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There’s Gold in them thar hills!
January 24, 1848 Gold is discovered at Sutter’s Mill in California and the rush is on. People with “Gold Fever” from around the world head to California’s Mother Lode and have to pass right through El Paso on their way.
El Paso, known as Franklin then, was the midpoint and the southern most snow free route through the Rocky Mountains and offered gold seekers year round passage to California.
They came at first in a few pack trains, and then a large wave of gold seekers. Franklin was just a sleepy little border town and the supplies were low initially and then was overrun with as many as 4,000 travelers in 1500 wagons perched at the edge of the Rio Grande.
But, some very savvy business people saw a “Bonanza” that could be made right here from the gold seekers. Businesses started to spring up in Franklin. The following year Ft. Bliss was established and there was no turning back and soon Franklin grew into El Paso!
More El Paso History Moments next time, El Paso History Moments. I’m Melissa Sargent for the El Paso County Historical Commission.