This is Texas' southernmost city, international seaport, airport and railroad
interchange point on the Mexican border. Area dates from the colonial days
of Imperial Spain, covering periods of exploration, wars, revolutions,
and colorful, although infamous, banditry.
The city began in 1846 when General Zachary Taylor established Fort
Brown to confirm Rio Grande as a national boundary after the Republic of
Texas became US State. Regrettably, hat very incident touched off the U.S.
Mexican War, 1846 - 48. Several existing buildings of Fort Brown are now
part of Texas Southmost Jr. College. Another institution of higher learning
on the campus is the University of Texas-Pan American.
Brownsviille is the Rio Grande Valley's largest city whose industries
include electronics, food processing and petrochemicals. Vacationers are
attracted by subtropical climate, proximity to Mexico, excellent golf courses,
and access to South Padre Island.
A major annual event is Charro Days, a spectacular four-day costume
fiesta, usually in late February that features parades, music, dancing,
and foods of this colorful two-nation region.
BROWNSVILLE ISLAND STATE PARK
BROWNSVILLE ART LEAGUE MUSEUM
BROWNSVILLE INFORMATION CENTER
CONFEDERATE AIR FORCE RIO GRANDE VALLEY WING
FORT BROWN/TEXAS SOUTHMOST JR. COLLEGE
GLADYS PORTER ZOO
HISTORIC BROWNSVILLE MUSEUM
PALMITO HILL BATTLEFIELD
PALO ALTO BATTLEFIELD NATIONAL PARK
PORT OF BROWNSVILLE
SABAL PALM GROVE WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
STILLMAN HOUSE MUSEUM
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BROWNSVILLE ISLAND STATE PARK - Although
state-owned, the park is actually an undeveloped beach on the Gulf of Mexico
- beautiful beach, but no facilities. And it is not an island, but a small
spit of land (Boca Chica) just south of South Padre Island. Permitted activities
include camping, surfing, fishing, swimming, picnicking, and nature study.
Half-mile long stone jetty at the northern end provides Gulf fishing. About
22 miles east of Brownsville via Texas 4.
BROWNSVILLE ART LEAGUE MUSEUM - In historic
Neale House built in 1834, moved to its present location in 1950. Gazebo
once was the Fort Brown bandstand. Art exhibits. Open Mon. - Fri. from
9;30 a.m. to 3 p.m. In Ft. Brown area at 230 Neale Drive.
BROWNSVILLE INFORMATION CENTER - Beside U.S.
77/83 (F.M. 802) in north Brownsville. Detailed visitor information, maps
and tourist literature about local attractions and Matamoros, Mexico, just
across the Rio Grande Historic trolley sightseeing tours start here, call
for schedule. Open Mon. to Sat. from 8:30 a.m. to 5 .m.; Sun. from 9 a.m.
to 4 p.m.; closed holidays, 210-546-3721.
COMMEMORATIVE AIR FORCE RIO GRANDE VALLEY
WING - World War II aircraft and memorabilia displayed. Popular Air
Fiesta held in the first half of March. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport. 210-541-8585.
FORT BROWN/TEXAS SOUTHMOST JR. COLLEGE -
Established 1846, fort housed troops during the Mexican War, defended the
border, changed hands during the Civil War. Noted for work of William C.
Gorgas, later U.S. Army Surgeon General, whose studies led to eventual
control of yellow fever. Original hospital now is an administration building
of Texas Southmost Jr. College, a municipal coed facility. Other remaining
buildings are ;post headquarters, medical lab, guardhouse, and morgue.
At terminus of Taylor Ave.
GLADYS PORTER ZOO - Elaborate zoological
park without bars or cages. Rare exotic animals displayed in natural settings
on a multitude of small islands; close-up views through one-way glass in
a series of "caves" adjacent to animal dens. Zoo is divided into four "worlds";
Africa, Asia, Australia/Indonesia, and South America. Open daily, Ringold
and Sixth Streets. An admission is charged.
HISTORIC BROWNSVILLE MUSEUM - Photo exhibits,
data, exhibits of local history. Housed in a restored Southern Pacific
depot. Open Mon. to Sat. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sun. from 2 to 5 p.m. Located
at 641 E. Madison. Admission.
MATAMOROS, MEXICO - Just across the Rio
Grande from Brownsville, caters to hosts of U.S. visitors with night clubs,
restaurants, cocktail rooms, and gift shops. Bargains in pottery and a
wealth of handicrafts in Mexican market area. Access via Gateway Bridge
(toll) at terminus of East 14th Street of via B& M Railroad Bridge
(toll). Entrance and Exit regulations.
PALMITO HILL BATTLEFIELD - Last land engagement
of the Civil War fought near Brownsville at Palmetto Ranch. Confederate's
commanded by Col. John S. Ford, not having heard of Lee's surrender at
Appomattox a month earlier, routed and captured Federal force in running
encounter on May 12 -131865. After the battle, Confederates learned from
their prisoners of South's capitulation. Victors then became formal captives
of their former prisoners. An historical marker is located 12 miles west
on Texas 4.
PALO ALTO BATTLEFIELD NATIONAL PARK - North
of Brownsville near the intersection of F.M. 1847/F.M. 511 is site where
artillery duel opened the Mexican War on May 8, 1846. Cannon under the
command of Gen. Zachary Taylor proved superior to that of Mexican General
Mariano Arista. Dedicated national park on May 8, 1993, the 147th anniversary
of the battle. Given unique mandate by Congress when it was created - exhibits
must cover war from both countries' perspectives from the causes of the
war to effects today.
PORT OF BROWNSVILLE - On ship channel connecting
to Gulf of Mexico, port hosts ships from exotic foreign lands and large
fleet of shrimp boats. Huge offshore drilling rigs fabricated here. About
5 miles east of Texas 48.
SABAL PALM GROVE WILDLIFE SANCTUARY -One of
the best preserved Sabal Palm forest in the U.S. 172 acre wildlife sanctuary
owned by the national Audubon Society; self-guided tours permitted. Nature
trail and visitor center. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. From International
Blvd. 5.7 miles southeast on F.M. 1419(Southmost Road); follow sign. Admission
is charged. 21st 21 0-541-8034.
STILLMAN HOUSE MUSEUM - Residence built about
1850; home of Charles Stillman, founder of Brownsville. Contains his possessions,
mementos of early Brownsville, furnishings, heirlooms, books, coins, an
pictures. Open from Mon. to Fri. from 10 a.m. to noon, 2 to 5 p.m.; Sunday
from 3 to 5 p.m. Located a 1305 East Washington. Admission is charged.