Brownsville, located at the southernmost part of the United States, came into existence with the opening of the Mexican War. In the beginning it was merely an unnamed group of hastily built shacks sprawled under the protection of Fort Brown. The fort was established in 1846, and was first named Fort Taylor, in honor of General Zachary Taylor, commander of the Army of the Rio Grande in the Mexican War. General Taylor's troops were engaged in construction for more than a month, and although a Mexican force occupied Matamoros, across the river, there were no hostilities beyond a few skirmishes between outposts and scouting parties. Soon after the Fort was completed, however, the Mexican army crossed the Rio Grande several miles downstream, with the evident intention of cutting the American line of communication between the fort and its seaport base of supplies at Point Isabel (now Port Isabel). General Taylor immediately moved toward Point Isabel, leaving only a small force under the command of Major Jacob Brown to defend the new fort. At noon the next day, May 8 1846, Taylor found himself confronting a superior Mexican force at Palo Alto, nine miles northeast of his objective. Taylor gave battle in the first major engagement of the war, and drove the Mexicans from the field.

Arriving at the fort, General Taylor found that the detachment had been successful in defense, but Major Brown had been fatally wounded. On the death of the Major an order from General Taylor changed the name of the post to Fort Brown, in his honor. Against this vivid historical background, the city presents its modern attributes in sharp contrast with the pioneer characteristics of its past. Residential areas have many beautiful houses of Spanish or Mexican types, set in spacious grounds planted in subtropical shrubs and flowers. Here purple and scarlet bougainvillea flaunt brilliant blossoms, and gardens bloom in winter; date palms serve for fences, salt cedars for hedges. Winding between muddy banks at the city's southern boundary is the Rio Grande, which through centuries deposited the silt that today makes Brownsville the center of a rich delta of citrus orchards, vegetable farms and cotton fields. Irrigation from the river has converted the surrounding region into an oasis, green at all times of the year, and has made possible the city's greatest wealth. The Rio Grande has also given Brownsville a definite Mexican atmosphere. Well over 50 per cent of the population is Mexican or of Mexican descent; and among the residents, Spanish is spoken as commonly as English.

The annual average temperature of 73 degrees is attracting many winter visitors from all parts of the northern United States and Canada. Gulf breezes in summer and warm sunshine in winter make year-round sports possible. Salt water fishing in the Gulf of Mexico - only 25 miles distant - and the attractions of beach resorts, duck and goose hunting in outlying brush country, golf and boating offer a diversity of recreation. Sparkling resacas - old beds of the Rio Grande - at the city's doors are bordered by orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime groves; on the streets one can still see occasional growth of retamas, mimosas, locusts, bananas, pepper and citrus trees, and broad leafed papayas, all overshadowed by palms, often of great height and age.

Tourist Attractions

Phone: 956-548-1313
641 E. Madison St.
Brownsville, TX 78520
10am - 4pm

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