February 8, 1937
Peter E. Kern, colorful El Pasoan who made and lost four fortunes and opened Kern Place here, was killed today by a Texas & Pacific passenger train at Arlington, Tex.
Mr. Kern, inmate of the 'Masonic Home for the aged, was taking his morning stroll when he was struck by the train, officials notified John Rice, prominent Mason of El Paso.
Here In 1881
Mr. Kern has been in the Masonic Home for the Aged at Arlington for the past five years. He left El Paso after a hectic career, saying he was "tired and willing to rest out his years in a peaceful place."
Mr. Kern came to El Paso in 1881 and went into the jewelry manufacturing business. He sold $2,000,000 worth of jewelry in 17 years. He lost his money, and in 1889 went to Alaska. He got there for the Klondike Gold Rush.
He bought diamonds on credit and sold them, "cleaning up."
With his Alaskan fortune, Peter E. Kern returned to El Paso in 1910 on the advice of a fortune teller. He spent $50,600 developing Kern Place in 1913. He built the famous "Kern Place Gate" at the entrance of the subdivision. It was a combination of Indian symbols on which 444 electric lights burned nightly for a year. World war conservation measures darkened the sign.
Mr. Kern became involved in financial difficulties. He assigned his property to the banks. His last venture in El Paso was an attempt at a comeback a little more than five years ago. He sponsored the development of Crazy Cat Mountain near Kern Place. Failing health and old age defeated him in this venture. He was finally sent to Arlington by El Paso Masons.
Mr. Kern was a member of the El Paso Lodge No. 130 for 50 years. Plans for his funeral in Arlington are tentative. Interment will be in the Masonic Home Cemetery there.
Mr. Kern is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Madeline Merz of New York City.