Bartolomé García, local rancher and Laredo mayor during the mid- 1800s, probably never imagined that his home on San Agustín Plaza in downtown Laredo would one day serve as the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum. He would, without a doubt, be pleased with its preservation. This handsome structure, built in 1830 and expanded in 1860, typifies the Mexican vernacular design of many buildings built along the Texas borderlands during the mid-19th century. Rumor suggests the home also served as the capitol of the Republic of the Rio Grande in 1840. Today, the structure provides shelter to far less controversial matters, recreating a typical home interior in Laredo, circa 1830. Together with neighboring San Agustín Cathedral and La Posada Hotel, the museum anchors Laredo's landmark downtown plaza. The museum is one of several sites administered by the industrious and well-organized Webb County Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to the preservation and restoration of Laredo's heritage. The foundation, instrumental in saving some of Laredo's most important architectural landmarks from demolition (including the García home), employs education, outreach, walking tours, and fundraising to accomplish their goals. As a result, Laredo residents as well as all Texans have become the foundation's beneficiaries, something Bartolomé García probably would have approved of as well.
Republic of the Rio Grande Museum
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