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MXUS and NMTX, report and photos, Part 1

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  • Lowell G. McManus
    I ve been slow to post this, but I want to give you a report on a trip that I made in late August to the El Paso area on the Mexico/USA international and New
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 1, 2011
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      I've been slow to post this, but I want to give you a report on a trip that I made in late August to the El Paso area on the Mexico/USA international and New Mexico/Texas interstate boundaries.  The report will be in three parts.  This is Part 1.
       
      The main purpose of my trip was to collect the last ten Texas counties.  I have now been to all 254 of them!
       
      Other important purposes of the trip were to visit and photograph some interesting locations along the MXUS and NMTX boundaries in the El Paso area.
       
      El Paso, Texas, and its much more populous Mexican neighbor Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, occupy a flat pass where the Rio Grande cuts through a north-south mountain range.  Consequently, many east-west transportation routes funnel through the same pass, and the two cities are an important gateway for north-south commerce between the two nations.
       
      All three photos in this Part 1 were taken from the same location:  an overlook on Scenic Drive, which loops around the south end of the Franklin Mountains in El Paso.
       
      At http://mexlist.com/bp/elpaso/downtown.jpg we look south, directly across the pass to the Juárez Mountains on the Mexican side.  The tall buildings are in downtown El Paso, and the upward-sloping land beyond is on the Mexican side of the small Rio Grande (which is called the "Río Bravo del Norte" by Mexicans).
       
      At http://mexlist.com/bp/elpaso/grande.jpg we look southeast, down the Rio Grande, into the early morning haze.  The highly channelized river enters the photo at center right, passes under the Bridge of the Americas at center, then zigzags off toward the upper left.  This particular 12-lane bridge is owned by the International Boundary and Water Commission/Comisión Internacional de Limites y Aguas.  The grassy area between the levees under it is the river bed.  The narrow channel of water to the left is the parallel American Canal, which supplies irrigation to agricultural land below the city.  The green area of trees just this side of the bridge is the Chamizal National Memorial ( http://www.nps.gov/cham/index.htm ), a cultural park for the arts.  This park, the large campus of Bowie High School to the right of it, and the port of entry facilities at the American end of the bridge to the left of it occupy what was Mexican territory isolated north of the river until the boundary was rectified in the Chamizal Convention of the 1960s.  That's a complex topic that can be explored at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamizal_dispute .
       
      At http://mexlist.com/bp/elpaso/asarco.jpg we look west from the same location as the two photos above.  In the center background is the Sierra de Cristo Rey, with a crucifix statue on its summit.  It is across the Rio Grande in the American state of New Mexico.  The river flows from right to left, under the two black railroad bridges visible at the base of the mountain.  They cross from Texas to New Mexico.  The concrete smokestack to the left is 826 feet tall.  It is the most prominent feature of the former "Smeltertown" complex of ASARCO (originally the American Smelting and Refining Company), a bankrupt American subsidiary of the non-ferrous metals conglomerate Grupo México.  The former copper smelter is on the Texas bank of the Rio Grande, just below the intersection of the dry MXUS boundary line running westward.  The complex is nearing the end of its demolition.  Just to the right of the tall stack is a dark 300-foot steel stack.  It was demolished on September 20.  The 826-foot concrete stack and another 600-foot concrete stack just out of this photo to the left will be laid down with dynamite on one day in early 2012.  The white speck on the horizon half way between the tall stack and the crucifix statue is Monument Number 2 on the dry MXUS boundary running westward.  It separates New Mexico from the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
       
      In Part 3, we will visit MXUS Monument Number 1 at the Rio Grande.  Meanwhile (probably tomorrow), we will visit the NMTX boundary in Part 2.
       
      Lowell G. McManus
      Eagle Pass, Texas, USA
    • Bill Baron
      Lowell – For me, one of the most interesting features of the Chamizal treaty was that it erased the only border crossing between Texas and Mexico located on
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 1, 2011
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        Lowell – For me, one of the most interesting features of the Chamizal treaty was that it erased the only border crossing between Texas and Mexico located on dry land.  It only existed for 8 years, and its location is now Mexican territory.  Also, the old US Border Patrol detention facility would later be a Mexican jail.  It was an amazing discovery for me to find out that the US border had been changed during my lifetime.

         

        -          Bill Baron

         

        From: borderpoint@yahoogroups.com [mailto:borderpoint@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Lowell G. McManus
        Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2011 11:46 PM
        To: BorderPoint
        Subject: [borderpoint] MXUS and NMTX, report and photos, Part 1

         

         

        I've been slow to post this, but I want to give you a report on a trip that I made in late August to the El Paso area on the Mexico/USA international and New Mexico/Texas interstate boundaries.  The report will be in three parts.  This is Part 1.

         

        The main purpose of my trip was to collect the last ten Texas counties.  I have now been to all 254 of them!

         

        Other important purposes of the trip were to visit and photograph some interesting locations along the MXUS and NMTX boundaries in the El Paso area.

         

        El Paso, Texas, and its much more populous Mexican neighbor Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, occupy a flat pass where the Rio Grande cuts through a north-south mountain range.  Consequently, many east-west transportation routes funnel through the same pass, and the two cities are an important gateway for north-south commerce between the two nations.

         

        All three photos in this Part 1 were taken from the same location:  an overlook on Scenic Drive, which loops around the south end of the Franklin Mountains in El Paso.

         

        At http://mexlist.com/bp/elpaso/downtown.jpg we look south, directly across the pass to the Juárez Mountains on the Mexican side.  The tall buildings are in downtown El Paso, and the upward-sloping land beyond is on the Mexican side of the small Rio Grande (which is called the "Río Bravo del Norte" by Mexicans).

         

        At http://mexlist.com/bp/elpaso/grande.jpg we look southeast, down the Rio Grande, into the early morning haze.  The highly channelized river enters the photo at center right, passes under the Bridge of the Americas at center, then zigzags off toward the upper left.  This particular 12-lane bridge is owned by the International Boundary and Water Commission/Comisión Internacional de Limites y Aguas.  The grassy area between the levees under it is the river bed.  The narrow channel of water to the left is the parallel American Canal, which supplies irrigation to agricultural land below the city.  The green area of trees just this side of the bridge is the Chamizal National Memorial ( http://www.nps.gov/cham/index.htm ), a cultural park for the arts.  This park, the large campus of Bowie High School to the right of it, and the port of entry facilities at the American end of the bridge to the left of it occupy what was Mexican territory isolated north of the river until the boundary was rectified in the Chamizal Convention of the 1960s.  That's a complex topic that can be explored at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamizal_dispute .

         

        At http://mexlist.com/bp/elpaso/asarco.jpg we look west from the same location as the two photos above.  In the center background is the Sierra de Cristo Rey, with a crucifix statue on its summit.  It is across the Rio Grande in the American state of New Mexico.  The river flows from right to left, under the two black railroad bridges visible at the base of the mountain.  They cross from Texas to New Mexico.  The concrete smokestack to the left is 826 feet tall.  It is the most prominent feature of the former "Smeltertown" complex of ASARCO (originally the American Smelting and Refining Company), a bankrupt American subsidiary of the non-ferrous metals conglomerate Grupo México.  The former copper smelter is on the Texas bank of the Rio Grande, just below the intersection of the dry MXUS boundary line running westward.  The complex is nearing the end of its demolition.  Just to the right of the tall stack is a dark 300-foot steel stack.  It was demolished on September 20.  The 826-foot concrete stack and another 600-foot concrete stack just out of this photo to the left will be laid down with dynamite on one day in early 2012.  The white speck on the horizon half way between the tall stack and the crucifix statue is Monument Number 2 on the dry MXUS boundary running westward.  It separates New Mexico from the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

         

        In Part 3, we will visit MXUS Monument Number 1 at the Rio Grande.  Meanwhile (probably tomorrow), we will visit the NMTX boundary in Part 2.

         

        Lowell G. McManus
        Eagle Pass, Texas, USA

      • Kevin Meynell
        ... A pretty good effort, but has anyone ever managed to visit every county/parish/borough in the US? Wikipedia lists a total of 3,141 which would be a huge
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 2, 2011
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          > The main purpose of my trip was to collect the last ten Texas
          > counties. I have now been to all 254 of them!

          A pretty good effort, but has anyone ever managed to visit every
          county/parish/borough in the US? Wikipedia lists a total of 3,141 which
          would be a huge undertaking, but I'd think an easier task than visiting
          every country/territory in the world which a few have done.

          You're lucky that the goalposts don't keep moving in the US though. At
          one point, I had been to every county in Great Britain (historical and
          administrative), but there have now been so many re-organisations and
          introduction of questionable titles, that it's very difficult to keep
          track :-(

          Regards,

          Kevin Meynell
        • Lowell G. McManus
          ... county/parish/borough in the US? Wikipedia lists a total of 3,141 which would be a huge undertaking... The current total is 3,142. There are two members
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 2, 2011
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            Kevin asked:
             
            > ... has anyone ever managed to visit every
            county/parish/borough in the US? Wikipedia lists a total of 3,141 which
            would be a huge undertaking...
             
            The current total is 3,142.  There are two members of the County Counting web site at http://www.mob-rule.com/counties/ who have been to all of them.  They are Oscar Voss of Arlington, Virginia, and Kent Reinke of Valdez, Alaska.  There are probably a few others who have also done so.
             
            Lowell G. McManus
            Eagle Pass, Texas, USA
          • Goyta' F. Villela Jr.
            ... One that attracts my curiosity is Loving County, a vast dusty area near El Paso with a population of only 60 or so, and a county seat called Mentone with
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 2, 2011
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              > The main purpose of my trip was to collect the last ten Texas
              > counties. I have now been to all 254 of them!


              One that attracts my curiosity is Loving County, a vast dusty area near El Paso with a population of only 60 or so, and a county seat called Mentone with nothing to do with the charming near-homonymous French Riviera town... A county with that population (or lack thereof) is hardly viable and will get even less so, as the trend is for old residents to die and younger ones to leave. What are your impressions, Lowell?

              Brazil has no counties or equivalent administrative units, and there are only three administrative levels: the federal government, the states (as well as the more or less equivalent Federal District of Brasília), and municipalities, which cover the entire country. We avoid calling a municipality a "city", because in both legal and common usage the word is mostly reserved just for the urban area of the municipality's seat. According to Wikipedia, there are currently 5,565 municipalities in Brazil and I doubt that anyone has ever visited all of them - it would be a huge feat just to visit all in Minas Gerais, the state with the most of them (and incidentally, where I was born and raised): 853. Visiting all 27 states and the Federal District is much easier and has been accomplished by many, including, for example, all Presidents and presidential candidates with their aides.


              Regards,


              Goytá
            • Lowell G. McManus
              Since Goytá asked, I am reproducing below my report (with photos, etc.) on Loving County, Texas, as posted earlier to the Roadgeek group (which is about
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 2, 2011
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                Since Goytá asked, I am reproducing below my report (with photos, etc.) on Loving County, Texas, as posted earlier to the Roadgeek group (which is about highways).  The name of Mentone, the county seat, was given by a land surveyor from Menton, France.  In 1933, Loving County had an estimated  population of 600.  The census population of the county bottomed out at 50 in 1990 and has been growing since.  The 2010 census population of Mentone was 19.
                 

                 
                Here's the promised report on my visit to Loving County, Texas, which was named
                after the Texas rancher and cattle-drive entrepreneur Oliver Loving (1812-1867).

                I traversed Loving County from east to west via Texas Highway 302, a fine,
                two-lane highway with paved shoulders, and a speed limit of 75 MPH. The sign
                announcing the county line on the east was missing from its post, presumably
                stolen. Loving County is virtually level with shoulder-high brush. Here's how
                it looks on TxDOT's Official Travel Map: 
                http://mexlist.com/roads/loving/map.jpg .

                In the eastern part of the county, I noted one large home some distance off to
                the south. There was also a new water tower somewhere in the east. Other than
                that, there were only oil wells--plenty of them. Traffic on the highway was
                surprisingly heavy. Much of that was oil and brine tank trucks from the oil
                wells, but apparently the route is a fairly important connection between
                Midland/Odessa and southeastern New Mexico.

                As I approached Mentone (MEN-tone), the county seat and only community, I pulled
                over for a photo: http://mexlist.com/roads/loving/mentone.jpg . The photo
                shows the southern half of town. The northern half looks about the same, except
                that it lacks the county courthouse, seen in the center of this photo. Note the
                building under construction at the far right (more on which below). Taken from
                the same location was this photo of a brand-new water tower (just like the new
                one that I'd seen in the eastern part of the county): 
                http://mexlist.com/roads/loving/tower.jpg .

                Here's a satellite view of Mentone:
                http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=31.70697,-103.59911&z=17&t=H , and here's a map:
                http://mexlist.com/roads/loving/mentonemap.jpg . Note how FM 1933 loops
                (literally) through town. It turns off from Texas 302 on the northeast side of
                the courthouse square, goes three blocks northwest on Dallas Street, one block
                southwest on Wheat Street, and three blocks southeast on Pecos Street to its
                second junction with Texas 302 on the opposite side of the courthouse square
                from the first. TxDOT lists FM 1933's length as .449 mile.

                This is the attractive moderne-style courthouse, built in 1935 and alike on all
                four sides: http://mexlist.com/roads/loving/courthouse.jpg . I parked in its
                parking lot with about 20 other cars and pickups and went inside, out of the
                100° heat. All of the offices were modern and well-appointed, but they were
                also packed out. Several long tables were set up in the first-floor hallways to
                accommodate oil landmen whose work of researching land titles and mineral leases
                had overflowed from the County Clerk's office. (That explained the several
                Mississippi license plates in the parking lot, since the landman profession does
                tend to be centered in Mississippi.) I made my way past them and up the
                stairway. Most of the second floor was occupied by a nice courtroom that could
                probably seat the entire county population. Its doors were open as four or five
                of the courthouse ladies were finishing up a break at one of its tables. I told
                them that I was a tourist, and they invited me in and made me feel welcome. As
                the others went back to their respective offices and work, the County Auditor
                asked me where I was going and showed interest in my nearly-completed conquest
                of all 254 counties. Her office was also on the second floor, so I stood in her
                door and asked her a few questions about the county. She confirmed that its
                official 2010 census population was 82, but she said that the Sheriff keeps an
                accurate running total and knows that some people got missed. She thinks that
                his current count is 92. She is not one of them. She lives in neighboring
                Winkler County and commutes. The county has all of the statutory officials that
                any Texas county has, but there's only one Justice of the Peace, whose precinct
                encompasses the entire county. The office of Constable is currently vacant. I
                asked, and she said that the local politics can get pretty strong, because so
                many of the voters are related to the candidates.

                I asked her about the new building nearing completion across Collins Street from
                the courthouse square: http://mexlist.com/roads/loving/annex.jpg . The
                surprising answer was that it's a new courthouse annex. The Sheriff's office
                and the County Clerk's services to the landmen will move over there. She also
                said that the county will soon have all of its land records digitized and
                on-line, which should also help the landmen do their work. The new annex looks
                like it will at least double the floor space available for county governmental
                functions.

                Finally, at http://mexlist.com/roads/loving/truck.jpg is a shot of one of the
                two Sheriff's vehicles that had been in the courthouse parking lot. The other
                was also a light silver late-model extended-cab pickup, but it was a Ford. It
                was gone by the time I got around to photographing the Ram.

                If you're wondering how 92 citizens can support a county government that clearly
                does not go wanting for anything that's needed, the answer is simple: The 2009
                per-capita income (latest available from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
                in Loving County was $105,933, which is the highest in the USA. The reason is
                oil.

                Lowell G. McManus
                Eagle Pass, Texas, USA
                 
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2011 1:07 PM
                Subject: [borderpoint] Counties and cities

                > The main purpose of my trip was to collect the last ten Texas
                > counties. I have now been to all 254 of them!


                One that attracts my curiosity is Loving County, a vast dusty area near El Paso with a population of only 60 or so, and a county seat called Mentone with nothing to do with the charming near-homonymous French Riviera town... A county with that population (or lack thereof) is hardly viable and will get even less so, as the trend is for old residents to die and younger ones to leave. What are your impressions, Lowell?

                Brazil has no counties or equivalent administrative units, and there are only three administrative levels: the federal government, the states (as well as the more or less equivalent Federal District of Brasília), and municipalities, which cover the entire country. We avoid calling a municipality a "city", because in both legal and common usage the word is mostly reserved just for the urban area of the municipality's seat. According to Wikipedia, there are currently 5,565 municipalities in Brazil and I doubt that anyone has ever visited all of them - it would be a huge feat just to visit all in Minas Gerais, the state with the most of them (and incidentally, where I was born and raised): 853. Visiting all 27 states and the Federal District is much easier and has been accomplished by many, including, for example, all Presidents and presidential candidates with their aides.


                Regards,


                Goytá



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