A lot of the history of El Paso after the start of the 1900’s can be found by viewing the dozens of postcards that show various views around the city.
Although private mailing cards were authorized by Congress in 1898 it was not until 1901 that postcards, as we know them, began to surface. These first cards were printed on very stiff paper stock and usually had a picture on one side with reverse side being reserved exclusively for the address of the recipient. Starting in about 1907, the use of postcards really took off as "divided backs" became available so that a short message as well as the address could be written on the reverse side.
The post cards shown here are from the collection of George Drake, Heartland
Bank, El Paso, IL 61738. Other El Paso postcards are known to exist, but
these show a good cross section of what life was like in the early days
of El Paso.
Card # 001 El Paso Public Library. For many years the ladies in El Paso maintained a "free" public library, supported only by an occasional chicken supper or ice cream social. When the grant from the Carnegie Foundation was awarded, it was stipulated that the library had to be a tax-supported institution.
Card # 002 Water tower. In 1894-1895 the city erected a new water tower, one that had been used at the Chicago World’s Fair. The tall chimney is for the electric power plant that was also built on West Front Street in Block 39.
Card # 003 Dam near Kappa. This was built on the Mackinaw River just west of Kappa and created a lake south of Kappa that was a popular recreation area for a number of years. It was known as Pastime Park and featured picnic facilities, a dance pavilion, and other amenities.
Card # 004 West Side School. In 1897 this building was torn down, and the brick Jefferson Park school was erected in the same block.
Card # 005 Christian Church. This was built in l895 at the corner of First and Elm Streets. It was torn down in 1969 when the Woodford County Bank bought it for the sum of $ 5,000. A new bank building was erected on the site, with the bank now being known as Heartland Bank and Trust Co.
Card # 006 Campbell House. This picture was taken in about l896, and a print is on display in the lower level of the library. Built in 1862 at the intersection of two railroads (Front and North Central Streets), it was torn down in 1938. It was a grand building and survived three major fires that struck downtown El Paso.
Card # 007 McKinley School. Originally known as East Side School, it was renamed following the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901. It was built in 1869-1870 and torn down in 1959. It was located on the north side of East Second Street in the 500 block. For many years there was a strong rivalry between those who lived west of the Illinois Central Railroad and those who lived east of the railroad. This resulted in the two schools: East Side School and West Side School.
Card # 008 Methodist Church. This church building was erected in 1895 and replaced an almost identical building that had been dedicated on December 2, 1894 but which was completely destroyed by fire on May l2, 1895. It continues to be used, but an annex was added in 1972 to meet the needs of their growing congregation.
Card # 009 Presbyterian Church. This building was erected in 1903 at the same site on East Second Street where the original frame Presbyterian Church stood. It later became known as the Federated Church, and in 1966 it became known as the United Church of Christ. A fire of unknown origin destroyed this building in 1986, and the building was replaced with a contemporary brick structure.
Card # 010 Jefferson Park School. Built in 1897, this building replaced the frame West Side School building which was at the same site. This building was torn down in l976 to make way for the present Jefferson Park School.
Card # 011 St. Mary’s Catholic Church. As originally built, there were 3 crosses on the building compared to only one cross at the present time.
Card # 012 Campbell House. A landmark in downtown El Paso, the Campbell House was a prominent feature of Front Street from 1862 until it was torn down in 1938.
Card # 013 Middle Business Block. Taken from the second floor of the Campbell House, it shows the First National Bank building with its corner entrance. This building is now occupied by the American Dairy Association.
Card # 0l4 Jefferson Park School. Built in 1897, the Jefferson Park School was a popular subject for early El Paso postcards.
Card # 0l5 El Paso Public Library. This early photo of the library is complete with board sidewalks along the street. In the right background may be seen the small Congregational Church on Second Street which was the first church building to be erected in El Paso.
Card # 016 City Hall. Peter Donner was mayor of El Paso when this was built in 1907. Along the alley may be seen a horse drawn wagon with some men unloading coal.
Card # 017 East Business Block. This picture was taken from the balcony of the Campbell House.
Card # 018 McKinley School. Located in the 500 block of East Second Street, McKinley school served the community for nearly 90 years, being torn down in 1959.
Card # 019 St. Mary’s Church. The frame rectory adjoins it. The home of Barbara and George Owcarz may be seen to the extreme left.
Card # 020 St. Mary’s Church. This picture was taken in 1954. The three crosses on the building were still evident when this picture was taken.
Card # 02l St. Mary’s Church . The frame rectory adjoining it was replaced by a brick rectory in 1913.
Card # 022 St. Mary’s Church. The building is now down to just one cross, and a TV antenna adorns the roof of the rectory.
Card # 023 Library. Board sidewalks lead to the library in this early picture. It also shows a pair of foot-scrapers just before going up the steps into the library. A portion of the Congregational Church on Second Street can be seen in the right background.
Card # 024 Library. Two cannons, contributed by Col. Frank L. Smith of Dwight, guarded the library entrance. In April of l942, they were removed and used as scrap metal so badly needed in World War II.
Card # 025 Library. This is another early picture. It seems like no one was in charge of keeping the lawn mowed.
Card # 026 Library. Library. Although the cannons have "gone to war", their concrete bases remain in this l954 photo.
Card # 027 Federated Church. This is a l954 photo of what was originally a Presbyterian Church. It later became known as the United Church of Christ. It was destroyed by fire on December 21, 1986.
Card # 028 Presbyterian Church. It became known as the Federated Church in 1938 and was later known as the United Church of Christ. After it was destroyed by fire, it was replaced by a contemporary brick building at the same location, 135 E. Second Street. The house to the right served as a parsonage for the church for a number of years.
Card # 029 Baptist Church. Located at Cherry and Second Streets, this building was replaced by the present brick building in 1911. In 1999 Mrs. Robert (Mabel) Volz lives in the house to the right of the church. This card was made in Germany so that it could be sold by Thompson’s Dry Goods store in El Paso.
Card # 030 Baptist Church. This structure was built in 1911 at a cost of $18,250. It still serves the community and is located at 198 N. Cherry.
Card # 031 Episcopal Church. This was built at First and Cherry Streets in 1896 at a cost of $ 3,000. In l999 a frame addition was made to the south side of the original building.
Card # 032 Evangelical United Brethren Church. Following a merger of this denomination and the Methodist Church, this building was sold to the Christian Church congregation in about 1969. In about l997 it was sold again, and is now being used by the Harvest Chapel Assembly of God Church at 133 W. Second Street.
Card # 033 Christian Church. Located at the corner of First and Elm Streets, the building was erected in 1895. It was sold to Woodford County Bank in 1969, and a new bank building was erected.
Card # 034 Christian Church. This picture shows the congregation when Rev. Guy B. Williamson was the pastor. He served the church from 1917-1920.
Card # 035 Lutheran Church. Trinity Lutheran Church is a fairly new congregation in El Paso, starting in 1947. This building was started in 1950 and was completed in September of 1951. In about l997 they expanded their facilities considerably.
Card # 036 Christian Church.
Card # 037 Methodist Church. This card was postmarked in 1911.
Card # 038 Shiloh Methodist Church. Located a few miles northeast of El Paso, this church merged with the El Paso Methodist Church on May 16, 1948. It was torn down in 1950.
Card # 039 Methodist Church. This 1954 picture shows some of the many large elm trees that were found throughout El Paso.
Card # 040 Kappa Church. This building was erected in 1874 at a cost of $2,400, and was the result of the joint efforts of a group of Methodists and some people of the Evangelical faith. It never had a resident minister. It burned on July 4, 194l, with the fire believed to have been caused by the careless handling of some fireworks.
Card # 041 Jefferson Park School. This particular card has a 1914 Panola postmark.
Card # 042 Jefferson Park School. This was a 1954 photo.
Card # 043 Centennial School. This photo is on page 321 of The El Paso Story.
Card # 044 McKinley School. This was a 1954 photo.
Card # 045 Jefferson Park School.
Card # 046 McKinley School
Card # 047 El Paso High School
Card # 048 El Paso High School
Card # 049 El Paso High School
Card # 050 Pfister Plant. This was located on North Fayette Street
Card # 051 Pfister Office. Located at 27 West Main Street, this building is now used by the Community Bible Fellowship Church. This card was postmarked in 1949.
Card # 052 Carnation Greenhouse. This was located between the railroad and Route 24, where the F.S. station is now. In 1906 the El Paso Carnation Company erected four greenhouses and started raising all kinds of flowers, but specialized in carnations. In 1917 they advertised at having 30,000 feet of glass in their buildings. C. L. W. Snyder was secretary-manager at that time. At one time Dr. Robert E. Gordon had an interest in the business.
Card # 053 Middle Business Block. This l954 photo shows the El Paso National Bank on the corner where the First National Bank had been located. In 1919 the steps were changed from the corner of the building to the middle of the south side.
Card # 054 Franklin Park. This l954 photo shows the many stately elm trees that were located throughout El Paso.
Card # 055 Bishop Sheen Birthplace. Bishop Sheen was born in 1895 in the living quarters on the second floor of this building. The dormer windows were added in about 1898. The car is a 1954 Chevrolet which was once owned by Jim Hinthorne. The building was torn down in 1980, but on May 2, 1992 a permanent marker was erected at the site honoring Bishop Sheen.
Card # 056 Woodford County Bank This picture was likely taken in 1971 or 1972
Card # 057 Woodford County Bank. Now known as Heartland Bank and Trust Co., this picture was likely taken in 1973 or 1974.
Card # 058 War Memorial. This 1954 photo shows the memorial erected in 1947 by the Kiwanis Club of El Paso under the leadership of Dr. C. E. Cryer. The names of 589 veterans of World Wars I and II were listed on a bronze plaque. In 1972 an addition was dedicated to also honor veterans of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.
Card # 059 Middle Business Block. This block was completely destroyed by fire on the 19th of July in l894. The only structure to survive the fire was the Christian Schafer house on First Street. A year later virtually all businesses had rebuilt. This card shows the El Paso National Bank with the office of Dr. King, a dentist, on the second floor.
Card # 060 West Business Block. In addition to Pierce Furniture, signs for El Paso Produce and for the Ritterbusch Drug Store are also evident. The produce store was operated by Ed and Florence Wendland until about 1960 when it was sold to Joe and Adahlia Wendland.
Card # 061 West Business Block. This is a little older picture, as the sign for the drug store says "Webber Drugs." James Webber from Bloomington owned the store at the time but later sold it to Fred Ritterbusch.
Card # 062 West Business Block. This 1954 photo shows the new street lights.
Card # 063 Elms Motel.
Card # 064 Elms Motel
Card # 065 Cornbelt Motel. Located on North Fayette Street. The Campbell House housing complex is now located on this site.
Card # 066 Elms Motel. The old portion of this building was once the home of James H. Wathen, one of the founders of El Paso. In 1939 Mrs. Zilpha Morgan bought the property and started a tourist home. Individual cabins were built in 194l and 1946, and a dining room was started in 1953. For many years the business was operated by her son, Leland, but more recently has been operated by her grandson, Rick Morgan.
Card # 067 Stage Stop Motel. This was operated for many years by Roger Benson. It was bought and torn down by Wallace Furrow in about 1997.
Card # 068 Cornbelt Motel. This was built on Fayette Street, between Second and Third Streets, in 1952 by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Stine. A year later it was enlarged to a total of 16 units and a manager’s unit.
Card # 069 El Paso Depot. For many years, this building served as the freight depot for both railroads while the Campbell served as the passenger depot. In about 1997, William Prochnow moved the depot some yards to the south so it is much closer to Route 24.
Card # 070 Patton Livery Stable. Built in 1908, this building was located in the middle of the block just east of Rebbec Motor Co. This card was one of several cards sold by he East Side Bakery in the East business block.
Card # 071 Kappa Depot. In 1934 this depot was sold by the railroad to Roy Dunseth who moved it several blocks north and remodeled it for a tavern-restaurant. A gasoline stove exploded there on July 24, 1936, causing the death of Mrs. William J. Corbley and Leslie (Bud) Brown.
Card # 072 East First Street. This card, also sold by the East Side Bakery, shows the intersection of First and Pine Streets.
Card # 073 Greetings from El Paso. This unusual card is a composite of 8 different El Paso postcards. All of these cards are shown in this collection except for the one of the mausoleum. Does anyone have a postcard of the mausoleum?
Card # 074 West Business Block. This card was made in Germany so that it could be sold by the J. B. Michels drug store. This picture shows how far the Campbell House jutted out into Front Street.
Card # 075 Band in 1912. This was taken in front of the library. Front row: Jesse Hartzell, John Davitt, Francis Fitzgerald, Raymond Williams, Harry C. Pierce, director Max Smith, Ernest Henderson, Chester Curtiss, and Leslie Evans. Middle row: John Blackmore, John Saddler, Unknown, Foster Radebaugh, Dr. C. O. Patton, Clarence Tousseing, and Charles Bailey. Top row: Clay Donner, Frank Reichert, William Ahrens, Rufus Hayden, Owen Carroll, and Clyde L. Tegard.
Card # 076 Middle Business Block. This picture shows the First National Bank with the entrance at the corner of Front and North Central Streets. In 1919 the steps were changed to the south side of the building. This card was also made in Germany and was meant to be sold by the J. B. Michels drug store.
Card # 077 Middle Business Block. The City Opera House is shown prominently in this photo. This opera house is not to be confused with the Grand Opera House located on the second floor of the Masonic Temple, one block to the east.
Card # 078 Middle Business Block. This shows part of the June 11, 1913 Play Day Parade.
Card # 079 East Business Block. Although horse and buggies were still around, the wooden sidewalks that were on Front Street until about 1900 were eventually replaced with concrete sidewalks.
Card # 080 Fairground Grandstand. The fairgrounds were located north of Sixth Street, about where the high school is now located. Starting in 1880, the El Paso Fair was a big event for the community nearly every year until it ceased in 1927.
Card # 081 Basketball Team 1915-1916. Left to right: George Evans, H. F. Boyd, Delmar Elting, Ernest Patton, Hurd Adams, Wade Wolk, Virgil Gordon, Dr. Sidney P. Kingdon, and Frank H. Shuman.
Card # 082 Airplane in 1911. Harry Powers, in this Curtiss biplane, attempted to take off on September 11, 1911, but crashed demolishing the plane. He was performing for the El Paso Fair, and this crash is believed to be the first plane crash in Central Illinois. Powers was not seriously injured.
Card # 083 Baseball Team in 1908. This card was mailed on June 5, 1908 by Clarence Jenkins to Clyde Tegard.
Card # 084 East Business Block. To the right is the Grand Opera House which was located above the Masonic Temple.
Card # 085 West Business Block. This was probably some more of the 1913 Play Day Parade.
Card # 086 Middle Business Block. Taken in 1969 by Ron Mayne of the Ron Mayne Studios in El Paso, this picture shows the Woodford County National Bank. Further west may be seen signs for several other businesses including Hynes TV and the Hornsby store.
Card # 087 West Business Block. Shown is part of El Paso Produce Co., Ritterbusch Drug Store, and the El Paso Locker.
Card # 088 Dr. Robert E. Gordon. Dr. Gordon (1873-1951) served the community very well for many years and often sent out cards like this on special occasions. This was sent to Mr. and Mrs. A. Blackmore in 1930, thanking the Blackmores for remembering his birthday.
Card # 089 McDaniel Nursing Home. This is an aerial view of the nursing home shortly after it was built by Mr. and Mrs. Clarence McDaniel in 1974. It is now known as Heritage Manor.
Card # 090 First National Bank. The previous building was destroyed by fire on July l9, 1894, and this building was started shortly thereafter. It was completed during the winter of 1894-1895. It was the home of the First National Bank until December 31, 193l. The El Paso National Bank opened for business on September l, 1932. On July 10, 1968, the bank located in this building became known as Woodford County National Bank, due a merger with that bank. On March 15, 1971 the combined bank moved to a new building erected at First and Elm Streets. The old First National Bank building is now occupied by the American Dairy Association.
Card #091 View of East First Street.
This view is looking straight east into Elmwood Court, with the block between
Pine and Grant streets being in the foreground. This post card copy
was submitted by Deborah Huffman.
Return to El Paso History Homepage