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Cameron County TX
Cameron County

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Brownsville Hotels



On the Rio Grande
Across the border from Matamoros, Mexico

Cameron County Seat, Texas Gulf Coast / South Texas

25° 55' 49" N, 97° 29' 4" W (25.930278, -97.484444)

Hwy 77 and Hwy 281
25 miles S of Harlingen on Hwy 77
159 miles S of Corpus Christi
272 miles S of San Antonio
347 miles from Houston
516 miles from Dallas
ZIP Codes 78520–78523, 78526
Area code 956
Population: 186,738 (2020)
175,023 (2010) 139,722 (2000) 107,027 (1990)

Book Hotel Here > Brownsville Hotels

Historic Brownsville Museum Southern Pacific Railroad Depot Brownsville Texas
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007
Historic Brownsville Museum

History in a Pecan Shell
Build a fort, start a war.

Fort Brown

Brownsville was named for a Lt. Brown who was killed when the Fort bearing his name was under construction and attack in 1846. Zachary Taylor's building of this fort in disputed territory started the Mexican War. It's possible, but unlikely that they announced the fort would be named after the first soldier killed. How's that for an incentive program?

Many of the original buildings still exist, since the Fort was only deactivated in 1945. These buildings can be seen on what is now the campus of University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost Jr. College.

The Campus includes a nice view of a resaca - which is the local name for ox-bow lakes caused by the meandering Rio Grande.

Fort Brown TX, 1904-1918, Cameron County
Old Photo courtesy Dan Whatley Collection
Fort Brown

Brownsville, Texas
Landmarks, Attractions & History

Brownsville TX - Cameron County Courthouse Skylight
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2006
Cameron County Courthouse

1912 Cameron County Jail Brownsville Texas
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2006
Cameron County Jail

Old Brownsville City Cemetery  view,Texas
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007
Brownsville City Cemetery

Stillman House
& Brownsville

Brownsville Tour

Located off Highway 77 before you get to the border, this is an essential stop. Exit F.M. 809.

Follow the signs for parking and you'll also see the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce. This is a good place to start your tour.

Pick up a map and information. Maps of The Brownsville Heritage Trail are available here, as well as Matamoros Information and other local points of interest.

Two of the pamphlets to be sure to get are
The Cameron County Historical Marker Trail Guide and the Hidalgo County Historical Marker Travel Guide. Ours were picked up this month but both bear the date 1998. That's the good thing about history, unless something is unearthed (or exhumed) not much changes.

Brownsville Texas Green Parrot
Green Parrot
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007

  • Old City Cemetery
    Elizabeth St. runs the length of downtown, ending at the Old City Cemetery. For birders, both ends (Ft. Brown and the Cemetery) abound with flocks of green parrots, early morning and dusk. Don't Email us if you don't see thousands of parrots, we mean you are likely to see groups of 4 - 12. It's still more than you have at home.

  • Historic Brownsville Museum
    Do not miss the Historic Brownsville Museum at 641 E. Madison. One of four Southern Pacific Stations built in the Valley in the late 1920's, the Spanish Colonial Revival Buildings all feature a stained-glass image of the Southern Pacific Logo.

  • Stillman House Museum
    Another must see is the Stillman House Museum at 1305 E. Washington.

  • Brownsville Hotels

  • A note not in your guidebook:

    During the Mexican War, a group of recently arrived immigrants from Ireland who enlisted in the Army as their own Company, deserted their posts and crossed the river at Brownsville, joining the Mexican Forces. Those who were captured were hanged en masse at the exact moment the American Flag was raised at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City.

    The Civil War Brownsville and the Mexican Port of Bagdad played a very important role in the Civil War. Cotton was shipped from these ports to English ships offshore, waiting to exchange much needed supplies for the cotton. As you will learn, the final battle of the Civil War was fought (won by the Confederacy) 12 miles east at Palmito Hill a month after the final whistle blew.

    Lots of fortunes were made, and Brownsville attracted European immigrants when things settled down. This fact is attested to by the names in the Brownsville Cemetery. The river currents are not strong enough to conquer love, and marriages between the two countries produced populations that were (by some estimates) 80% mixed. The Peso was coin of the realm until the railroad arrived in 1910.

    WWI Troops Parade, Brownsville Texas
    WWI Troops Parade
    Postcard courtesy rootsweb.com/%7Etxpstcrd/

    Brownsvill Ferry Landing 1910 Texas
    Postcard courtesy rootsweb.com/%7Etxpstcrd/

    The Brownsville-Metamoros Ferry

    by Maggie Van Ostrand

    The ferry was an efficient means of transportation between the U.S. and Mexico for 110 years, but in 1929, it took its last trip across the Rio Grande...

    Brownsville TX - US Customs & Immigration Bldg
    Brownsville US Customs and Immigration
    Old Photo courtesy Dan Whatley Collection
    Brownsville Vintage Images

    Nearby Destinations

  • Boca Chica State Park
  • Hwy 77 North 26 miles to Harlingen.
  • State Hwy 48 East 24 miles to South Padre Island.
  • Matamoros, Mexico - You can also walk to Matamoros, Mexico for 35 cents. Mexico lets you in for free, but has a small exit fee.

    Nearby small towns

  • South Texas Towns
  • Gulf Coast Towns

    Book Hotel
  • Brownsville Hotels

  • Brownsville TX Capitol Theatre

    Capitol Theatre
    Photos courtesy Barclay Gibson, September 2011

    Majestic Theater, Brownsville Texas

    Majestic Theatre
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007
    More Texas Theatres

    US Post Office Brownsville Texas

    Post Office
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007
    See Texas Post Offices

     Brownsville Texas old stone building
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007


  • Kris Kristofferson by Dorothy Hamm

    "We would come to learn that his life was far more interesting than any song he could ever write. Perhaps that's why he had to write them. His story is well known, born in Brownsville, Texas..."
  • Kris Kristofferson
    Kris Kristofferson

  • Kid Mendoza' and the Battle of the Bulge
    by Murray Montgomery

    December 1944 found Lopez in a bloody conflict known as the Battle of the Bulge. For his actions on Dec. 17, 1944, near Krinkelt, Belgium, Lopez received the highest military decoration for valor in combat – the Medal of Honor.
    At Brownsville Sgt. Jose Mendoza Lopez's statue stands in Veterans Park.

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

  • Combat Over Texas by Dan Heaton
    It was from Brownsville that America’s first combat mission was flown, way back in 1915... more
  • Cartoons:
    Brownsville "race riot" by Roger T. Moore

    Brownsville Texas flock of Green Parrots in flight
    Flock of parrots in flight
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007

    Brownsville Tourist Information
  • Brownsville Visitor Information Center:
    956-546-3721, 1-800-626-2639.
  • Brownsville Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Brownsville Chamber of Commerce

    Brownsville Hotels > Book Hotel Here

  • The second most historical city in Texas

    Said by some to be the second most historical city in Texas, we called the company in whose brochure we read this "factoid". We asked which city they considered to be first, and were told we'd have to ask the owner, but he was out of town. We asked the person we had if they would like to guess. Hesitantly, they replied: "The Alamo?" Well, we sometimes forget the question too, and since the answer wasn't in the form of a question, we had to disqualify our contestant. Second is not a bad place to be, especially if it takes a war, natural disaster, or horrible architecture to make you first.

    Subject: South Texas

  • You should visit the Site of The Battle of Palo Alto. Where U. S. troops won the battle by using the soil and vegetation of this area as an aid. The marsh like condition of the soil and the sharp pointed grass was a natural enemy of advancing troops. Superior technology of the artillery firepower played a big part of the outcome of the Battle of Palo Alto. Being able to make artillery shells explode in mid air was a a big advancement for the time. Check with the National Park Service they have a detailed description in both the English and the Spanish point of view. - Gary Gregory, May 26, 2000

  • There are many stories in The RGV from King Ranch to San Juan Mission battle of Palmento Hill many battles of civil war era, last battle of civil war fought here 3 mos after the war was over. Many historic resources like an abandoned railroad built by Zachery Taylor and his troops. Now lies in ruin marking a bygone era in our history. This land now belongs to the Laguna Atcosta wildlife area US Fish and wildlife Service. Rio Hondo even had a semi-pro Baseball team in the early 1920's. Or the Baila Family descendants of the Padre that Padre Island's namesake. How the fast talking gringos stole the land from their uneducated family members who could not speak English. Or even more recent Senator Benson and his Family History. The National Parks Service In Brownsville has many stories and historic articles about the war of 1812. To name just a few that comes to mind. - Gary Gregory, May 13, 2000

  • Take a road trip

    Texas Gulf Coast | South Texas

    Brownsville, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Edinburg | Halingen | McAllen
    See Cameron County

    Book Hotel Here:
    Brownsville 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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