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Rio Grande City Department of Tourism

Local Attractions

Imagine living a hundred miles from the mouth of the Rio Grande River and watching steamboats passing or docking right in town. The 19th-century Rio Grande City, one of the oldest settlements in South Texas, offered just that to those who lived in its steamboat era. The city's location marked the highest point upriver for steamboat traffic and, as a result, accommodated a thriving shipping trade. This was one end of the Steamboat Route up the River and as such, merchants and money flowed in.

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 de la Garza moved here to have some privacy and ended up founding a town.

In fact, before the arrival of the railroad in 1883, Rio Grande City served as one of the most important centers for trade between Texas and all of northern Mexico. Thanks to the establishment of nearby Fort Ringgold in 1848, Rio Grande City saw its fortunes rise throughout the 1800s. The fort secured permanence for the isolated community, providing an economic advantage as well as borderland protection.

Sadly, time and neglect have taken a toll on early Rio Grande City architecture and a number of its striking historic buildings are in need of attention. The beautiful two-story brick La Borde House, once home to French merchant Francoise La Borde and now a hotel and restaurant, and the remains of Fort Ringgold are both a South Texas history buff's delight.

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A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Rio Grande City

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