150 YEAR OLD SUNDIAL STILL TELLS TIME: BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED
The 19th century fortified complex of the Treviño-Uribe Rancho, built on a bluff overlooking the Rio Grande River in 1830, is one of few remaining examples of sandstone Spanish Colonial and Mexican architecture in the region. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998, the complex known as Fort Treviño served as home to San Ygnacio founder Jesús Treviño. The structure, composed of the hand-cut sandstone blocks that typify building materials for the time and region, measures 100 by 140 feet. A sundial was placed on the exterior of the home in 1851 and remains one of the main attractions in town.
Although the complex was not a true fort, its fortifications provided some protection for the residents in an era of border violence. San Ygnacio was also a center of trade, an active river community during the heyday of Rio Grande River shipping and goods exchange between Mexico and parts north. The community was also slated for condemnation prior to the construction of Falcon Dam in 1951, but residents petitioned for the town's exclusion. Although the request was granted, the flood of 1953 (the last disastrous flood before the completion of the dam) caused major damage. The town survived and received its listing in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 with special emphasis on the Treviño home. Today, San Ygnacio's River Pierce Foundation manages the site and works to identify, conserve, and restore the remaining historic architecture in and around the community, considered one of the more endangered historic districts in the state. Guided tours are offered seasonally and self-guided walking tour brochures of San Ygnacio are available.