• Sit for a spell under a cottonwood tree and view the Franklin Mountains, seemingly nestled between the U.S. and Mexico flags in front of the visitor center. The two flags reflect our heritage; this land once belonging to Mexico and now to the U.S.

    Chamizal

    National Memorial Texas

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  • New Hours!

    Beginning October 1, the grounds of the memorial will be open to the public from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. This applies to all foot traffic and vehicles. For questions, call (915) 532-7273.

  • ¡Horario Nuevo!

    A partir del 1ero de octubre, se abren los terrenos del parque desde las 7 a.m. hasta las 10 p.m. Esto vale para el tráfico peatonal igual al de vehículos. Si tiene preguntas, llame al (915) 532-7273.

  • Phone System Problems

    We are currently experiencing problems with our automated phone system. For general information or to speak to someone in the visitor center, please dial 915-532-7273, extension 113, between 10 am and 5 pm. We apologize for any inconvenience.

  • Problemas Telefónicos

    Actualmente existen problemas con el sistema telefónico. Para información general o para comunicarse con el centro de visitantes, marque 915-532-7273, extensión 113 entre las horas de 10 am y 5 pm. Disculpe la molestia.

  • Construction Activity Near E Paisano Drive and S San Marcial Street

    If entering the park from E Paisano Drive and S Marcial Street please be extra cautious. Pay close attention to the temporary road signs during the ongoing construction activity there.

  • Construcción por las Calles San Marcial y Paisano

    Al dirigirse hacia el parque desde el lado de las calles Paisano y San Marcial, tenga mucho cuidado. Preste atención a la señales temporales de construcción mientras realizan esa obra.

A Little Black Box

The Black Box

The Black Box is currently on display in the Administration Building.

NPS

A Little Black Box

This ISN'T a black box you would find inside an airplane. So what is it?

On December 13, 1968 in El Paso, Texas, President Lyndon B. Johnson and President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz met on the Santa Fe Bridge for the Inaugural Ceremony of the new concrete-lined channel named in honor of Adolfo López Mateos, who had initiated the settlement of the Chamizal dispute five years before.

So why the black box?
A temporary dirt dam to hold back the water had been built upstream and the plan was to have both presidents turn the key to arm the box. A light would come on and then they would simultaneously push the red buttons to detonate an explosive charge to blow up the dam and have a gush of water flow through the channel.

As it turns out, the Secret Service did not allow for all that wiring to be near the presidents. Instead an engineer was on standby and when he saw that the presidents had pushed the red buttons, he radioed down to another engineer who was supposed to detonate the charges. Well, when the charge was detonated, nothing happened! All that was seen was a puff of smoke! In haste, engineers bulldozed the dam so the river could flow through, for two nations and two presidents were anxiously awaiting the gush of water from the Rio Grande to flow through the new channel.

 
Presidents LBJ and Díaz Ordaz with the black box
US President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mexican President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz on the Santa Fe Bridge in downtown El Paso, Texas.
December 13, 1968

Did You Know?

U.S. and Mexico flags

The Mexican flag is flown at Chamizal National Memorial out of respect for the sentiments that made the Chamizal Convention of 1963 a reality. The United States flag will always be on the left as you face the Memorial. More...