HISTORY OF THE EL PASO ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Sunshine, silence, and adobe ~~ that is the Southwest. Four civilizations have wandered by at one time or another and still, sand and silence and the mesa winds are the most enduring dwellers. (Agnes Marquand Walsh 1950)
In 1540 the conquistadors, looking for gold and led by Coronado, sought the fabled Seven Cites of Cibola. The Santa Rita copper mines were discovered in the 1800ís by Lt. Colonel Carrasco. New Mexico became a territory, then a state, and Texas, after four flags, became one of the then forty-eight states in 1845. Throughout this time, men and women settled the Southwest, some seeking better health, others on business ventures, and still others were inclined to go west and grow up with the country.
The El Paso Archaeological Society (EPAS) has been an integral part of the history of El Paso since it was formed on June 15, 1922 under the direction of Dr. Elliott C. Prentiss, a physician, Maude Sullivan and others. Throughout the years the Society has contributed many educational opportunities in the community. These include monthly speakers, field trips, and special classes when indicated, participating in Texas Archeology Month and surveys of prehistoric and historic sites in the area. Most importantly, since the 1950ís, the Society has published from one to four journals annually, many of which are surveys of the El Paso area. EPAS was the first Society granted permission by the state, to complete formal surveys of historic and prehistoric sites.
In 1973 Thomas Westfall was invited to attend a city meeting dealing with museums. At that time Tom was president of the El Paso Archaeological Society and Fred Hervey was mayor of El Paso. The meeting was held in May and was attended by various representatives of various historical and cultural groups, who might be interested in establishing museums. Mayor Hervey wanted to build at least two museums and provided $150,000 toward that goal from the Hervey Foundation.
One museum was to be the History Museum, the second an anthropological museum; the theme of which was to be the survival of man, plant and animal in a hostile environment.
El Paso Archaeological Society