September 16, 1917
El Paso virtually has a second Chamber of Commerce. The newcomer is now four days old, sturdily built and in thriving condition. It was born last Wednesday night at Weston's Sanitary bakery, where the business men of the Five Points neighborhood had met to form such an organization. The new organization was officially named the Five Points Business Men's association. George W. Weston was appointed temporary chairman.
In effect the association is a second El Paso Chamber of Commerce, the avowed purpose of which is to make known to all the central portion of the city that there is in their midst a group of up to date business undertakings which warrant trading there, thus elimination time and carfare spent in making down-town purchases. The Five Points Business Men's association will boost El Paso at every opportunity and continue a campaign in the central portion of the city to let residents know what they have in a business line and the benefits of trading there.
At Wednesday night's meeting a committee composed of R.P. Holmes, T.E. Head and L.A. Lee, were appointed to draft by-laws and a constitution for the organization. R.P. Holmes, chairman of the committee, stated Saturday that the committee had drafted and revised by-laws and a constitution according to the instructions of the association and believed that they would be adopted by the organization with but slight changes.
All Interested May Join
While members of the committee believe it best not to make public the provisions as drafted until after the meeting of the association next Wednesday night, it is known that they provide that after their adoption, any citizen in the Five Points neighborhood, who is interested in promoting the best interest of that community, may become a member. It was said by remembers who attended he organization meeting that a membership campaign might be carried on later, although it appeared from manifestations of those in the vicinity who had heard of the project, that but little work would be necessary to secure the co-operation of many residents having homes and interests there.
Merchants and property owners present at the meeting were J.E. Maloney, A. Maloney, L.A. Lee, R.P. Holmes, I. Jacobson. W.W. Bryan, T.E. Head, J.L. Ballantine, H. Brucker, E.L.W. Polk, George W. Weston, Manuel Aragon, George D. Kendall and several others. The name "Five Points" was favored because the location of the places of business are at a point where Montana street, Elm Street, Piedras street and East Boulevard all meet.
"I have believed for some time that this must come," said T.E. Head Saturday, speaking of the meeting Wednesday night. The location of "Five Points" is as near the center of El Paso as it is possible to locate a center. It is surrounded by the most thriving residence section of the city. There is such a meeting of highways and intersection of street railway and jitne systems that it must necessarily follow that more people pass this location than any other spot in El Paso, with the exception of the busiest down-town district.
Cater to Residence Section
"Undoubtedly considerable good will be accomplished by the body organized," stated Mr. Head Saturday. "Primarily the merchants intend to show the people who reside around Five Points that they can secure almost everything they need very near their homes. There will be an organized effort on the part of the merchants to keep prices down to a point fully as low as is offered down town and to carry in stock, in their respective lines, everything that even the most exacting customer may demand.
"The growth of this neighborhood had been wonderful. It has surpassed the expectations of the most enthusiastic boosters, of whom I have been one. In 1915 there was but little investment at what is now 'Five Points.' Practically all the development has been made since 1916. If you will take the growth during the last 16 months and imagine it continued for even a period of 24 months, it will be seen that within that time nearly one-third of the population of El Paso will be within walking distance of this location. At least that is my calculation, and my estimates on growth in this neighborhood have heretofore fallen short."
Outline Growth of Five Points
R.P. Holmes, chairman of the by-laws committee, stated Saturday that the outlook to accomplish the objects of the association were exceedingly favorable. "There has been a jump in business here at Five Points within the last nine months that cannot rightly be characterized as anything less than a full-fledged boom. We have three drug stores, five groceries, two meat markets, a restaurant, tailor shop, one of the biggest dyeing and cleaning houses in the city, two garages, a dry goods store and two oil filling stations.
"We meet again next Wednesday night to elect permanent officers and pass on the constitution and by-laws. After that I predict that things will move some along the lines laid out by the association."
Most of the merchants of Five Points, in interviews Saturday, called attention to the fact that eight paved thoroughfares lead to the place; that street cars go through Five Points to Manhattan Heights, Grand View, Government Hill, Austin Terrace and to Fort Bliss; that jitne cars via East Boulevard, Montana and Fort Bliss also take thousands of people daily through Five Points. Many called attention to the fact that it is just about a 90-minute ride in any direction from Five Points to the outskirts of the city.
"It is our objet to give to people who live here, better service than they can get down town," said L.A. Lee of the Ideal pharmacy. "That means that we shall endeavor to keep prices on a level with those of down town merchants and thereby save the people around us loss of time and street car fare or gasoline. Long before there were trading posts here, many of the citizens living around Five Points formed the habit of trading down town. People are apt to continue old habits, even when a change may be better, unless the matter of change is forcibly brought to their notice. The object of our association is to show the people what we have in the many excellent establishments here."
Five Points Center of City
A. Maloney of the Piedras grocery and market spoke along the same line, adding: "But very few citizens of El Paso realize what a great number of people go through Five Points every day. It is truly the center of the city. Persons going to and from FortBliss pass here. People from Grand View, ManhattanHeights, Government Hill and other points go through here on their way down town or in going to the Union station.
"Business has grown here so that many passing through have been induced to stop. Yet the majority do not know what we have and they go through on the cars or spinning along in autos without making us a visit. We intend that they shall know what kind of territory they are passing through and shall be shown that nine times out of ten they can get what they are going after in the way of merchandise without proceeding farther."
George W. Weston of Weston's Sanitary bakery called attention to the recent heavy investments made by incoming merchants who have seen the necessity of handling goods equal to the best. "The movement which has crystallized into the Five Points Merchants' association has been fast developing for several months. So rapidly has it progressed that many of us began to notice that our neighbors were doing the same thing-making big investments, adding improvements and making efforts to show the many surrounding residents the advantages of trading in Five Points. As we were all working along practically the same line, it appeared that common interest demanded that we work together that we may sooner accomplish our common object."
Like the majority of Five Points merchants, I. Jacobson stated Saturday that he had been in business but a short time-six weeks-but was enjoying an increasing trade.
Will Learn What People Want
"The general appearance of the neighborhood attracted me," he said. "It is a good residence section and it seemed to me that if the people were offered the same as they get down town at the same price, that they would trade here and save time and money. On that theory I put in a stock of merchandise and find that for the most part my judgment was good. Of course, I have had calls for many things not in stock and those things I have sent for. It will be part of the work of the association we have formed, as I take it, to more fully ascertain what the people wish and supply their wants."
J.L. Ballantine of the Owl Drug store, H. Brucker, tailor, and Manuel Aragon are among those who have backed their judgment by making investments in Five Points, now enjoying a thriving and growing business. It is the belief of these men that within a few months lines of business other than those now in operation, and for which there is a growing demand, will be instituted by men who have been looking over the ground.
W.W. Bryan of Quality Market No. 2, formerly of San Jose, Cal., opened his place of business at Five Points on July 15, 1917. In less than a month the business was on a paying basis and Monday Mr. Bryan will put on another man. "I think by Christmas that I shall have put on two men. I didn't see how the location could fail. It is better than I thought and after we have made a united effort to show the people who live all around us the advantage of trading at home, I am of the opinion that all business interest of Five Points will enjoy another substantial increase." Mr. Bryan is a finished cutter, having first been engaged in Boston. His subsequent experience in the west has made him efficient from cow-punching to cutting a porterhouse steak.
See Better Police Protection
Nor will the efforts of the association be confined to the matter of making known to those in the neighborhood what is to be found near them. General assistance in all matters for the general good will be taken up, say the promoters. As yet these phases have taken no definite form, but it is understood that the matter of additional police protection and improvement of adjacent parks may be taken up at an early date.