"Reopen Lincoln Center" is a community campaign to help us reopen Lincoln Center in El Paso, Texas, as the first Chicano cultural arts center in a city with over an 80% Mexican and Chicano/a population.
The Lincoln Park Subdivision was registered in the El Paso City Clerk’s office in 1909. That same year, Lincoln Center (formerly the old Lincoln School) opened as a two-room school in the Concordia School District #2, later expanding to a red brick building with a basement and 13 rooms in 1915. Lincoln School educated thousands of Mexican children for over 50 years.
In 1970, with the creation of Interstate-10, the City of El Paso sold the building to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for $20,000. Later TxDOT leased the building to the City of El Paso to be used for a “community purpose” and the Lincoln Cultural Center was created.
During the 2006 floods, Lincoln Center was closed by the City of El Paso citing water and mold damage. In 2011, the city moved to demolish the building but the Lincoln Park Conservation Committee (LPCC), a Neighborhood Association, who sponsors the annual Lincoln Park Day, opposed its demolition and advocated for a stay until a plan could be put in place to reopen the building.
In 2012, the City of El Paso, who had been leasing the building from TxDOT, returned it to them and again recommended that the building be demolished. Again, LPCC asked for an extension on the demolition until we could come up with a plan to save it.
In early 2013, the LPCC partnered with the Senecu Fine Arts Society, (SFAS) Inc. and with Senator José Rodriguez’s (29th Senatorial District) Office to support the reopening of Lincoln Center. Recent inspections of the building have revealed that the building is in great shape and there is no water or mold damage as claimed by the city. It will not take millions of dollars as previously stated by the City of El Paso to bring it up to code. It can be reopened for much less.
To demolish a structurally sound 104-year-old building that was once one of the region’s early Mexican schools and and later became the city’s first Cultural Arts Center, would be a tragedy. We think it is the right time to reopen Lincoln Center. If we do not reopen it, the building will be demolished.
Become a part of history by saving a historic building in a historic Mexican and Chicano community. Join me in my efforts to raise funds to reopen Lincoln Center. Make your voice be heard--no more demolition of historical structures in El Paso! Make your donation today. Thank you!