We’ve all heard people call El Paso Chucotown or just Chuco.
If you walked down the streets of El Paso in 1942, you probably wouldn’t think much of a man wearing an oversized suit and fedora hat. The style was pretty popular back then, however, today little is publicly known about the culture that eventually lead to our city’s most notable nickname: Chuco Town.
They’re called Pachucos. For men, that usually means that they wear a large suit, coupled with high-waisted, wide-legged trousers, and a long coat with big lapels and huge shoulders, or zoot suits. The Women’s style isn’t too different. Their version includes wearing men’s-style pants and a coat. It wasn’t rare to see both out on a night on the town in El Paso back then.
The Pachuco culture originated in El Paso and Juarez and eventually spread to Northen states.
“Between 1940 and 42, people migrated from Mexico over here to El Paso to work on the railroad,” said Susie Melendez in a newly released YouTube video by Only in El Paso. “Once they hit California, they were always asked, ‘para donde la llevas’ (where are you going?) And they would say Para El Chuco. Pachuco.”
The video was directed and produced by El Pasoan Viridiana Villa, in collaboration with the local no-profit Pachucos & Pachucas unidos 915, and the Pachuca Model Bobby Ramirez. Music is by Roberto Portillo.
Watch the full video below.