On May 15, 2020, we celebrate the centennial of our home at 1918 Texas Avenue!
Over the last 100 years, the building has served as headquarters and administrative offices for several businesses before becoming the El Paso Leadership Academy.
When the building was completed on May 15th 1920, it was world headquarters for the Robert E. McKee Construction company which was in business from 1913 to 1984. They were one of the largest and most important contractors in the United States, at one time employing 42,000 people worldwide! They built countless projects both public and private all over the world including office buildings, hotels, hospitals, schools, theaters, churches, airports, and many government and military projects. During World War II, the company transformed the town of Los Alamos, New Mexico into the super-secret nuclear research facilities and was later awarded the Army-Navy “E” for excellence for their contributions to the war effort.
Here in El Paso McKee literally transformed the city’s skyline with some of the most historic and prominent structures like the Bassett Tower, the El Paso Natural Gas building, State National Bank (Wells Fargo), El Paso National Bank (ONE San Jacinto Plaza), the Hilton (Plaza) Hotel, the Kress Building, the Federal Courthouse, and the Civic Center. The Scottish Rite Temple, Bataan Memorial Trainway, parts of the original El Paso International Airport, the County Coliseum, UTEP Centennial Museum along with several other buildings on the UTEP campus and some of the international bridges. Hospitals such as William Beaumont, R.E. Thomason General, Sun Towers, and Providence.
Many schools in EPISD and surrounding areas can be credited to them such as Coronado, Irvin, Burges, and Andress High schools, not to mention the treasure that is Austin High School and its stadium. McKee built many public utilities like the Robertson-Umbenhauer Water Treatment plant and The Tays public housing project which was El Paso’s first in 1949. They provided the renovations to the building and helped acquire the Samuel H. Kress collection for the El Paso Museum of Art in 1959.
The company’s job list is nothing short of magnificent and extends well beyond this article. After R.E. McKee, 1918 Texas served as the administrative offices for the YWCA and United Way until 2014 when it became the El Paso Leadership Academy. We are very proud of our building’s legacy serving the community and are slowly working to preserve this El Paso landmark.