Kern Place

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Kern Place
Location in the state of Texas
Location in the state of Texas
Coordinates: 31°46′59″N 106°29′56″W / 31.783°N 106.499°W / 31.783; -106.499Coordinates: 31°46′59″N 106°29′56″W / 31.783°N 106.499°W / 31.783; -106.499
CountryUnited States
CountyEl Paso County
CityEl Paso
3,600 ft (1,100 m)
Time zoneUTC-6 (MDT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-6 (CDT)
Madeline Park in Kern Place, 2017.

Kern Place is a historic neighborhood on the West side of El Paso, Texas. The neighborhood lies just east of the University of Texas at El Paso, and north of downtown. Kern is part of District 1 in the City of El Paso and currently represented by Peter Svarzbein.[1] The neighborhood was created by Peter E. Kern, and once had an unusual gate marking the entrance. Madeline Park in the center of the neighborhood is named after Kern's daughter. Businesses and a small entertainment district border the eclectic housing featured in the neighborhood.


Land division where Kern Place was eventually built.

Kern Place was founded by Peter E. Kern (1860-1937),[2] for whom the neighborhood was named. Kern first came to El Paso in 1881.[3] In 1886, he purchased large amounts of land from Juan and Guadalupe Ascarate and the largest of his purchases, the McKelligon tract, became Kern Place subdivision.[4]

In 1913, a paved road was created on Mesa Avenue and leading to the area known as Kern Place.[5] Kern had an engineer, W.I. Rider, help him develop plans for the neighborhood.[6] Construction began on November 21, 1914.[7] A 1914 ad in the El Paso Herald described horse trails, planned parks, homes for sale under $3,500 and access to public transportation.[8] Kern named the streets after friends and for places he "admired."[9] Kern also did not want commercial properties on his land.[9] Kern borrowed the money to develop the property from Texas Bank & Trust which later merged with First National Bank.[10] In 1915, Kern had 500 trees planted in Madeline Park,[11] located in Kern Place, which he gave to the city of El Paso later that same year.[12] On May 4, 1926, Kern sold the land that made up Kern place.[13][14]

In 1959, Clinton and Hal Dean Jr. bought Kern Place property and build the Kern Village Shopping Center.[15]

In the 1970s, Kern Place was used strategically to demonstrate that there was a problem with lead contamination and the nearby ASARCO plant in El Paso.[16] Investigators chose to show that wealthy children from the Kern Place area also had high levels of lead in their blood in order to combat the assertion that only poor, uneducated El Pasoans were being affected by the problem.[17]

In 2001, a report was published by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) documenting high levels of arsenic and lead in the soil in areas around Kern Place.[18] Any community within 3 miles of the ASARCO plant found high levels of lead.[19] Students who had gone to school in the area showed greater than average rates of developing multiple sclerosis (MS).[20] Individuals in the neighborhood dealt with the health issue by washing hands more often after playing in nearby parks.[20] Fourteen cases of MS were positively linked to the area around Kern Place and Mission Hills in a 1994 study.[21]

The Kern Place Gate[edit]

Building the Kern Place Gate, erected in 1916.

In 1916, Kern constructed a gate that formed an archway to the entrance of the neighborhood[3] at the intersection of North Kansas Street and Robinson.[2] The gate was made of iron and stone and cost $2,500.[22] Kern found decedents of the Toltec and hired them to help build the gate.[23]

Gate erected outside of the Kern Place neighborhood in 1916.

The iron gate contained swastikas, the Kern family crest and 444 electric light globes that illuminated the words "Kern Place" over the center of the gate.[2] It also had a Zondias calendar, totem poles from Alaska, and spelled out "Kern Place."[23] The symbolism of the gatewas meant to express ideas about "the brotherhood of man, light, life, health and wealth," according to the El Paso Herald-Post.[2]

Kern wanted the gate to remain forever as "a monument and his legacy to the generation here and who will come after them."[2] Pieces of the gate were taken over time by vandals, leaving only the pillars of stone.[23] Eventually, the entire gate was dismantled in 1954 during a street-widening project.[3]

A new gate has been proposed in 2017 as part of the Sun City Lights Project.[24] The proposed gate is meant to reference the old Kern Place Gate and will be located on Cincinnati Street.[25]


Kern Place Addition Map

Kern place is bordered by Mesa Street, Boston/Rebonson, Piedmont and Mesita.[6]

The homes of Kern Place are unique in architecture and some were built by residents themselves.[6] One of the better known homes is the Paul Luckett Home located at 1201 Cincinnati Ave. above Madeline Park, and is made of local rock. It is known as "The Castle" due to its round walls and a crenelated rooftop.[6]

One of the buildings, the Hoover House, was deeded to the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in 1965 and serves as the residence of the president of UTEP.[6]

The Cincinnati Entertainment District is part of Kern Place, and includes bars, restaurants and other businesses.[26][27]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Our District 1 Representative". Kern Place Association. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Hamilton, Nancy (21 November 1974). "Papers, Photos Add to Kern Place Founder's History". El Paso Herald-Post. Retrieved 27 April 2017 – via
  3. ^ a b c Murphy 2009, p. 22.
  4. ^ "Old-time Pioneer, Peter Kern, Founded Kern Place". El Paso Herald-Post. 5 July 1976. Retrieved 27 April 2017 – via
  5. ^ "Mesa Loop for El Paso Automobilists". El Paso Herald. 6 September 1913. Retrieved 29 April 2017 – via
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Magruder, Alicia; Dickey, Gretchen (2004). "Kern Place Neighborhood: The Man Behind a Name". Borderlands. 23.
  7. ^ Metz 1993, p. 174.
  8. ^ "'Kern Place'". El Paso Herald. 10 January 1914. Retrieved 29 April 2017 – via
  9. ^ a b "New Housing Booms Business in Kern Shopping Center". El Paso Herald-Post. 8 October 1959. Retrieved 29 April 2017 – via
  10. ^ "Kern Place Lien Of First National Upheld by Referee". El Paso Herald. 5 October 1925. Retrieved 29 April 2017 – via
  11. ^ "Many Homes for Kern Place; $100,000 Worth of Buildings". El Paso Herald. 17 April 1915. Retrieved 1 May 2017 – via
  12. ^ "Madeline Park Given to City". El Paso Herald. 10 June 1915. Retrieved 29 April 2017 – via
  13. ^ "It Happened In Old El Paso". El Paso Herald-Post. 3 May 1976. Retrieved 29 April 2017 – via
  14. ^ Kern, P.E. (3 May 1926). "Pathetic But Kindly Farewell from P.E. Kern on Eve of Sale of Kern Place, a Beloved Dream". El Paso Herald. Retrieved 29 April 2017 – via
  15. ^ "Kern Village Shopping Center Owned and Developed by 2 Dean Brothers". El Paso Herald-Post. 8 October 1959. Retrieved 29 April 2017 – via
  16. ^ Sullivan 2014, p. 62-63.
  17. ^ Sullivan 2014, p. 63.
  18. ^ El Paso Historical Soil Sample Health Consultation (PDF). Texas Department of Health. 2001.
  19. ^ Perales 2010, p. 252.
  20. ^ a b Rutigliano, Lou (15 October 2001). "Kern Place Unfazed by Soil, Disease Risks". El Paso Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017 – via Multiple
  21. ^ Garcia, Kimberly (2013-01-25). "Support for persons with Multiple Sclerosis exists in El Paso despite a lack of awareness". Borderzine. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
  22. ^ "$250,000 in 3 New Buildings; $150,000 Department Store". El Paso Herald. 8 January 1916. Retrieved 27 April 2017 – via
  23. ^ a b c Krausse, Monica (15 May 1989). "The Pete Kern Story: Rags to Riches to Rags to Riches to Rags". El Paso Times.
  24. ^ "City to Host Open House for Kern Place Lights Project". El Paso Herald-Post. 12 February 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
  25. ^ Guadian, Stephanie (2017-02-14). "Big changes on the way for El Paso's Cincinnati Street". KVIA. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
  26. ^ Gray, Robert (5 July 2016). "Cincinnati Street claws back losses". El Paso Inc. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
  27. ^ Gray, Robert (14 September 2015). "Vacancies trouble Cincinnati district". El Paso Inc. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
  28. ^ Davis, Mary Margaret (December 7, 1985). "English-manor aura surrounds home". El Paso Times. Retrieved November 19, 2018.


External links[edit]