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Starr County TX
Starr County

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Rio Grande City Hotels


Starr County Seat, South Texas

2622'50"N 9849'6"W (26.380667, -98.818364)

Hwy 83
40 miles W of McAllen
On the Rio Grande
ZIP code 78582
Area code 956
Population: 14,511 Est. (2019)
13,834 (2010) 11,923 (2000) 10,725 (1990)

Book Hotel Here › Rio Grande City Hotels

Rio Grande City TX  Portcheller Building
Rio Grande City Portcheller Building
TE photo, 2001

Rio Grande City, Texas Topics

  • History in a Pecan Shell
  • Rio Grande City Attractions/Landmarks photo gallery
  • Starr County Courthouse next page
  • Lost Photos of Starr County next page
  • Starr County - Towns, ghost towns & vintage maps next page

  • History in a Pecan Shell

    Originally 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.

    HistoricaL Marker - On Courthouse Grounds, US 83

    Rio 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.

    Rio Grande City, Texas
    Landmarks / Attractions

    Rio Grande City, Texas - Starr County Courthouse
    Terry Jeanson, 2006 photo
    The Starr County Courthouse

    The Lee House, Fort Ringgold, Texas
    Photo courtesy George Benoit
    The Lee House

    Fort Ringgold

  • The Starr County Courthouse

  • Fort Ringgold
    Now 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
    (The Sgt Roy Chamberlain Collection c. 1918)

  • The Lee House (Robert E. Lee House)

  • The La Borde House is a charmer and the best part is: You can spend the night there! The furnishings are authentic (with modern plumbing).

  • The 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."

  • Old Rio Grande City Cemetery
    2nd and West streets
    Historic Texas Cemetery
    Established c. 1848

  • Rio Grande City TX  white building
    Rio Grande City
    TE photo, 2001

    Rio Grande City TX  1886 building
    Rio Grande City 1886 building
    TE photo, 2001
    See Pitted Dates of Texas

    Rio Grande City TX  building detail
    Rio Grande City Pena Building
    TE photo, 2001

    Rio Grande City TX  Portcheller Bldg  detail - weather vane
    Rio Grande City Portcheller Buildingweather vane
    TE photo, 2001

    Rio Grande City TX - Easy Easy Terms
    Easy Easy Terms
    TE photo, 2001

    Rio Grande City TX  white building
    TE photo, 2001

    Rio Grande City TX  building
    TE photo, 2001

    Rio Grande City Texas downtown Garmon Theatre
    Garmon Theater downtown
    TE photo, 2002
    See Texas Theatres

    Rio Grand eCity Texas - H & H Drive-in theatre
    H & H Drive-in Theatre north of Rio Grande City
    TE photo, 2002
    See Texas Theatres

    Rio Grande City TX - Carson & Barnes Circus poster
    Carson & Barnes Circus poster
    TE photo, 2001

    Rio Grande City TX - Border Pacific
    Border Pacific
    TE photo, 2001
    See Texas Railroads

    The Lost Photos of Starr County >
    1918 photos courtesy Jim Gesler, Wyoming, NY
    South Texas street scene
    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 building in South Texas
    School -
    School building in Rio Grande City one block east of the courthouse. Destroyed by fire.

    Rio Grande City Chronicles
  • Trouble along the Rio Grande: The First Cortina War by Jeffery Robenault

  • Nearby Destinations

  • If you 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.

  • Don't miss the hand-operated ferry in Los Ebanos.

  • Carmargo 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

    Rio Grande City Hotels

  • Take a road trip

    South Texas

    Rio Grande City, Texas Nearby Towns:
    See Starr County

    Book Hotel Here:
    Rio Grande City Hotels | More Hotels

    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact us.


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