View the Trustee's rationale for delaying the demolition of the stacks.

Below is a collection of emails to the Site Trustee from citizens who have expressed interest in either having the ASARCO stacks saved or demolished. The subject heading for each email is in bold black text. Emails with their subject headings originally withheld have been indicated by the Trust as either in favor of saving the stacks or in favor of demolishing the stacks.

Keep the Stacks!

Citizens for Saving the Stacks

  • Please place this e-mail as a COMMENT — On your website’s “Stack Demolition Delay” section

    Good morning Mr. Puga.

    [P] Went up to your remediation team’s interesting website — and as suggested kicked on the “Questions to the Trustee” window — and highlighted the pop-out tab that reads “Stack Demolition Delay.” Found the comments for BOTH “delaying” and “not delaying” demolition of the ASARCO smoke stacks most interesting. In addition, found the e-mail exchange on the “Question to the Trustee” window equally interesting.

    [P] Attended your team’s informative update to the community held on November 3, 2011 at the downtown main library. During the QUESTION & ANSWER portion of the meeting — I ASK what would happen if that largest smoke stack were TO EVER FALL DOWN in the future — and you said if it fell towards the border with Mexico — it would fall across the railroad tracks and Paisano.

    [P] Since Paisano is the likely future route of the Border Highway West — you could potentially have a major roadway and railway closed — causing noticeable economic impact. Because of your CAUTION to my question — I provided the BELOW e-mail INPUT to officials — who will be conducting the December 8, 2011 public meeting — on the Loop 375 Border Highway WEST Extension Project. [See newspaper notice at ATTACHMENTS].

    [P] Would you please kindly place this e-mail — as a COMMENT on your website’s “Stack Demolition Delay” section.

    [P] As you’ve done with all comments tastefully posted to that section — I trust you will DELETE the e-addresses of those on my e-mail.

    —————————————– THANK YOU and Sincerely, Mike Rooney.


    —– ONE: Found that MEMORIAL CONCEPT your team had developed — using only the bottom 15-feet of the largest ASARCO smoke stack — most interesting and tasteful. Though you indicated at the November 3rd community update meeting that project is now “on hold” — THANK YOU and your TEAM for that creative, tasteful way to preserve some historical reminder of that old industrial site.

    —– TWO: Though my e-mail comments to Councilwoman Niland — which were placed in the section favorably approving smoke stack demolition delay — please kindly understand I was certainly listening to CONCERNS — expressed by those NOT FAVORING DELAY. Unfortunately, to date I’ve seen NO SOLID IDEAS publically put forth for community consideration — by this “Save the Stack” group. If that group has no concrete ideas they are willing to share with the public — I certainly DO NOT OBJECT — to you demolishing that SMALLER SMOKE STACK as planned early next year!

  • WHY I feel it’s at least prudent — To take this last, second look at the ARARCO smoke stacks

    Good morning Councilwoman Niland.

    [P] Earlier this week I copied you on an e-mail — to El Paso TIMES reporter Chris Roberts and El Paso INC reporter David Crowder — in reference the latest effort to take a relook at the ASARCO smoke stacks. That e-mail was dated October 30, 2011 and entitled “The ASARCO smoke stacks — What does Sapp & Ardovino have in mind??? Could their IDEA be item for next year’s 2012 City QOL bond issue?.”

    [P] The REASON I felt this current, last effort by Gary Sapp, Robert Ardovino and others — was most interesting and probably prudent — was I grew up in Yuma, Arizona — where the old Arizona Territorial Prison — has long been considered a important item of historical value. The city’s first high school — Yuma Union High School — long ago selected as it’s mascot and name — the Yuma Criminals. As a proud CRIM — have my tee shirt from last year’s 50th class reunion.

    [P] Since UTEP was once the School of Mines and chose the name MINERS — and it’s reported ASARCO donated property to help that educational institution — it appears this last minute, 1-year relook is prudent.

    [P] BELOW are three items extracted from the internet — on the Yuma Territorial Prison. In addition, City Manager Joyce Wilson used to be the City Manager of Yuma, Arizona — and should be able to give you additional details on Yuma and that city’s attractions. The reason I’ve always liked El Paso and decided to stay after retiring from the Army — is El Paso is a big Yuma — or put another way, Yuma is a small El Paso.

    [P] Could you please kindly SHARE this e-mail with Gary Sapp and Robert Ardovino?

    [P] As a citizen and property taxpayer — I certainly DO NOT DISCARD the BELOW CAUTIONS — which were reported in Chris Roberts Sunday TIMES article. Specifically:

    ———- “And, as research better characterizes the regional geology, the area now is considered slightly more prone to earthquake activity than it was in the 1960s when the stack was designed and built, she said.”

    ———- “We think it needs to be retrofitted, and we’re not going to back away from that,’ Puga said.”

    ———- “In an email to a RodrĂ­guez staff member, Puga advised ‘careful, prudent judgement.’ He wrote that the tower was maintained when the plant was in operation. For the last 12 years, Puga said, there has been essentially no maintenance. He warned that a collapse could cause fatalities and asked whether the stack could be safely dropped in the future if the surroundings are developed.”

    ———- “Any plan to save the stack will have to not only release the trust from liability, Puga said, but also indemnify it.”

    ———- “I think that’s a very important consideration,’ RodrĂ­guez said of the structural safety concerns. ‘I don’t think it would be wise for us as a community to ignore those facts.”

    ———- “Even if a retrofit is not necessary, there still is the need for liability insurance and periodic maintenance.”

    [P] Therefore, it would be PRUDENT TO KNOW — if one of those smoke stacks was ever to collapse and fall over — how much safe clearance arena is necessary — to prevent damage to any future construction on that ASARCO property? Is 1,000-feet around that smoke stack area — a safe distance? In addition, if all that concrete mass was to ever collapse and fall over — would it create any kind of earthquake like damage to surrounding structures or buildings — or would any potential damage simply be localized?

    ——————————– THANK YOU and Sincerely, Mike Rooney

    Internet article 1 — Yuma Territorial Prison
    Internet article 2 — Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
    Internet article 3 — Yuma Territorial Prison – Arizona’s Version of Devil’s Island
    Internet article 4 — Asarco stacks: New effort under way to save them
    Internet article 5 — Group meets to discuss saving Asarco smokestacks; watch video
    Internet article 6 — Asarco smokestack: El Paso group wants to save landmark

  • Stacks

    Yes i support the saving of the stacks

    -Grady Casner

  • the Asarco stacks

    Good afternoon, Mr. Puga:

    I am in favor of preserving historical icons that represent a key, pivotal element that (for example) Asarco was in the development of El Paso (and the region). It is my hope that you will extend the evaluation period regarding a final decision as to the future of the stacks.

    I traveled throughout Mexico over a 37-years career involving industrial real estate development projects for a private, Chihuahua-headquartered, Mexico company, Intermex.

    On the several occasions that I passed through Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, I always appreciated the use to which that city put its Altos Hornos area; and I feel that (given some additional time) El Pasoans can and will come up with something worthwhile involving Asarco’s stacks.

    Tres Hendrix

  • Delay the demolition

    Mr. Puga,

    We support the delaying of the demolition of the Asarco smoke stacks. El Paso needs a revitalization and this could be a wonderful opportunity to do something good and progressive for the community. Do not demolish the smoke stacks.

    Thank You.

    Rachel and Rudy Aguilar

  • Save the Stacks

    Mr. Puga,

    Thank you for your thoughtful decision to delay demolition of the stacks. We realize it’s a costly endeavor but El Pasoans are passionate.

    You were very helpful in 2010 when the Community Scholars worked on their Asarco report and I know you’re familiar with it. Just in case, here is the link:

    Thank you again,

  • Asarco Smokestacks

    Mr. Puga,

    I’m with Gary. I support the delay in demolition. Let’s think this over before we regret it. Have you been to San Antonio’s Shopping Center at the Quarry?

    Golf, shopping, condominiums, restaurants, bars? They kept the stacks.

    thank you for your attention to this matter.


  • The El Paso Stacks


    Thank you for cooperating with the ongoing effort to save the stacks as an integral element of our cultural heritage. They may have become a bone of contention because of environmental concerns over ASARCO; however, they have great symbolic meaning for many El Pasoans. I believe that they can become a positive element in the reclamation and redevelopment of the area. Hopefully, a plan can be developed during this grace period.

    Mervin Moore

  • ASARCO STACKS- we support the delay

    Mr. Puga,
    My wife and I both support the delay of the ASARCO stack demolition. We appreciate the fact that you are giving this serious consideration.

    We feel the additional year to reflect & analyze the costs (and to strategize on a viable long-term financial vehicle) is a wise decision that, in the long-term, will convert the land from eyesore to historical beacon.

    Joel Guzman
    Selena Solis

  • Save the Stacks

    Dear Mr. Puga,

    It is my hope that you will agree to delay the demolition of the smoke stacks at ASARCO. I have read that you do not see a problem with a delay, and I can see that it will give imaginative minds the opportunity to thoroughly review possibilities for various uses for the symbol that the smoke stacks represent.

    I think almost every community has an example of something that was torn down too quickly. My personal memory is the Alvarado Hotel (a Fred Harvey hotel) in Albuquerque. It was a magnificent structure next to the train station. “All of a sudden” one day it was gone. There is still a huge gap in what could have been downtown Albuquerque.

    Please give us time to consider all options for El Paso.

    Virginia S. Martinez

  • ASARCO Stacks

    Mr. Puga – I support a delay in the demolition of the ASARCO stacks. We can always tear them down later if need be. Let’s not rush the decision. Otherwise, they just become a photo and a memory, instead of Being a part of history.

    David M. Austin

  • Postpone Razing the ASARCO Stacks

    Dear Mr. Puga,

    We agree with allowing the extra evaluation and analysis time requested to consider keeping the ASARCO stacks. Please go ahead an allow the additional study time to evaluate data, resources and options. There should be no harm in allowing for a really well thought out plan.

    Hal Marcus & Patricia Medici

  • Save the Stacks

    Hello Mr. Roberto Puga,

    My name is Ray Granado and I am an assistant principal at an elementary school in the Socorro I.S.D.. I have lived in El Paso for 42 years now and have enjoyed the beautiful scenery and weather of our west Texas town.

    I am a proud El Pasoan who dearly loves the city for its majestic mountains, historic missions, star on mountain, Sun Bowl/UTEP, Cristo Rey and most important the Asarco Smokestacks.

    These are important landmarks that represent El Paso and the people of El Paso. I am writing to you to please think about how these symbols have brought so many memories and affected many people in the history of El Paso for many many years.

    I am willing to donate or contribute to raising funds to keep our icons standing tall and proud.

    Thank you for giving the Smokestacks another year before being demolished. I hope people of El Paso come together to save this signature landmark of El Paso.

    Ray Granado

  • Stacks

    I was not “raised” in El Paso-rather New Mexico. None-the-less, I have watched as a child many historic buildings/icons demolished in the name of progress. Sometimes, of course, justified for the public good….but too often the cry comes later…if only we had not…maybe there could have been another way….was the community well served by that new box building or other grouping of edifices…would the past have served a better purpose.

    I would humbly ask that more time be given to consideration of possibilities for the future use/iconic status of the Asarco stacks. Has anyone not seen, for instance, the awesome silhouette of the stacks against the darken shapes of the mountains during a beautiful, magical El Paso sunset?

    Maybe the stacks cannot be saved…but I would, again, support additional time to consider.

    Thank you,
    Carol Bernstein

  • re: Save the Stacks

    Dear Mr. Puga:

    I write to you in support of Saving the Stacks.

    As a law student at the University of Wisconsin I led a group of peers in writing an amicus brief in Asarco v. TCEQ. Asarco had sued TCEQ to enjoin the agency from a holding a contested case hearing on their (re)permit application. Together with TCEQ (and the Texas Attorney General’s Office) we won that suit and the hearing moved forward.
    ( I also worked to close Asarco as a staff member with former state senator Eliot Shapleigh.

    With that said, my view is that the stacks represent an important part of our El Paso-Juarez history and, more specifically, an important part of our Mexican-American labor history. My grandfather spent his childhood at Asarco. He traveled with his father, a miner, and his family from Mogollon to Silver City to El Paso, following the ore. Unfortunately, those and other stories get lost. They are negligently or sometimes purposefully forgotten. For years I have recognized that El Paso is an historical city without its history. We have incredibly rich, famous, infamous, provocative, personal, entertaining stories to tell — but we fail to write them down; we fail to learn them as a community; we fail to teach them to our children; we fail to share them with others — and we fail to preserve the places where they all happened. Whether it is Alamo Elementary, or the Douglass School, or Asarco, we tend to tear down our past and dismantle our identity – quite literally. (And then we wonder why we are unable to market ourselves. We wonder why we are unable to define ourselves). It is on this last point that we must make difference.

    Regarding seismic retrofitting, I know for a fact that this issue would have never come up if the federal government had not intervened. Allow me to emphasize the word: “never.” It was never raised as an issue by Asarco or Texas in the permit application. As far as the state was concerned, Asarco was good to go and ready to re-open in 2008. Asarco would have reopened, would be operating today, and no one would have ever known or now know the difference. These two incompatible tracks of possibility separated by nothing more than a fact of ownership and liability, rather than the fact of the stack’s actual safety, stand beyond reason. Either the stacks are safe or they are not. You say they are not. Asarco and Texas never said a word. However, as with most matters, a more practical answer likely exits somewhere in-between. I would encourage you to continue to work with our community to find that answer. We must save these stacks and preserve our story.

    In terms of a future vision, I have long believed that The Quarry in San Antonio serves as a model. Given the lack of retail in the area and the presence of UTEP’s large student population, I would think there would be some viability to such a project. In fact, as you are likely aware, other retail projects already in the planning stages in the area: In addition, I believe such a project may be tied into a federal Mexican-American and/or Immigration museum project. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum may serve as models. (For background on a similar local project, I have attached a 2002 article on UTEP’s immigration museum project proposed for the same area). Any vision that may be construed as patronizing, transient, and of low quality should be approached critically. We deserve better.

    Rather, an innovative mix of federal, state, and private funding through a compliment of private-public projects may transform this historic area into a treasure genuinely reflecting and embraced by our El Paso community.

    Thank you for your time and consideration of these points.
    E. Anthony Martinez

  • ASARCO Stacks

    Dear Mr Puga,

    For so many El Pasoans like myself we can’t remember a time that the ASARCO stacks didn’t exist. Many say they’re an eyesore or that they’re a reminder of what a company’s effects had on our environment. However ASARCO employed many families in our community including my grandfathers business Vowell Construction Company who helped in the construction of the largest stack.

    El Paso as a city is always talking about how we can promote the city and bring more tourism here. Don’t tear done the stacks but use them to enhance and bring some good to our community, they are a part of the history of this city that should be preserved.

    Janice Vowell Alexander

  • Stacks


    I have lived here most of my life. I think we can turn the stacks around for something fun and beneficial to the pride of El Paso. Could we climb up them and use them as a lookout point? Could we put different designs or messages like the examples you all have? Why spend the money to tear them down when we can work with them? I think it would be architecturally interesting to see something built around the stacks using them as a focal point.

    Thanks for you time and effort!

    p.s. Thanks Auntie for forwarding me this message! XO

  • Stacks

    Please SAVE the Stacks.

    -armida gonzalez

  • Save the Asarco Smoke Stack

    Dear Mr. Puga,

    The history of Asarco is integrated into the cultural psyche of this community. In fact, our family has enjoyed the view of the smoke stack from our home on Rim Road for four generations. Scenic views are an important part of why people live in this area. Please respect not only our community’s long history of this venture but the greater national industrial legacy.

    Please give this community a chance. We would love the opportunity to turn this project into a prideful success!

    Thank you,
    Suzanne Dipp

  • Save the Stacks

    Dear Mr. Puga,

    I understand that as a project director you have your plate full right now with this matter. I have a desire to see the towers remain in view for the landmark historic position in the region that they represent for El Paso. It was explained to me yesterday that you were hired to take the project to completion and demolishing the stacks (while delayed temporarily) is what you are compensated to do. It was also brought to my attention that they sway approx. 12′ from left to right in the wind which is a critical concern–not to mention the fact that it takes approximately $10,000 to change the lights a top the stack to prevent airplanes from crashing into them & approximately $900K for annual maintenance… How true is the foregoing cost associated with the stacks? As a concerned citizen, I support the “save the stacks” cause because my Dad retired from Asarco and as a copper miner’s daughter my family has a lot of attachment (history) to those landmarks. However, only if there is appropriate funding to safely maintain the stacks’, in a written fashion that is. I am receptive to your input and am unable to attend the session at the Mills bldg. next week due to a Board meeting that was previously scheduled. For the record, please note that many friends from retired Asarcoans have voiced to me that they would hate to see the Southwest “Twin Towers” taken down. Thank you for your review and attention and you can reach me at the number below for follow up and comment if needed.

    From the desk of,
    Sandra A. Attaguile


    Mr. Puga

    I have been a resident of El Paso since moving here with my parents in 1961. I attended middle and high school here, and have been a practicing lawyer here since my licensure in 1975, except for a period of years in which I was a state employee in Austin. The ASARCO stacks are an historic monument to a critical period of El Paso’s history, and they should be preserved for the edification of coming generations. I strongly support a delay in their demolition for whatever duration may be necessary to assure the preservation of such an important historical treasure.

    Robin Norris

  • Please Stop and Think about the Asarco SmokeStack Demolition


    My name is peter svarzbein and i am a concerned citizen form the great city of El Paso. There is a lot that can be done with the grizzled treasure that is the Asarco smokestacks. We should as a community exhaust every avenue towards payment, and research of costs before destroying what is an industrial monument. We are currently going to destroy a smokestack that will never be built on such a scale by human beings ever again. The Egyptians didn’t knock down their pyramids and El Paso should not knock down our history as well. Thank you for you time and concern

    Peter Svarzbein

  • Smoke Stacks/El Paso

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am willing to join the advocate group to think about the possibilities before the iconic stacks are removed. I support a delay in the demolition.

    I am a resident of El Paso.

    Judith K Jumper

  • Save the Asarco Stacks

    Mr. Puga,

    This message is to show my support for the preservation of the Asarco stacks in El Paso.

    I believe they are of great historical value for the citizens of this area. Even for those who feel resentment toward the smelter, for these the stacks could serve a remainders of what once was and should not be again.

    Thank you for your consideration and support,
    Jorge Ojeda, P.E.

  • Email in Favor of Saving the Stacks

    Dear Mr Puga,

    As a native El Pasoan I advocate that you delay the demolition of the ASARCO stacks. They are a very large part of our history, and deserve special consideration.

    Max Prestridge

  • RE: Save the Stacks!

    Mr. Puga

    count me in on the interest to save the stacks. I’d like to learn more about the effort before deciding to invest my heart and time. I appreciate staying in the loop.

    Gina Carameros

  • Email In Favor of Saving the Stacks

    I’m sure we can find a way to make money of the stacks! Let’s wait on demolition

    Thank you
    Jorge fitzmaurice

  • Stacks

    Mr. Puga,

    As a citizen of El Paso that lives close to the ASARCO “stacks” I would like to support the position of their retention.

    El Paso has lost many of the things that made it unique. For example, the trollies, the crocodiles in the Plaza park, and many other historically significant items. The ASARCO stacks are an iconic landmark that if used correctly can be great feature on the El Paso landscape.

    I am not writing this in my official capacity, but as a citizen that looks out at the stacks on a daily basis. Please reconsider the decision to tear them down.

    Gerald W. Cichon

  • yes

    I am in. Lets save the stack !!!

    Angel Beltran Jr



    -Cassandra Hernandez

  • Save the stacks

    Mr. Puga:

    I am another citizen that would like to see the future of the stacks saved from demolition. I see them as part of the El Paso History-scape and think that we as a community can work with them as other cities have with theirs. I urge you and your company to do the right thing and listen to the El Paso community in regards to the future of theses beloved stacks.

    Frank Lopez

  • Keep the stack. Thx Robert !

    Keep the stack. Thx Robert!

    Steve Yellen

  • In Support of Saving the Stacks

    Mr. Puga,

    Per Mr. Sapp’s email, I would like to express my support for the postponement of the stacks’ demolition and hopefully, the ultimate decision to save the stacks and utilize them in a productive way.

    Additionally, I am the President and Creative Director of Two Ton Creativity. We are a full service Marketing Communications Firm based here in El Paso. My personal experience includes marketing positions at companies in San Diego, Phoenix, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Washington, DC before returning here to found Two Ton. If for any reason, a marketing perspective would be required, I would be happy to contribute my time and resources. I have been involved in several Economic Development efforts and can give firsthand examples of where landmarks, whether through redevelopment and/or repurposing, or via public art projects have contributed to economic development.

    Thank you for your open mindedness and for your willingness to continue this discussion.

    Morris Pittle

  • Save the stacks

    Dear Mr. Puga,

    I am writing to express my concern with the demolition of the Asarco stacks and to communicate the viability of the conversion of the stacks into part of the industrial patrimony of the city of El Paso. As you can see in the attach pdf and link, in Barcelona, where I was born and grew up, the industrial stacks have been preserved and now serve as important cultural, historical, and artistic patrimony of the city. It would be a terrible loss to our city to demolish them.

    -Juan Ferret


    Dear Mr. Puga:

    I strongly support the delay of the demolition of the smokestack. More study of the alternative uses for both Historical and Commercial purposes should be explored. A great use for both avenues is worth further study.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    PS My father Adin A. Brown, a 44 year former employee of ASARCO, was Vice President and Board member of ASARCO in charge of Mining from 1956-1967. This factor, however, has nothing to do with my above recommendations. The Smelting and Mining Divisions were world apart; with little love lost.

    Irving J. “Sonny” Brown, SIOR

  • Asarco Stacks

    Mr. Puga,

    I hope this message finds you doing well. I wanted to thank you for all the support you’ve given my organization, Community Scholars, over the past few summers–it really has been a tremendous opportunity to tour the site multiple times and sit down with you.

    I write to you today as a private citizen to express my support of delaying the demolition of the stacks present on the site. I believe more discussion is needed to ensure that the community is ready to accept letting such an important part of our history be demolished.

    Interestingly enough, the 2009 Scholars report about Asarco called for a replica stack to be constructed on site to spur redevelopment. At the heart of that recommendation was the idea that the towers are indeed iconic and deserve a place in any future redevelopment.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Jose M. Landeros

  • In Favor of Saving the Stacks

    Hello Mr. Puga,

    I want to commend you for delaying the demolition of the Asarco towers. I hope you determine that they can become a lasting landmark in our city. Creative vision comes in all shapes and sizes and I appreciate that you have the patience to see this one through a thoughtful process.

    Laura Lynch

  • Asarco Stack

    Good morning Mr. Puga,

    I am writing to express my strong support for keeping the Asarco stack. The stack should be turned into a creative contemporary art icon that could garner international positive attention for El Paso. Specifically, I am referring conducting an international call for proposals for a public art project. The idea would be to turn the stack into a landmark like the St. Louis arch or a clever use of postmodern materials like the Cadillac Ranch in Texas. The search for the proposal, the implementation of the work and the final product would all bring positive media coverage to El Paso. The notoriety and visibility of the final project would bring many travelers off of I-10 to admire and photograph it and spend a buck or two.

    I believe a project like this would help brand our city as one that that appreciates creativity and help in bringing in new business.

    Best regards,
    Moses Ayoub

  • ASARCO Stacks

    Mr. Puga,

    I have been an admirer of your work with the ASARCO site ever since you came to town. What you have accomplished to date is very impressive.

    I am writing to ask you to please postpone the removal of the ASARCO stacks. There does need to be a dialog within the community. I realize you told “us” a long time ago that unless you hear from the community, you would proceed as planned. I apologize for “us” waiting until this relatively last minute.

    I personally feel we need to preserve this icon so that it may continue to add to the sense of place of El Paso.

    Scott Winton

  • Demolition of Asarco Stacksl

    Mr. Puga:

    As we discussed this week, I support a delay in the planned demolition of the Asarco stacks to allow community members an opportunity to explore options in maintaining the stacks as part of a viable redevelopment of the site. I appreciate your willingness to allow further community input on this matter and look forward to working with you.

    Senator Jose Rodriguez

  • Save the Stacks


    I am not an El Paso constituent. But, I do live in Marfa, Texas and I am in El Paso all the time.

    The stacks are iconic El Paso. I support saving them and would hate to see them demolished.

    Please add my name and my husband’s name, Camp Bosworth, to the list.

    Thank you.

    buck johnston

  • save the smokestacks

    Hi Robert,

    just read the article in the Inc. My grandfather Brownie Brown (Irving James from Massachusetts…graduate of MIT); his children Alyn Morton my mother, Sonny Brown and Mary Jo Holik’s(deceased) father was the General Manager of the Mining and Smelter operations stationed here in El Paso. He started with the company in Parral, Chih. , Mexico as the superintendent of the mine called La Prieta. There he met and married my grandmother, Margarita Hyslop and the 3 children, Mary Josephine, Margaret Alyn and Irving James ( Sonny) Brown were born in Parral.

    They moved to El Paso when mom (Margaret Alyn) was 16 years old….late 1940’s….1948. They lived in a Mabel Welch home on Gold Street in the Manhattan district-Memorial park area of El Paso. He was a very well respected Company Director of Mining Operations stationed here in El Paso and was later relocated to New York in an executive position. AS & R as it was referred to back in the day was a very well respected company in it’s time….read Atlas Shrugged for the companies that formed, shaped and made America the industrial powerhouse for what it was…

    though much maligned today, AS & R provided El Paso with a majority of El Paso’s jobs and their economic contribution was a significant factor in our regions growth as the “Paso del Norte”.

    I am happy to lend my support and whatever efforts to save the smelter smokestacks.


  • Asarco smoke stacks

    There have been some very artsy projects suggested and it would seem a shame to spend the money to destroy as opposed to adding an artistic statement to what exists. I am an El Paso native and now live in Houston. Please allow El Paso to shine as an ART FORWARD COMMUNITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Marsha Capen

  • Asarco Smokestacks – Delay Demolition

    Mr. Puga,

    I support delaying the demolition of the smokestacks. As a native El Pasoan, I think these structures signify our history and physical location in the Pass of the North. Your current work demonstrates that whatever negative connotations have been attached to the smelter are settled for good. I, for one, do not wish to erase an important reminder of the origins of this community. These stacks can be a part of the future by demonstrating how we’ve progressed as a community; and they can signify our comfort with our history, good bad or ugly.

    John C. Karlsruher, P.E.

  • Asarco

    Robert, thanks for hearing El Pasoans out on this matter. This is our landmark. We support a serious discussion on the matter of saving the stacks.

    Will C. Brown

  • ASARCO Stacks

    Mr. Puga:

    I am writing you to thank you for delaying the demolition of the ASARCO stacks and to let you know of my interest in working to retain them. Thank you.

    Mike Ainsa

  • Letter from City Council Representative Susie Byrd in Support of Saving the Stacks

    Mr. Puga:

    As you know, there is a wide public support for preserving the ASARCO smokestack. It has been an identifying monument in our landscape for decades. Most El Pasoans that I speak with would like to see the smokestack preserved and made a permanent part of the redevelopment of the site.

    To date, the difficulty has been that no one has stepped up to finance the preservation and long term maintenance of the ASARCO smokestack. Recently, a group of very motivated private citizens has stepped up to find the money and the mechanism to preserve the smokestack. From my perspective, the preservation of the smokestack could be possible with strong private sector leadership and funding and public sector support and funding.

    I appreciate your willingness to provide a moratorium on the preservation of the smokestack for a year to allow the group to find the necessary funds and to develop the legal entity to take on the liability of the smokestack. I am continually impressed by your willingness to let the redevelopment of this site be guided by community values and priorities.


    Susie Byrd
    City Council Representative
    District 2

    Read original letter

Bring The Stacks Down!

Citizens for Demolishing the Stacks

  • demolish the stacks on schedule

    Hello Mr. Puga:

    I was very dismayed by your decision to grant an extension for demolishing the stacks and hope that you will reconsider. I have a conflict tomorrow evening and will not be able to attend the meeting.

    One reason why you have not received many emails by the “stacksdown” people is because we did not even know about this new development until we read about it in Sunday’s paper. I check your website frequently, and even now it still says that the stacks are on schedule for demolition in February of 2012. We did not have a chance to orchestrate our own email blast and orchestrated it was. Sunday’s article was also misleading since the reference to public funds and indemnity did not occur unitl the end of a rather lengthy article. Although many of the “prostacks” people are my neighbors and associates, I was distressed to see these private interest groups willing to sacrifice public safety for their cause. Turning the fate of this project that could have long-term financial and public safety repercussions for our community over to a group that does not even have a business plan and is willing to cut costs on the assumption that “that will never happen here” sounds a lot like BP and Hurricane Katrina reasoning. El Pasoans did not think that they needed flood insurance either until Storm 2006. Taxpayers are still paying for that one.

    Please reconsider your extension. Our community is not financially wealthy as a whole. Only a relatively small segment of our community has a lot of disposable income, and we cannot afford to pay for the private sector’s possible failure; it is a risky venture. El Paso is not too big to fail. No one will bail us out when your trust is gone. It will not be a matter of city officials wanting to spend funds; they will have to spend funds to ensure our safety. I find this whole process highly unethical and dangerous to the public welfare–a public opinion poll should not decide a project that still threatens public safety. I know that you care for our community’s safety since you stressed the danger and your commitment to our welfare in the article.

    I have attached a copy of an article that I submitted to the paper which will probably not get published. Still, it does further outline my concerns. (Although I was a bit angry when I wrote it.)

    Thank you for your service to our community. Although I understand and sympathize with the prostacks position of my neighbors, I support your original plan because I believe that your initial plan has the best interests of our community in mind while still recognizing the cultural significance of ASARCO.


    Lisa McNiel
    Assistant Professor of Speech
    El Paso Community College

  • Asarco smokestack

    Let the demolition begin! Every time I see it while driving on I-10 reminds me of the yellow haze, the students gasping for breath as the traversed UTEP’s cardiac hill, the condemnation of a historical neighborhood and the high lead concentrations found in its juvenile population, and the soil contamination of the westside neighborhoods that were in the path of its plume. The sooner it’s gone the better!


  • Why the Asarco Smoke Stacks Must Be Razed

    Dear Ms. Schell and Mr. Puga:

    I sent this to you some time ago, but from recent events it seems that re-sending it may be appropriate.

    To call the stacks a “historically important landmark”, as though equating them with the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building, is absurd and a sacrilege. If the only thing El Pasoans can look to is these unsightly, dirty and undoubtedly still polluted monstrosities, it is very sad. I know of thoughtful people other than Robert Ardovino who want the stacks retained, but every one of them has a rosy retrospective view that amazingly (to me) ignores the many employees and citizens in both El Paso and Juarez whose health was ruined by emissions from those stacks.

    Please, let us move ahead, clean up the site, raze the stacks and start a new chapter for El Paso as a progressive city, not the garbage dump Asarco made of it in the past. Perhaps we can then build a small Eiffel Tower on the site!

    Thank you.

    Malcolm S. Mitchell, M.D. (Medical Oncology)

  • Please bring down the stacks

    Mr. Puga,

    The ASARCO stacks are not historic — the tall one was built in 1967. As a member of the El Paso County Historical Commission, I can tell you that the State of Texas doesn’t even consider structures for historic designation unless they’re 50 years or older. The tall stack is only 44.

    The stack is an eye-sore.

    I can understand maintaining the first several feet and making that into a museum. But the whole stack? That’s not necessary.

    Let’s not allow El Paso to continue to look like an industrial waste dump.

    Thank you,

    Michael McElroy

  • Re: Yearlong stay of execution for Asarco stacks?


    Great letter to Mr. Puga. I’m really not surprised at what is happening with the asarco stacks as there is much corruption in this part of the country. I do not trust what is going on here! Until those stacks are down ( as promised ) anything goes on that property.

    Very Disappointed,
    Debbie Kelly

  • RE: Yearlong stay of execution for Asarco stacks?

    Mr. Puga,

    I’m quite disappointed in you. I thought you were a man of utmost integrity and that your word was to be trusted.

    The community has already spoken–both sides. You had spoken and gave the community a year to come up with the $14 million plus the $100,000 a year for safe upkeep and I hear from my contacts that the yearly amount has increased. The first year has passed. It is over. After this year passes, then what, will it be another year to give some other group a time to get their picture in the papers.

    Plus the community did not know the decision was open. It is not on your website. It has not been publicized. This group does not have the money. How long is this going to go on? Plus, per the “Times”, the study you conducted to determine how to stabilize the stacks is already being questioned by Robert Ardovino who runs a restaurant not an engineering firm.

    Per the El Paso Times poll results this morning, 50.6 percent want the stacks demolished and for the community to MOVE ON, 45.3 don’t. Last year 80% wanted the stacks demolished once they found out the cost as the taxpayer doesn’t want this coming out of our taxes. And that is what will happen unless you stand by your word.

    If any group had come up with the money within the year you specified, I wouldn’t have been happy but I would have supported you as that was fair. But this is not.

    The mayor doesn’t want this to go on again nor does the city manager or members of our council per “El Paso, Inc”.

    Please stop this nonsense and abide by you original decision—keep your word!!!

    Peggy McNiel


    Dear Mr Puga

    Please do not delay the removal of this (ASARCO) eyesore from El Paso skyline>

    Thank you
    Dr. J. Barriac

  • Asarco

    Dear Mr. Puga,

    I simply cannot understand why you have given Robert Ardovino and Gary Sapp an entire year to come up with a plan!! How did this happen after meeting for one day??

    You have done such a good job – until now.

    These men have dollar signs in their eyes – “attach advertising to it”? – they’re already selling the spots – we’ll have a great big billboard in the sky! These men have their own personal gain in mind, not the good of this community.

    Unfortunately, I’ll be out of town on Thursday and will miss your meeting. Please count me as one of those who is in favor of your original decision, to take the smoke stacks down. You were correct in your analysis, and unfortunately have been swayed by a couple of good salesmen. What a huge disappointment! I wish you could “take it back”!

    Marcia Turner

    PS As for the Times poll – I can assure you that Robert and Gary have all their people voting….while the rest of us were pretty much unaware of the poll, thought the issue was done, and can’t believe we have to go through all this again! Please don’t put too much faith in the poll – the numbers won’t be a true reflection of this community’s wishes.

  • Don’t Save the Stacks

    Hi Mr. Puga,

    I am a neighbor of Joel’s who owns/renovated 628 W. Yandell, one of the Trost homes. I appreciate Joel’s effort but I couldn’t disagree more. My first memory of arriving to El Paso and seeing those ugly towers was simply – ugh, is this where I live now? I later came to love the city and we hope to bring our children back there someday when we retire from the Army, if not sooner. I would like El Paso to preserve its history like a museum or antique store does, selectively. Not everything big and old is worth keeping or giving it a status of prominence just because it is big and old. To me, our downtown architecture = museum/antique store; the stacks = junk shop. For those of us in Sunset Heights who have homes with views oriented towards the mountains, and not downtown, those stacks are like a cleft palate on the otherwise beautiful face of Mother Nature.

    Katherine Lehmann