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Anson Mills names El Paso


On this day in 1859, Anson Mills submitted a street map of a settlement at the far western tip of Texas called variously Ponce's Rancho, Franklin, and Smithsville. He called the little community El Paso, and the name stuck. The city's downtown is still practically as he platted it. Mills was born in Indiana in 1834. After flunking out of West Point, he rode the Butterfield Overland Mail stage to El Paso in 1858. He was appointed district surveyor and surveyed forts Quitman, Davis, Stockton, and Bliss. He also built the Overland Building, for three decades the city's largest structure, and the Mills Building, which remains a major El Paso landmark. Mills is best remembered, however, as the boundary commissioner who refused to accept the 1911 arbitration agreement that gave the disputed Chamizal tract to Mexico. He died in 1924.

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