December 6, 2023

Food City

The Best Darn Food City Uou Can Get

Alligator, eagle and rabbits afforded 15 cents a day for breakfast

El Paso circa 1890. San Jacinto Plaza looking North. Photographer on top deck of the then new Federal Building, where Kress Department Store is now.

Editor’s note: During the 1950s, El Paso historian Cleofas Calleros wrote a regular column on the area’s early history. Here is the 15th article from that series.

April in Paris is beautiful, but then April in El Paso isn’t so bad, either. The March sandstorms have subsided, the trees begin to bud, the sun is warmer, pretty cotton frocks appear on the streets, the gentlemen lose their hearts, and the season is generally delightful.

However, the business of living goes on as usual. City Council continues to wrangle, the high cost of living becomes higher, international relations get worse instead of better, people nearly kill themselves in careless accidents, and the social whirl spins.

It will be so this April as it was in April of 1896.

The City Council had animal trouble. A sizeable menagerie in San Jacinto Plaza (consisting of one alligator, one eagle and “some” rabbits) presented feeding difficulties. The animals lacked food and care, there was no Humane Society as such functioning, the size of the rabbit families increased with alarming rapidity, and something had to be done.