GARRISON TO GRADE SCHOOL
For 96 years, Fort Ringgold watched over Rio Grande City and its Rio Grande River crossing. Built just after the end of the war with Mexico and named for Samuel Ringgold, who died from injuries he received in the battle of Palo Alto, Fort Ringgold served as garrison against border violence as well as economic driver for the river town of Rio Grande City. Although occupancy began in 1848, the fort wouldn't see well-built permanent structures until after the Civil War, gaining wood-frame and brick buildings along a palm-lined parade ground. Fort Ringgold was considered one of the best looking posts along the border and hosted leading military figures in its heyday, including Robert E. Lee and John J. Pershing. The fort's service ended in 1944 and five years later the Rio Grande Independent School District purchased the property.
Today, visitors may drive or walk the campus to enjoy a number of the surviving, and handsome, barracks along with the hospital, armory, and mortuary buildings. The restored R.E. Lee House is a must-see. Stop at the gate for visitor information and drive the site or park and walk, but, just in case you see your math teacher traversing the promenade, you'd better bring your homework along, too.
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