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
This was one end of the Steamboat Route up the River and as
such, merchants and money flowed in.
- On Courthouse
Grounds, US 83
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.
City Landmarks Attrections
Photo courtesy George Benoit
Starr County Courthouse
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.
Lost Photos of Starr County
(The Sgt Roy Chamberlain Collection c. 1918)
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."
|H & H Drive-in
Theatre north of Rio Grande City
TE photo, 2002
See Texas Theatres
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 Rio Grande City one block east of the courthouse.
Destroyed by fire.
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.
the hand-operated ferry in Los
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.
Grande City Tourist Information
Rio Grande City Chamber of Commerce:
601 Main Street 956-487-3024
Book Hotel > Rio
Grande City Hotels
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history
and vintage/historic photos, please contact