EL PASO’S BOOT HILL
Concordia Cemetery, resting place of famous (and infamous) El Pasoans began with the simple grave of Juana Ascarate in the 1840s, deceased wife of Chihuahuan trader Hugh Stephenson. By the 1880s, the graveyard had achieved a regional popularity, providing eternal residence for settlers, civic leaders, ranchers, and politicians. It also accommodated outlaws and gunfighters, earning the name “El Paso’s Boot Hill” after the famous Boot Hill graveyard, named for the number of the outlaw inhabitants who died with their boots on. Infamous outlaws buried in Concordia include “Shotgun” John Collins, gunslinger and cattle rustler, L. Bass, drunkard and murderer, and John Wesley Hardin who quipped, “I never killed anyone who didn’t need killing.”
Most of the Chinese burials in El Paso took place in Concordia and it is the only place in Texas to have a Chinese cemetery.The Chinese came to El Paso with the railroad as workers and chose to stay.
There is also an area set aside for Buffalo Soldiers and contains a memorial monument.
The historic cemetery survives under the care of the Concordia Heritage Association, a non-profit with a mission to provide education and cultural and historical programs related to the cemetery and El Paso history. Ghost tours, an annual Dia de Los Muertos celebration, history walks, special projects, and meetings with the John Wesley Hardin Secret Society keep the cemetery calendar full. Who knew a graveyard could be so lively?