Rio Grande City

Tropical Trail Region


Imagine living a hundred miles from the mouth of the Rio Grande River and watching steamboats dock in your own backyard. A 19th century Rio Grande City, one of the oldest settlements in south Texas, would have offered just that had you lived in its steamboat era. The city's location marked the highest point upriver for steamboat traffic and, as a result, accommodated a thriving shipping trade. In fact, before the arrival of the railroad in 1883, Rio Grande City served as one of the most important centers for trade between Texas and all of northern Mexico. Thanks to the establishment of nearby Fort Ringgold in 1848, Rio Grande City saw its fortunes rise throughout the 1800s. The fort secured permanence for the isolated community, providing an economic advantage as well as borderland protection. Sadly, time and neglect has taken a toll on early Rio Grande City architecture and a number of its striking historic buildings are in need of attention. However, the beautiful two-story brick La Borde House, once home to French merchant Francoise La Borde and now a hotel and restaurant, and the remains of Fort Ringgold are both a South Texas history buff's delight.

Visit to learn more about Rio Grande City Historic Downtown.

Watch the video below to learn more about an undertold history of Civil Rights Era protests that took place in Rio Grande City. This video was 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:

Rio Grande City