GRANDE CITY, TEXASStarr
County Seat, South Texas
40 miles W of McAllen
On the Rio Grande
Population: 11,923 (2000) 10,725 (1990)
in a Pecan Shell|
formed as part of the Garza Ranch in Mexico, Rio Grande City came
into its own when Henry Clay Davis married into the Garza Family. He and his wife,
Maria Hilaria (she had a great sense of humor) de la Garza moved here to have
some privacy and ended up founding a town.
This was one end of the Steamboat
Route up the River and as such, merchants and money flowed in.
Marker - On Courthouse
Grounds, US 83|
Grande City, C.S.A.An
official Confederate port of entry, customhouse and major terminus of the cotton
road to Mexico. Cotton
was the one great money crop of the South that could be sold to hungry European
mills for cash for necessary arms, munitions, drugs that had to come from Europe.
International ports on the Rio Grande were the South's frail lifelines, its last
resource in a war with an industrialized North that manufactured for its self
what the South had to import. Cotton arrived
at this booming border town on wagons and oxcarts after a hot and dusty trip.
It was then ferried across the river and delivered to the neutral ships anchored
in the Gulf. Teamsters loaded vital leather goods, clothing, blankets, guns, ammunition
and medical supplies for the return trip. Troops from nearby Fort
Ringgold guarded the wagon trains and town from bandit raids. In November
1863 Federal forces captured Brownsville
and the 1st Texas Union Cavalry advanced up river, captured and occupied this
town, seizing the cotton awaiting entry. Rio Grande City was reoccupied in May
1864 and used as a supply and reserve base for the recapture of Brownsville.
There was constant danger here from raids by Mexican guerrillas paid by enemy
agents to make trouble in Texas. Draft evaders,
Union sympathizers and those wanting to avoid conflicts of war tried to cross
the river here. In an arrangement with Mexican officials, Confederates both required
and checked passports to curb desertions and smuggling.
Photo courtesy George Benoit |
Grande City Landmarks/Attractions The
Starr County Courthouse next pageFort
Ringgold next page
occupied by the Rio Grande City Independent School District, this Fort founded
in 1848 after the Mexican War was over, served as a base for protection forces
during periods of bandit raids in the Border area. Named after Major Samuel Ringgold.
The Lost Photos
of Starr County next page
(The Sgt Roy Chamberlain
Collection c. 1918)
The Lee House (Robert
E. Lee House) next pageThe
La Borde House is a charmer and the best part is: You
can spend the night there! The furnishings are authentic (with modern plumbing).
old Guard House and Hospital.The
De La Pena Building has been pleasing visitors for years.
Even the lightning rods are in place. Back of a postcard reads: "This is the most
Mexican town in the U.S."
& H Drive-in Theatre north of Rio Grande City|
TE photo, 2002
La Borde House -|
Main St. in Rio Grande City. The 2 story bldg. on the
right is today's famous restored La Borde House.
| || School
School building in Rio Grande City one block east of the courthouse. Destroyed
are staying in one of the bigger towns down river, don't return before driving
the few miles (Hwy 83 West) to Roma,
rich in South Texas architecture.
miss the hand-operated ferry in Los
is the "sister city" across the river. Both sides have interesting architecture,
perhaps some of the most interesting in the Valley. Rockwork in Mexico and brickwork
in Rio Grande City.
Rio Grande City Tourist Information Rio
Grande City Chamber of Commerce:
601 Main Street 956-487-3024
Hotel > Rio
Grande City Hotels
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