxen, and cattle) from southern Chihuahua to settle the province of New Mexico. The caravan traveled a northeasterly route for weeks across the desert until it reached the banks of the Rio Grande in the San Elizario area. The thirsty travelers drank the cool water and then celebrated with a Thanksgiving Mass and enjoyed a feast of fish, fowl, and deer on April 30, 1598. This is considered to be the "First Thanksgiving" celebrated in the present-day United States. Oñate performed the ceremony of La Toma ("Taking Possession"), in which he claimed the new province for King Philip II of Spain.
San Elizario Chapel (La Capilla de San Elcear) was never a mission, but it functioned as a presidio chapel. It provided the religious needs of a presidio or outpost of military personnel. The presidio was moved to the present site in 1789, to protect travelers and settlers along the Camino Real (Royal Highway) which ran fromMexico City through Ciudad Juárez, then called "Paso del Norte", to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its close proximity to the Ysleta and Socorro missions also provided protection for them.
When Mexico became independent from Spain in 1821, the military presence at the presidio decreased. By 1848, the presidio had fallen into ruins. Rebuilding efforts began in 1853, with a small church. This proved inadequate, and the present structure was completed in 1882. The exterior appearance has changed very little since then.
The wedding scene for the movie Fandango (1985) was filmed in the plaza of the San Elizario church.
In 1877, a conflict, the Salt War, broke out between the town and a troop of Texas Rangers. The Rangers surrendered, but the state removed the county seat from San Elizario to El Paso, and the railroad was not built through the town.