Don Jose Ryes Ortiz, arriving in Laredo from Spain via Mexico, received the Casa Ortiz land grant in 1826, followed by the Joaquin Galan Grant courtesy of the King of Spain. Now landed gentry, Ortiz championed the pursuits that attended his status – ranching, business, and civic contributions. Ortiz also engaged in diplomacy, acting as mediator between the Texan and Mexican forces. He built a beautiful home, constructed between 1829 and 1830, located in the heart of Laredo. The two-story home, built in a Spanish Colonial style, features a vernacular urbanism more typical of Europe and Mexico than of the U.S. A zaguán (an enclosed driveway) connects the inside patio to the street outside and its rear façade faces the Rio Grande River, accessed by brick-terraced steps that descend to the riverbank.
Today, Casa Ortiz is associated with the Laredo Heritage Foundation and is managed by Texas A&M International University. The restored home is used for holding University events, seminars, tours and other educational purposes.
Watch the videos below to learn more about the Los Caminos Reales in Texas and Hispanic Architecture in Texas. These videos were produced for inclusion in the Hispanic Texans mobile tour, more information about which may be found on our Hispanic heritage page at the following link: http://texastimetravel.com/travel-themes/main-hispanic-heritage