City of Brownsville: Preserving the past and launching into the future

Local News

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Friday, ValleyCentral will head out to the city of Brownsville for the matchup between the Rivera Early College Raiders and the Harlingen South Hawks. Before the Friday night game kicks off, we are taking a look at Brownsville’s past and present to get a sense of what the city’s future may look like.  

Brownsville, Texas is becoming the talk of the Rio Grande Valley, and arguably, around the world. From South Padre Island to McAllen, the eyes and ears of entrepreneurs, socialites, and casual residents are on Brownsville, and the consensus is, now’s the time to invest in Brownsville.  

After several years of being economically and socially overshadowed by competitive Valley towns to the West, Brownsville is now enjoying its renaissance. Waves of renewed interest can be seen in the city through the establishment of new businesses and the creation of art, but also through the preservation of what was already there.  

To fully appreciate Brownsville, one must get to know a bit of its 173 years of history. Brownsville historian, Eugene Fernandez, produced 180 segments on individual points in the city’s history and says Brownsville has seen various major periods of growth throughout its history.  

The city was founded in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War and through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which recognized the southern-most boundaries for the United States as the Rio Grande and allowed for colonization. The Treaty also set the precedent for the intertwined relationship between Brownsville and Matamoros that carries on to the present day.  

The next boom came in the 1860s during the Civil War; Brownsville and Matamoros served as a port for importing and exporting goods to confederate troops. Another significant occurrence in the history of the area was the Battle of Palmito Hill with was the final battle of the Civil War. The historical marker is located is down Highway 4, near SpaceX.  

“There’s a long-time debate out there about what’s the most historic city in Texas? Everybody pops up and they say San Antonio; that’s simply not true. Because if you take the Missions out of San Antonio there’s nothing that San Antonio did that came up on the world stage, but Brownsville has time after time after time been on the world stage, and one of them was the Battle of Palmito Hill,” said Fernandez.  

Remnants of the establishment of the city can be found all over the downtown area; many buildings inspired by French architecture in the 1850s still stand. Many of these buildings are receiving much-needed maintenance and updates with money donated by the Musk Foundations and through investments from business owners. They will soon be the highlights of a revitalized historic downtown Brownsville that includes modern attractions. 

Brownsville’s close proximity to SpaceX’s Starbase on Boca Chica has attracted attention from space enthusiasts around the globe. On any given day, tourists will travel out to Boca Chica to see the lunch site from which humans may one day leave to Mars.

Sams Memorial Stadium [Photo: Gaby Moreno]

Circling around to football, tonight’s game will be played at the 10,000-seat Sams Memorial Stadium. The stadium was completed in 1957 with generous contributions from the Sams Foundation; the same foundation that also established the Gladys Porter Zoo.

Of the seven early college high schools in Brownsville, Rivera Early College High School was the fourth to be established in 1988. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. You can watch our CBS 4 On the Road show live at Sams Stadium for our 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. shows and our Local 23 Road Trip at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. As well as our behind the scene coverage on our social media platforms.

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