Throwback Thursday: The Influence of French Architecture in the RGV


BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — There is a huge piece of culture that was introduced to south Texas in various stages and it is linked to the French. In the founding days of Brownsville, there was a plan to build a marketplace. A French architect by the name of Adolphe Seuzeneau designed the city market along with the city hall building with his partner John P. McDonald.

The carryover of the French Creole influence in the market structure has been there since 1850. A group of buildings that still stand such as the Gem, the commercial and agricultural bank on Elizabeth Street, and the Alonso Building. Structures such as the Martinez Building, the Brownsville Academy for St. Joseph are no longer there, with the St. Joseph Academy designed by Fr. Pierre Parisot.

One of Brownsville’s more familiar structures, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, is considered a masterpiece of French Gothic Revival architecture. It was designed in a team effort between Fr. Jean Maurice Verdet and Fr. Pierre Keralum who were architects before they were priests. By looking at that structure you can see the tremendous examples of French architecture.

From 1863 to 1866 there was a spike in the French influence that affected Matamoros and Brownsville. That was there was a large emigration of French into the societies of Brownsville and Matamoros. Looking around the city of Brownsville at these historic buildings, it is a wonderful legacy that was given to us by France and these talented architects.

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