Early 20th Century Fashion in Brownsville

Local News

A new addition to a local museum’s collection includes long lost high-end fashion from influential families in Brownsville. 

“Fashion as well as music and cuisine are really the focal point of society,” said Eugene Fernandez, Historic Brownsville Museum Manager. 

Wealth started pouring in to the Rio Grande Valley significantly about the time of the Civil War. Millionaires were being made by the week as a result of the “Loophole to the Cotton Blockade” and Brownsville was considered the center of culture in South Texas.

“The area was productive and an agricultural science in general commerce and we wanted to display it in terms of how the ladies would dress up in particular on the

The Brulay family along with other French families settled in the region during and after the Civil War and brought the element of high fashion to this part of the world. 

“Mr. Egly was in charge of the lighthouse, he was the superintendent of the lighthouse. Mr. Brulay was a planter he had a sugar plantation on the river,” Fernandez said. 

The lavish garments stored at the Historic Brownsville Museum are largely from the Egly and Brulay families, which includes a wool swimsuit, a wedding dress and other fine fashions that were typical of the era. 

“Look at this lace it is hand drawn, it is handmade and the detail, the attention that was placed in it is something that people definitely have to remember and have to see,” he said. 

The Old Brulay Plantation in Brownsville has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975. 
 

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