County Seat – Rio Grande City
Built – 1939
Style – Moderne
Architect – Stanley Bliss
Photos taken – June 11, 2011
We visited Rio Grande City, county seat of Starr County on Monday, June 6th, 2011. The drive was dry and dusty. Reminds you that much of this area, despite the orange groves and fields of cotton and sorghum, is really semi-arid (close to being a desert). Of course, the agriculture flourishes because of irrigation and not abundant rainfall.
The courthouse, itself was not stunning and probably won’t rank in the top 10 or 20 for its’ style (classical revival). When we went inside there was a guard blocking the entrances and we were told that we could not take pictures. As we approach 100 courthouses we’ve photographed, this was the first one where we were barred from taking pictures. We were a little stunned. To be honest – I didn’t see much in the interior – there was a marble star in the entrance, to care that much – but still…. As it turned out, this was one of three that did not allow photographs without special permission. Remember, for obvious and good reasons, the courthouses in the Valley are extremely security conscious.
Across the street was the catholic church. This church had a priest from France – back in the 1920’s, who made it his mission to create a model of the grotto at Lourdes. I’ll probably be posting some of those pictures as well. The town is very old with lots of historic buildings – but it is also a poor town, and not many of the buildings have been restored or renovated. There was also a previous courthouse – built in the 1850’s. It took us quite awhile to find it (finally got a map from city hall). Not much to see – but it is old. I’ll be posting those pictures in the historic courthouse section as well.
Go to the Rio Grande Valley Churches