Star on the Mountain

History

The very first star on the south side of the Franklin Mountains was built by the El Paso Electric Company in 1940. At the time it was only 50 feet wide and could barely be seen on the Carlsbad Highway. It also did not last long; a storm blew out most of the bulbs.

Soon after, another star was built bigger and better. It was 403 feet long, 300 feet wide and used 300 light bulbs. More improvements were made in 1946: the length was increased to 459 feet, the width reduced to 278 feet and 459 light bulbs were used. It was then that lighting the "Star on the Mountain," became an El Paso tradition during Christmas season.

Today the Star has the same dimensions as in 1946. It sits at an angle of 30 degrees and appears to be "perfect" at its focal point at the intersection of Texas and Alameda Avenues. The poles are staggered up and down the mountain for the distance of 459 feet; starting at the mountain top, and run down to a point about 200 feet above Scenic Drive.

From its lofty height, the Star may be seen from the east for 100 miles from the air and some 30 miles from the ground. Pilots are known to use the Star as an orientation point.

Since World War II the star has been lit each and every year; however some schedule changes were made. During the energy crisis in the 70's the schedule was reduced. In 1980 the Star remained lit for 444 days (until January 21, 1981) during the Iran hostage crises. In 1990, during the Gulf War, the Star once again remained lit (until August 21, 1991) in support of Fort Bliss and all US troops stationed with Operation Desert Storm.

Through the efforts of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce and support from private citizens, businesses and community organizations, The Star on the Mountain now shines bright each and every night at dusk. El Paso is proud of its new image of the " Star City " in the Lone Star State .

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