State board approves Segundo Barrio Historic District application

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Texas Historical Commission State Board of Review voted Saturday to establish the Segundo Barrio National Register Historic District.

The nomination will now be forwarded to the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., for final approval to be included on the National Register of Historic Places. If approved, the historic district — which includes 686 historic buildings — could be established before the end of 2021.

The designation would provide property owners an opportunity to utilize state and federal tax credits, as well as protect the cultural history of the area.

Sacred Heart Parish, in particular, will benefit from such a designation, said Sacred Heart Pastor Father Raphael Garcia. Sacred Heart Parish is the only building in the district that is already on the National Register of Historic Places.

“I’m also interested in the fact that there are 600 buildings that will qualify for tax credits for rehabilitating the buildings,” Garcia told the board. “We have a project to rehabilitate our church, and the two adjacent buildings … and so the tax credits would be important for us to even do this project.”

County Commissioner David Stout was joined by Garcia, local educator Cynthia Renteria, historian Max Grossman and Sito Negron, president of the in speaking in support of the nomination.

During a presentation of the Segundo Barrio application, THC coordinator Greg Smith said the commission received a letter of support from Mayor Oscar Leeser, however, the commission did not receive any letters of opposition.

Earlier this year, the THC’s State Review Board approved the county’s first application for a historic district in Downtown El Paso. The proposal included nearly 300 properties with historical significance but received last-minute pushback from property owners.

Known as “the other Ellis Island,” Segundo Barrio was one of the main ports of entry from Mexico to the United States. Though one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country, its historical significance includes being home to those fleeing the Mexican Revolution.

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