Many events that took place here in Brownsville have profoundly influenced the development of Texas and the United States.
The course of Mexican and United States history was forever changed by the opening battles of Mexican-American War at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma in 1846. The war ended with a new national boundary at the Rio Grande River and the establishment of Brownsville. With the onset of the Civil War, Confederate cotton exports left via neutral Mexico from the Port of Bagdad, at the mouth of the Rio Grande River, to evade the Union blockade. Brownsville traders and intriguers prospered as part of the lifeline of survival for the Confederacy. The last battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Palmito Ranch (east of Brownsville) was fought May 13, 1865.
The evidence is seen in the inventiveness of nineteenth century Brownsville builders who combined the Mexican-Spanish Colonial architectural traditions with formal and folk building architecture. Outstanding examples of this stylistic mixture include The Gem, La Madrileña, La Nueva Libertad, and the Field-Pacheco Complex.
Brownsville has attained a notable record for its adaptive use of old structures as seen in the reuse of the Southern Pacific Depot, which now serves as the HIstoric Brownsville Museum. Our sense of the past developed by our knowledge of history, and by understanding the accumulated heritage of art and architecture. As you walk Brownsville’s Heritage Trail, enjoy the diverse neighborhoods that contribute to Brownsville’s character: the residential neighborhood at St. Charles Street, the Market Square area, the County Courthouse area, the City Cemetery near the Depot and the former Fort Brownsville Military Reservation.
Visit these heritage sites, get to know our citizens, and enjoy the process of discovery.