Palo Alto Battlefield preserving Brownsville history

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BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Since opening in 2004 the Palo Alto Battlefield Historical Park has preserved the history of the Battle of Palo Alto, the first major conflict in the Mexican- American War in 1846.

Daniel Ibarra is the Chief of Interpretation and oversees the park. Ibarra said there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make sure visitors get the most out of their experience.

“It is the interaction with the public, but the fact that we are such a small park is that your workday can be so varied,” Ibarra said. “One minute you may be working on the website the next you’re responding about a visitor’s concern about rattlesnakes.”

But aside from interacting with the public, Ibarra said there is also the challenge of preserving the park’s history.

“Our resource division plays an important role in maintaining the park in as a natural state as possible,” Ibarra said. “There is an active program to restore the battlefield to what it really would have looked like in 1846.”

But there are many people who visit the park who don’t know about the Battle of Palo Alto. Ibarra said one part of his job that he really enjoys is being able to teach someone something new.

“So, a lot of time it’s really neat in that interaction with someone that they are discovering a part of history that they had no clue about, that is really awesome,” Ibarra said.

And while most of the park’s visitors come from all over the United States, Ibarra has seen more locals come to visit. He hopes even more Brownsville natives come to experience this piece of history in the future.

“You know this is their back yard so to speak, this is a national park and the prestige that goes with having a national park in your community,” Ibarra said. ” So, it is really great to see the local community kind of discover us and really take advantage of something that is theirs, this is their park.”

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