Rio Grande City: Rio Grande City Downtown Historic District
This downtown district began in 1846 when Kentuckian Henry Clay Davis married Hilaria de la Garza, daughter of the owner of Carnestolendas Ranch, an 18th century Spanish land grant. The couple settled on family land north of the Rio Grande where Davis built a house, store, and river dock. During the U.S.-Mexico War, General Zachary Taylor brought troops to Davis’ landing for forays into Mexico and leased land nearby for the establishment of Fort Ringgold. Following the war, Davis formally laid out Rio Grande City, which evolved into a river port town of surprising diversity.
The influence of French and Germans who arrived via Mexico is evident in the architecture, from delicate cast iron balconies to the many brick buildings of master mason Heinrich “Enrique” Portscheller. The Silverio de la Péna Drugstore and Post Office at Main and Lopez streets is one of the best examples of this international mix.A block from the drugstore is the restored 1897 La Borde House. Francois La Borde’s home eventually became a hotel for steamboat travelers and remains a hotel today.
Call the city tourism office to book a trolley tour or a vaquero or dance performance at the Lopez-Tijerina Courtyard.