From the Editors 29 (2011)Engineer and Editor Juan Hart Moved El Paso Forward 29 (2011)Elizabeth Garrett: Songbird of the Southwest 29 (2011)A Passionate Life: Josephine Clardy Fox 29 (2011)Forgotten No More: Korean War POW Tells Story of Survival 29 (2011)Janice Woods Windle Treasures Family History 29 (2011)Andy and Syd Cohen: The Men Behind the Name 29 (2011)Leona Ford Washington Preserved Black History 29(2011)Ingeborg Heuser Brought Professional Ballet to City 29 (2011)Lee and Beulah Moor Left Legacy of Love 29 (2011)
From the Editors 28 (2010)Chasin’ Away the Blues: Texas Sunday Legislation 28 (2010)Simeon Hart Pioneered Local Industry 28 (2010)Felix Martinez: Southwestern Renaissance Man 28 (2010)Teresa Urrea: La Santa de Cabora Inspired Mexican Revolution 28 (2010)Utopia in Mesilla: The Shalam Colony 28 (2010)Stahmann Farms Produce Pecans on Two Hemispheres 28 (2010)Betty Mary Goetting Brought Birth Control to El Paso 28 (2010)Maud Sullivan Made El Paso Public Library a Cultural Center 28 (2010)Lucy Acosta’s Legacy Continues in LULAC 28 (2010)Belen Robles: Voice for the Latino Community 28 (2010)Toltec Club: Of Ghosts and Guests 28 (2010)
Strong Women Building a Strong City -- From the Editors 27(2008)Notable Women of El Paso 27(2009)The Chew Legacy: The Story of Herlinda Wong Chew 27(2009)Desert Nightingale: Louise Dietrich 27(2009)1909-2009: YWCA Celebrates 100 Years in El Paso 27(2009)Mabel Welch: El Paso’s First Female Architect 27(2009)Myrna Deckert Remains Modest About Achievements 27(2009)Suzie Azar Still Reaches for the Sky 27 (2009)The Moocher: Callie Fairley, First Woman Vice Detective in El Paso 27(2009)Alicia R. Chacón Came to Politics Naturally 27 (2009)Rosa Guerrero: Cultural Dynamo 27 (2009)
From the Past to the Present -- From the Editor 26 (2007/08)Yandell Boulevard Named for Prominent El Paso Physician 26 (2007/08)Japanese Immigrants Came Slowly to Borderland 26 (2007/08)World War II Affected Japanese Immigrants 26 (2007/08)Living, Breathing New Mexico Ghost Town: Hillsboro 26 (2007/08)Canutillo Developed from Land Grant 26 (2007/08)Rómulo Escobar Zerman: Juárez Agronomist and Teacher 26 (2007/08)El Paso Mayor: Tom Lea Jr. 26 (2007/08)Ted Karam: Lebanese Immigrant Lived American Dream 26 (2007/08)Publication Credits 26 (2007/08)
From the Director 25 (2006)First El Paso Protestant Church: St. Clement's 25 (2006)Bowie High School: Always a Bear 25 (2006)Golden Gloves Grew Out of El Paso's Love of Boxing 25 (2006)LULAC Fought Hard to Guarantee Rights 25 (2006)El Paso Women Gained Power in LULAC 25 (2006)McKelligon Canyon: From Cattle to Culture 25 (2006)Tortugas Celebrates Virgen de Guadalupe, San Juan 25 (2006)Bataan Death March and POW Camps 25 (2006)Bataan Survivors Recall Horrors 25 (2006)Anthony Family Had Five Sons in World War II 25 (2006)Sober on the Border 25 (2006)Clyde W. Tombaugh: Farm Boy Reached for the Stars 25 (2006)A Taste of Southwest Wine 25 (2006)
From the Director 24 (2005)From the Editors 24 (2005)Gypsie Davenport and May Palmer Ran Infamous Brothels 24 (2005)Pioneer Attorney William Burges Tackled Unpopular Issues 24 (2005)Richard Fenner Burges: Renaissance Man 24 (2005)Charles Kelly Wielded Power with Political 'Ring' 24 (2005)Tom Charles Wanted World to Know White Sands 24 (2005)Dripping Springs has Rich History 24 (2005)Thomas B. White Directed Innovative La Tuna for 19 Years 24 (2005)Cowboys on the Range --- Missile Range, That Is 24 (2005)Ranchers vs. the Feds: The McNew Saga 24 (2005)Mexican Repatriation in 1930s 24 (2005)White House Department Store 24 (2005)Thomason Hospital Celebrates 90 Years 24 (2005)R.E. Thomason Shaped City, State, Nation 24 (2005)
Postcards from the Past Editor's Column 23 (2004)From the Editors 23 (2004)Solomon C. Schutz Helped Bring Law and Order to El Paso 23 (2004)James Gillett Showed Courage in El Paso 23 (2004)Jim White Explored Carlsbad Caverns for Years 23 (2004)Ben Lilly: Mountain Man of the Southwest 23 (2004)Aldo Leopold Proposed Land Ethics 23 (2004)Escontrias Ranch: A Link to Hueco Tanks Park 23 (2004)Hueco Tanks is Site of Controversy 23 (2004)Marcelino Serna Became World War I Hero 23 (2004)Sam Dreben Soldiered All Over the World 23 (2004)Kern Place Neighborhood: The Man Behind the Name 23 (2004)Farah Manufacturing Now Just a Memory 23 (2004)Texas Knights of Columbus Began in El Paso 23 (2004)
Look for Us on the Web - Editor's Column 22 (2003)From the Editors 22 (2003)Victorio Fought to the Death for Homeland 22 (2003)O. T. Bassett and Charles R. Morehead 22 (2003)S. H. Newman: Pioneer Newspaperman Fought Vice 22 (2003)Elfego Baca Lived More Than Nine Lives 22 (2003)Woman's Club Has Long Served City 22 (2003)Cathedral's Beauty Pleases 22 (2003)Albert J. Fountain's Achievements Eclipsed by Mysterious Death 22 (2003)Albert B. Fall's Career Ended in Disgrace 22 (2003)Cloudcroft Baby Sanatorium Saved Many 22 (2003)Dale Resler Worked Hard for El Paso 22 (2003)Price's Dairy Still Family Owned 22 (2003)Woodlawn Bottling Brought Pepsi to Town 22 (2003)Union Depot Witnessed Growth of El Paso 22 (2003)
We're Now on the Web --From the Editor 21(2002)From the Editors 21(2002)Downtown Opium Dens Attracted Many 21(2002)Juneteenth Celebrates Freedom for Texas Slaves 21(2002)Black Cowboys Rode the Trails, Too 21(2002)Ku Klux Klan Had Short Life in El Paso 21(2002)Mining Became Big Business in Southwest 21(2002)Smeltertown Still Exists in Memories 21 (2002)El Paso Played Important Role in the Mexican Revolution 21 (2002)Pancho Villa Led Northern Forces in Revolution 21 (2002)Soldaderas Played Important Roles in Revolution 21 (2002)Pershing, Villa Forever Linked to Columbus 21 (2002)Cristeros Became Mexican Martyrs 1926-1929 -- 21 (2002)Houchen Settlement House Helped New Arrivals 21 (2002)Otis A. Aultman Captured Border History in Pictures 21 (2002)
Hot Springs Have Long HistoryThe Building of a City -- From the Editor 20 (2001)From the Staff (Volume 20)Pat Garrett Enjoyed Controversy 20 (2001)Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire Terrorized Town 20 (2001)History Reveals Rivalry of Madams Etta Clark and Alice Abbott 20 (2001)Kohlberg, Krupp, Zielonka Became Business and Civic Leaders 20 (2001)Olga Kohlberg Pioneered Many Local Organizations 20 (2001)Henry Trost's Architectural Legacy Lives On 20 (2001)Sunset Heights Preserves History 20 (2001)Adolph Schwartz Built Local Retail Dynasty 20 (2001)Zach T. White Brought Progress to El Paso 20 (2001)Masons Became Leaders in Texas, El Paso 20 (2001)Smallpox Epidemic Showed Need for Hospitals20 (2001)El Paso High School Remains Classic 20 (2001)Bhutanese Architecture Distinguishes UTEP Campus 20 (2001)Elephant Butte Dam Solved Early Water Problems 20 (2001)
Pioneer Ranch became Concordia Cemetery 19 (2000)El Paso Grows Up 19 (2000)From the Staff 19 (2000)Chinese Immigrants Helped Build Railroad in El Paso 19 (2000)Volunteer Fire Department Grew into Professional Company 19 (2000)1880s Brought First Theaters to Town 19 (2000)Sisters of Charity Began Hotel Dieu Hospital 19 (2000)Tuberculosis Turned El Paso Into a Health Center 19 (2000)First Public School Built in 1884 19 (2000)Enigmatic Olivas Aoy Began School for Mexican Children 19 (2000)El Paso Public Library Began Modestly 19 (2000)Jesuits Continue to Influence Area 19 (2000)Sisters of Loretto Have Long Tradition in Southwest 19 (2000)Mormons Found Sanctuary in Mexico in 1880s 19 (2000)Mennonite Colonies in Mexico Accept Change Slowly 19 (2000)Flu Epidemic of 1918 Hit El Paso Hard 19 (2000)Early City Planners Saw Future in Scenic Drive 19 (2000)Prohibition Stimulated Economies of El Paso, Juárez 19 (2000)
The Editor's Column : The Building of a City 18 (1999)From the Editors 18 (1999)Magoffinsville Had Lasting Influence on El Paso 18 (1999)Town of El Paso Grew from Pioneer Settlements 18 (1999)Downtown El Paso Is Monument to Anson Mills 18 (1999)1848 War With Mexico Created Southwest 18 (1999)Colonel Doniphan and Volunteers Won Battle of Brazito 18 (1999)Gadsden Purchase Clarified U.S. Boundaries 18 (1999)Early Fort Bliss Occupied Pioneer Sites 18 (1999)Henry O. Flipper Paved Way for Integration of Military 18 (1999)Buffalo Soldiers Defended Western Frontier 18 (1999)El Paso Was Midpoint of Overland Mail Service 18 (1999)Salt War of 1877 Divided Southwest Residents 18 (1999)Geronimo Led Final Fight 18 (1999)Apache Indians Defended Homelands in Southwest 18 (1999)Texas Rangers Helped Keep Order on Frontier 18 (1999)Sarah Bowman and Tillie Howard: Madams of the 1800s 18 (1999)El Paso Grew Up with Arrival of Railroad 18 (1999)
Aztecs Ruled Complex, Rich Society 17 (1998)From the Editor 17 (1998)Aztec Beliefs Helped Conquer Mexico 17 (1998)Cortés Created New Order in Mexico 17 (1998)La Malinche Remains Controversial 17 (1998)Cabeza de Vaca: Travels in Texas 17 (1998)Estebán Furthered Legend of Cíbola 17 (1998)Coronado Searched for Cities of Gold 17 (1998)Oñate Conquered Desert to Explore Southwest 17 (1998)Festival Celebrates Oñate's Historic Arrival 17 (1998)Fray Garcia Left Great Legacy 17 (1998)Franciscans Brought Catholicism to Area 17 (1998)America's First Highway: El Camino Real 17 (1998)Pueblo Revolt Brought Tiguas South 17 (1998)Tigua Indians Survive 300 Years of Ordeals 17 (1998)Area Missions are Part of Living History 17 (1998)San Elizario Presidio Protected Settlers 17 (1998)Ethnic Terms Can Cause Confusion 17 (1998)
Oasis Restaurants Symbolized ‘50s Teen Scene 13 (1995)‘50s Cars Changed American Lifestyle And Image 13 (1995)Chevy Bel Air Charmed 1950 Car Buyers 13 (1995)San Jacinto Plaza Remains Heart Of Downtown El Paso 13 (1995)Smokey Bear: A Legend Is Made 13 (1995)El Paso's Company E Survivors Remember Rapido River Assaults 13 (1995)Company E Survivor Recalls Days As Prisoner Of War 13 (1995)El Paso Red Cross Essential to War Effort 13 (1995)World War II Took its Toll On The Home Front 13 (1995)Civil Air Patrol Protected Border During World War II -- 13 (1995)Quickie Divorces Granted in Juárez 13 (1995)Atomic Bomb Developed In Southwest 13 (1995)Former Crew Members On B-17s Remember Tough Times 13 (1995)Vintage Warplanes Keep Past Alive 13 (1995)The Cavalry Bugler: Essential To Horse and Man 13 (1995)Sun Carnival 1936 Style 13 (1995)H. Arthur Brown: El Paso Symphony Guru Of The ‘30s -- 13 (1995)Swing Music Helped Dispel The Blues Of The ‘30s and ‘40s -- 13 (1995)The General Store: A Hidden Treasure Of The Past 13 (1995)
Change on the Border 15 (1997)From the Editor 15 (1997)Latinos Work To Change Stereotypes In Hollywood 15 (1997)Cesar Chávez: Simple Man, People’s Hero 15 (1997)Shelter For Farm Workers Becomes Reality 15 (1997)Women’s Shelter Helps To Heal The Pain 15 (1997)Home Schools Become Popular Alternative 15 (1997)Renovation May Revive Downtown El Paso 15 (1997)Title IX Changed Women's Sports 15 (1997)Special Olympics Shine In El Paso 15 (1997)La Fe Clinic Serves South El Paso 15 (1997)ASARCO Works To Clean Up Its Act 15 (1997)A Growing Phenomenon: Single Fathers 15 (1997)Stepfamilies Become More Numerous 15 (1997)Teens Rebel Against Authority 15 (1997)Comics Retain Popularity 15 (1997)Tom Moore And Archie Have Timeless Appeal 15 (1997)
Life on the Border: 1950s & 1960s --14 (1996)From The Editors 14 (1996)A Baseball Team By Any Other Name 14 (1996)Drive-In Theaters Appealed to all Ages 14 (1996)El Paso Trolley First to Connect Two Nations 14 (1996)Barbie Doll Revolutionized Toy Industry 14 (1996)Rabies Took Bite of Sun City 14 (1996)Rabies: A Deadly Virus 14 (1996)Border Patrol Used Variety of Methods to Control Immigration 14 (1996)L. A. Nixon Fought Texas Voting Law 14 (1996)Douglass School Served Black Community Well 14 (1996)Thelma White Case Forced College Integration 14 (1996)Steve Crosno: An El Paso Original 14 (1996)Rock 'N' Roll Defined Teen Culture 14 (1996)A Shopping Mall by the People for the People 14 (1996)Chamizal Dispute Settled Peacefully 14 (1996)Turney Mansion Becomes Work of Art 14 (1996)First Hispanic Mayor Elected in 1957 -- 14 (1996)Flower Children Chose Alternative Lifestyle 14 (1996)
Three Decades of History 12 (1994)From the Editors 12 (1994)The Plaza Theater…Here to Stay!? 12 (1994)El Paso Broadcasting: The Stories Behind the Call Letters 12 (1994)Alphabet Agencies: FDR's Brainstorm 12 (1994)Chihuahuita in the 1930s: Tough Times in the Barrio 12 (1994)Hobo Sign Language Targeted El Paso 12 (1994)Self- Sufficiency Key to Farmers' Survival During Depression 12 (1994)Hanna's Story A Holocaust Survivor Remembers 12 (1994)Former Members Recall Life in Hitler Youth 12 (1994)German Prisoners of War Interned at Fort Bliss During World War II -- 12 (1994)German POWs Remembered at Fort Bliss 12 (1994)One German POW's Story 12 (1994)Ration Books and Victory Gardens: Coping with Shortages 12 (1994)Women Changed Wartime Work Patterns 12 (1994)Bracero Program Hurt Domestic Farm Workers 12 (1994)San Pedro Pharmacy Retains Look of the Past 12 (1994)Teenage Fashions of the Nifty Fifties 12 (1994)Rebel Image of Motorcyclists Set in 1950s -- 12 (1994)
Border Customs and Crafts From the Editor 10 (1992)From the Editors 10 (1992)King on the Mountain 10 (1992)Piñatas! 10 (1992)How to Play the Piñata Game 10 (1992)Out of a Cotton Boll Bloom Beautiful Crafts 10 (1992)Cotton Boll Entertains Too 10 (1992)Hands That Create Art and Soul 10 (1992)La Charreada - Mexican Horsemanship 10 (1992)Boots - A Family Tradition 10 (1992)Some Boys Still Grow Up to be Cowboys 10 (1992)Boot Capital of the World 10 (1992)The Magic of Mariachis 10 (1992)Ballet Folklorico - High School Style 10 (1992)New Generation of Mariachis 10 (1992)The Lady is a Bullfighter 10 (1992)The Midwife: Choices for Border Women 10 (1992)Retablos: Echoes of Faith 10 (1992)Tigua Indians: Dancing for St. Anthony 10 (1992)The Aztec and the Miracle 10 (1992)A Hispanic Girl's Coming of Age 10 (1992)Art - Low and Slow 10 (1992)Wedding Traditions on the Border 10 (1992)
Border Food Folkways From the Editor 9 (1991)From the Staff 9 (1991)Tortillas: Border Staff of Life 9 (1991)The Booming Tortilla Industry in Mexico 9 (1991)Where's The Beef? In El Paso! 9 (1991)How Do I Love Thee, Piggy? Let Me Count the Ways! 9 (1991)Tamales By Any Other Name Remain The Same 9 (1991)Rio Grande Thanksgiving 9 (1991)The Tigua Indians: Food for Thought 9 (1991)Corn: The Golden Gift from Our Ancestors 9 (1991)Border Pottery - Function and Beauty 9 (1991)Holy Hot Mole! 9 (1991)Looking Back at the Chile Pepper 9 (1991)Men Behind the Chile Pepper 9 (1991)Hot Peppers : They're Not Just for Eating 9 (1991)Food, Spices Double as Folk Cures 9 (1991)Weeds or Edible Desert Plants? 9 (1991)Cactus: It's Good for You! 9 (1991)Day of the Dead Celebrates Spiritual Tradition 9 (1991)Nutricious, Delicious Beans 9 (1991)Menudo Makes The Big Time 9 (1991)Mediterranean Cuisine: Old Tradition, Fresh Idea 9 (1991)Lenten Foods: From Fasting to Fabulous 9 (1991)Tarahumaras Rely on Nature for Food 9 (1991)Tempting Sweet Breads : Pan de Dulce 9 (1991)
Border Customs and Crafts II From the Editor -- 11 (1993)From the Editors 11 (1993)The Best Little Asaderos in Texas 11 (1993)Glass Work Disappearing on Border 11 (1993)Cockfights Legal in Surrounding Areas 11 (1993)Local Craftsmen Keep Art of Saddlery Alive 11 (1993)James and Joseph Magoffin: El Paso Pioneers 11 (1993)Chile Ristras Brighten Border Homes 11 (1993)Magoffin Home Preserves El Paso's Past 11 (1993)Bavarian Custom Celebrated in El Paso: Oktoberfest 11 (1993)Munich on the Border 11 (1993)Santo Niño de Atocha Called Miracle Worker 11 (1993)Lenten Customs Vary 11 (1993)To Ask is to Receive 11 (1993)Border Maintains Tradition of Posadas 11 (1993)A Visit from Three Kings 11 (1993)Matachines: Soldiers of the Virgin 11 (1993)Dichos Are an Intricate Part of Mexican Culture 11 (1993)Cultural Superstitions Affect Behavior 11 (1993)Que Onda Homeboy! Why Do We Talk Like This? 11 (1993)Traditional Hispanic Children's Games Disappear 11 (1993)
El Paso Women to ResearchEl Paso Women to Research (by name)El Paso Men to ResearchEl Paso Men to Research (by name)
From the Editors 30 (2012)From the Editor, Credits and Contents 30 (2012)Jessie Hawkins and Jenna Welch: Love, Loss and Laughter 30 (2012)Woodrow Wilson Bean: One in a Million 30 (2012)David L. Carrasco Gave Back to Hometown 30 (2012)Cleofas Calleros Made Local History Important 30 (2012)Robert E. McKee: From Rags to Riches to Philanthropy 30 (2012)Kate Moore Brown: A Woman of Many Firsts 30 (2012)Fun in the 1890s: The McGinty Club 30 (2012)
Borderlands Web Issue From the Editor 31(2013/14)Acknowledgements 31(2013/14)Mother Praxedes Carty: Serving God by Serving Others 31(2013/14)Carrie Tingley Hospital and the Couple Behind It 31 (2013/14)Harvey Girls Changed the West 31(2013/14)Jake Erlich: A Big Man in Many Ways 31(2013/14)Vernus Carey: Mr. YMCA 31(2013/14)
Borderlands 32 Tolerance. From the Editors and Acknowledgements 32(2014/15)Henry Kellen Created El Paso Holocaust Museum 32(2014/15)Bicycle Padre Still Working 32(2014/15)El Paso Connections: Ambrose Bierce: writer 32(2014/15)Mysterious Deaths: Bobby Fuller, Rock Icon 32(2014/15)Mysterious Deaths: Tom Ogle, Inventor 32(2014/15)Jake Erlich: A Big Man in Many Ways 32(2014)Harvey Girls Changed the West 32(2014)
Borderlands 33 Service. From the Editors and Acknowledgements 33(2015)Nothing Is Impossible: Major General Heidi V. Brown 33 (2015)Local Latino Soldiers Receive Medal of Honor Decades after Heroism 33 (2015)Vernus Carey: Mr. YMCA 33 (2015)Will the Real Leon Blevins Please stand up? 33 (2015)Carrie Tingley Hospital and the Couple Behind It 33 (2015)Mother Praxedes Carty: Serving God by Serving Others 33 (2015)
Borderlands 34 Inspiration. From the Editors and Acknowledgements 34(2016/17)Building Bridges Instead of Walls: Temple Mount Sinai 34 (2016/17)Ruben Salazar: A Bridge Between Two Societies 34 (2016/17)Luis Jimenez: Art Creates Dialogue 34 (2016/17)Richard "Tuff" Hedeman: The Michael Jordan of Professional Bull Riding 34 (2016/17)Rescue Mission of El Paso Provides Food and Opportunity 34 (2016/17)
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Engineer and Editor Juan Hart Moved El Paso Forward

Article first published in Vol. 29, 2011.

By Juana Black, Charles Gabriel and Kevin Guerrero


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Juan S. Hart, Engineer and newspaper editorThere are few individuals who have played a bigger role in the development of El Paso from a lawless, dusty town into a thriving metropolis than this native. Not only did he have a claim to many “firsts,” including being the first American born in El Paso, but he also helped to conquer city corruption and even averted a war. Although he was a captain in the US Infantry, his accomplishments came not from military might, but from his education and the power of the spoken and written word. The name of El Paso’s pioneering editor and engineer? Juan Siqueiros Hart.

Image caption: Juan Hart used his education to help El Paso grow and prosper. He served in the Spanish-American War. (Photo courtesy of the University of Texas at El Paso Library, Special Collections Department)

Hart, born July 24, 1856, was the oldest of seven children born to El Paso’s industrial pioneer and first newspaper publisher, Simeon Hart, and his wife, Jesusita Siqueiros (see Borderlands vol. 28). Although Juan Hart spent his early childhood at the Hart homestead (what is known to El Pasoans as the old Hacienda Café), he traveled with his family to San Antonio in 1862, where the Hart family remained during the Civil War.

According to Dorrance D. Roderick’s article in Password, journal of the El Paso County Historical Society, when Hart was 10, he traveled to New York to further his education. Two years later, Hart was sent to his father’s home state of Missouri, where he was enrolled at Christian Brothers College of St. Louis. In 1874, Hart graduated with degrees in civil and mining engineering, with honors.

That same year, Hart’s father died, and with his mother’s death just the year before, the young man found himself responsible for not only his younger siblings, but his father’s vast estate and business, Hart’s Mill. He was 18 years old.

Hart took on the responsibility of educating his younger sisters and enrolled them in one of the foremost girls’ schools in America, the Academy of the Sacred Heart, in St. Charles, MO, founded in 1818. To support their education, Hart took a position at his alma mater teaching mathematics and Greek, even writing several plays that were performed by the students, for which Hart acquired considerable acclaim.

At the height of the silver boom in 1878, Hart traveled to Leadville, CO, where he began his career in engineering with former schoolmate, J. C. Carrera. The death of one of his sisters brought Hart home. Because there were no railroads to El Paso yet, Hart purchased a horse and buggy in Leadville and set out alone, traveling over mountains and across deserts in Indian country. It took him 40 days to get home. Like his father, Hart held family foremost in importance.

Hart’s next engineering ventures took place in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, where he surveyed several large haciendas, including the Corralitos property, one of the largest land holdings in the entire country. Once his surveying was complete, Hart took the position of manager for a large gold mining property at Ocampo, Chihuahua, owned by his old friend, Sen. Horace Tabor of Colorado.

Throughout this time, Hart returned to El Paso often, and in the early 1880s, decided to stay to run his father’s estate. He continued his engineering career and was appointed city engineer, at which time he began drafting the first official map of El Paso. Known as “Hart’s Map,” it was officially adopted in 1881.

El Paso BrownsAccording to The Texas Handbook Online, it was also in 1881, after Joseph Magoffin was elected mayor, that Hart joined one of the city’s first two baseball teams, playing both first and second base. So named because of the color of their socks, belts, shirts and stripes on their caps, the El Paso Browns took the Southwest Championship in 1886, with Percy Williams on the pitcher’s mound and Hart on second base.

Image caption: The El Paso Browns won the Southwest Championship in 1886. Juan Hart is seated, second row, second from the right. (Photo courtesy of El Paso County Historical Society)

In 1881, three newspapers began publishing in the city – the El Paso Times, the El Paso Herald and the El Paso Independent. More by accident than by design, Hart found himself following in his father’s footsteps when he joined the newspaper business after coming to the assistance of Mrs. Horace W. Kelly, whose husband owned the Independent. On Jan. 2, 1882, the Kelly’s newspaper changed names to the El Paso Link, with Hart as editor.

Hart brought in substantial citizens as backers for the newly developed Link, and according to Roderick, Hart and his partner, H. D. Potter, a printer, made the Link a “leading force” in promoting law and order, responsible government and enterprises that would improve the city. Competition between the three local newspapers was fierce, and following the old adage, “If you can’t beat them, join them,” the weekly Times bought the Link from Hart to become the El Paso Daily Times.

In 1884, Hart found himself principal owner and editor of the Times when he and J. H. Bate purchased Sherman C. Slade’s shares of the company, with Hart doing most of the writing. With his extensive knowledge in engineering, Hart understood the absolute necessity of an irrigation system for the growth of El Paso, and right after joining the Times, he began editorializing for an irrigation system for the entire El Paso valley. After many years, his campaign eventually materialized as the Elephant Butte Dam, completed in 1916.

As the new owner and editor, Hart traveled to New York City to see M. E. Stone, general manager of the Associated Press, to try to negotiate bringing in an Associated Press wire to El Paso. Hart knew that if El Paso were to progress, it needed to be in contact with other cities throughout America and the world.

According to the Times article, “Captain Hart Brought First A.P. Wire News to People of El Paso,” Stone laughed at Hart’s idea of stringing the wire approximately 1,000 miles from Denver to El Paso. When finally convinced that Hart was not only serious but could pay the heavy leasing charges (since only the Times would be served by the wire), Stone reluctantly agreed to the massive undertaking, officially connecting El Paso with the news of the world.

Throughout his editorial career, Hart used the Times as a podium for progressive social change, as well as to fight against corruption. He led the campaign to move the county seat from Ysleta to El Paso. In 1884, he editorialized against con artists who swindled El Paso citizens with Mexican games of chance, “games which, while Mexican in origin, more than likely were operated by some derelict American sharper who found it easier to fleece his victims out of sight of the El Paso police,” according to John Middagh in Frontier Newspaper: The El Paso Times.

In 1885, Hart used his engineering knowledge to investigate the new courthouse being built, and finding faulty construction, used the Times to publish his findings, ultimately leading to a correction of all wrongdoings and restitution of misspent taxpayer money.

Not only did Hart promote reform and uncover corruption, but on more than one occasion, he used the Times to prevent social violence. In 1886, A. K. Cutting, an American living across the border, was arrested then convicted of libel after his Paso del Norte (today’s Ciudad Juárez) newspaper accused Emigdio Medina, who had circulated a prospectus of a competing newspaper, of fraud and swindling. The American Consul, the State Department and the Mexican government were soon all involved.

Rather than print a retraction, Cutting sat in jail and “made the matter … between two nations,” as Middaugh wrote. While the governments of the two countries examined the facts, the Times reported that townspeople had become inflamed over the idea that Mexico could hold the United States hostage. Armed mobs on both sides were ready to fight, and although Cutting was eventually released from the Mexican jail, Hart was able to quiet the masses by suggesting ways to bring about peace, as well as advocating for more Fort Bliss troops to prevent border violence.

According to W. W. Bridgers’ article, “Bread and Bullets,” Hart again quieted local hotheads in 1894. A contingent of the first march to Washington, DC, of the unemployed and hungry during the country’s worst depression to that point in history, known as Coxey’s Army, was scheduled to arrive in El Paso. Fiery orators easily turned residents against these protestors, who wanted the federal government to provide jobs for them. The sheriff and town marshal called for armed volunteers to repulse the marchers and keep them out of El Paso.

Bridgers stated that Hart, known for his own skills in oration, shamed the townsfolk for attempting to shoot “defenseless men whose only crime was that they were ragged and hungry.” Instead of violence, Hart said, “let us greet them with bread.” Marchers were met not with guns, but with food. This was an example of the compassion Hart displayed throughout his life.

According to Roderick, Hart developed a reputation “as a fearless writer and an honest, incorruptible newspaper man.” This reputation led Hart to be elected the 11th President of the Texas Press Association in 1890. In 1896, Hart was also selected the Democratic candidate for Congress for the 13th District, but he lost by a narrow margin to J. H. Stephens.

In May 1898, Hart was asked to recruit a company of soldiers for the Spanish-American War, which he did through the Times. In three days, 115 men had signed up. Hart was given a commission as Captain and would be known by that title the rest of his life. The war ended before the men finished their training in Galveston. Although Hart’s company never saw combat, President McKinley chose Hart as a member of the Cuba Commission to negotiate Spain’s surrender, as he was fluent in Spanish, among other languages.

According to an El Paso Herald-Post article dated March 4, 1938, Hart acted as an interpreter for Maj. Gen. William R. Shafter after the surrender of Santiago. Hart then served on the staff of Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, who was made military governor of Havana and Pinar del Rio and was also a member of the American evacuation board.

After a year in Havana, Hart returned to El Paso. He began crusading against open gambling and brothels, helping to bring about reform through the mayoral election of Charles R. Morehead in 1902. Morehead and Hart also shared a belief that El Paso needed an adequate supply of well water from the mesas, instead of the muddy Rio Grande. This ultimately led to a municipally owned water company in 1910, ending Hart’s decade-long crusade for “Pure Mesa Water.”

Hart also spent years advocating for a railway to extend north from El Paso. The line, which would eventually run all the way to Kansas City, MO, connected El Pasoans with the cool summer air of Cloudcroft, NM.

Hart was elected President of the Southwest International Miners’ Association in 1902 and shortly thereafter began writing to the Texas State Legislature to establish a school to serve El Paso’s extensive mining industry. This materialized in 1914 with the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy, today known as UTEP.

After a previously unsuccessful attempt at retirement, Hart sold the Times on April 22, 1910. For the first time in more than 25 years, Hart’s voice was silent in the press. Although he remained an El Paso resident, Hart spent his summers in Mountain Park, NM, where he died of a heart attack on July 15, 1918. After the largest funeral in El Paso’s history, Hart’s body was placed in the family tomb built on the homestead and later moved to El Paso’s Evergreen Cemetery in 1936.

Hart never married, but he was considered a charming “man about town.” He was a gifted orator as well as editor. He played the trombone in the McGinty Club band and baseball to entertain El Pasoans. He served his country as an interpreter, and he served his city as a volunteer firefighter. Hart also helped to organize the El Paso Pioneer Association and was the permanent vice president.

To honor Hart’s military service, in 1938, Spanish-American war veterans formed the Juan S. Hart Camp. In 1973, Hart was inducted into the El Paso County Historical Society’s Hall of Honor for being a leading voice as a pioneering editor for almost three decades in all endeavors to move El Paso forward as a city.

(Biography)

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