The heart of Laredo's heritage district lies in its plaza, San Agustín, designated in 1767 during the original partitioning of village common areas by the Spanish colonial authority. Today, the San Agustín Plaza hosts festivals, parades, and pageants that celebrate our borderland past and present. The classic, open air plaza serves as center point to the surrounding San Agustín de Laredo Historic District, where preserved architectural gems such as the San Agustín Cathedral, the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum, and Casa Ortiz represent some of the best of Mission, Spanish, and Greek Revival styles. Par for Texas, the plaza was also the site of one of the biggest shootouts in America's frontier history. Two warring political factions, the Boots (Botas) and the Sandals (Guaraches) attempted to settle election scores with firearms in 1886, terrifying local residents (and voters), including church parishioners. The San Agustín Cathedral, perhaps the crown jewel of the plaza, began as a small mission chapel and remained so until 1866 when French priest Father Pierre Yves Keralum was recruited to design the Gothic Revival construction, including its five-story clock and bell tower. One hundred and forty years later, the church received cathedral designation by orders of Pope John Paul ll, not quite a miracle for the plaza but a historic event far more preferable than a barrage of gunfire.
Watch the following video to learn more about Laredo's historic downtown. This video was produced for inclusion in the Town Square Walk Around mobile tour, more information about which you may find on the Texas Main Street Cities page at the following link: http://texastimetravel.com/travel-themes/main-texas-main-street-cities