Lost Architecture of the Rio Grande Borderlands
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
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Notes about Illustrations
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Documentation of the various projects related to the Falcón Reservoir—offshoots of the River Basin Survey and Salvage Project—are deposited in the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory (TARL), the University of Texas at Austin. Permission has been granted for publication of all photographs from the TARL collections. Considering the circumstances under which ..
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When I was asked to write the foreword for Lost Architecture of the Rio Grande Borderlands, I accepted the challenge to revisit memories of my childhood with mixed emotions. As a direct descendant of the original Treviños who first settled in this area—on my mother’s maternal and paternal side, as was sometimes done in those days—my memories are bittersweet. They center primarily on the town of Revilla on the Mexican side of...
Preface The Story of the Story
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The Hispanic ranching cultures of south Texas and northern Mexico have been a consuming interest of mine for three-quarters of a century. It began at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Wichita Falls. My family had ranching interests in north Texas and my closest companion was a spotted mare named Princess. Yet my childhood was distant and distinct from the ranching settlements along the Rio ...
Introduction: Reasons for Caring
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Rivers cradle civilizations. Rivers nourish life, providing moisture and fresh soil in the rhythmic pulses of time. The Rio Grande, whose headwaters rise in southwestern Colorado, flows southward through New Mexico and forms the boundary between Texas and Mexico—extending from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico. Like the Nile, the Rio Grande must be viewed as a central, dominant, life-enhancing region, varying in ...
1 The Settlements in Nuevo Santander
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The Rio Grande flows through a region that was known during the Spanish colonial period as Nuevo Santander. Following the initial Spanish exploration of the New World in the sixteenth century, this vast area remained unsettled and virtually unexplored for two and a half centuries. However, after the first quarter of the eighteenth century, the viceregal government in Mexico began procedures to stabilize the ...
2 The Land and Its Utilization
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When Fray Vicente Santa María chronicled the accomplishments of José de Escandón, he used terms appropriate for modern chamber of commerce boosterism in describing the delights of Nuevo Santander. He wrote that the region has a “beautiful climate in a temperate zone. . . . The location and position are without doubt the most suitable for any undertaking one wishes. The appearance is beautiful and ...
3 Building Technology
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Ambrosio de Letinez, a fictitious hero of the early nineteenth century, accurately described the typical architecture of northern Mexico: “The style of building is the Morisco . . . throughout . . . Mexico; that is to say, the houses are almost universally one story high, with flat terrace roofs and few windows to the street. They are frequently built in the form of a quadrangle, round a small courtyard, decorated with ...
4 Descriptions of Life in the Borderlands
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A traveler’s journal, a report of a military reconnaissance, and an author’s fictional account all describe borderlands buildings and their contents. And all were written around the middle of the nineteenth century. Although none specifically refer to the area later submerged beneath the waters of the Falcón Reservoir, all are consistent with contemporaneous evidence. An 1838 description of a domestic household along the Rio Grande appears in ...
5 Site Notes
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Investigation of the valley floor of what was to become the Falc�n Reservoir was accomplished in the course of archaeological field surveys begun in 1949 and completed in January 1953. (See appendix for specific details.) Archaeological sites were identified by code designations and named for the ranch or settlement nearest to the position of the investigation. Though Spanish sites ...
6 Homeland Lost
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One day the floods that had periodically swept the Rio Grande valley and then moved on came to stay. Construction completed, the river was closed at the Falc�n Dam on December, 29, 1952, and residents of known low spots began evacuation early in 1953. The reservoir was expected to take three years to fill, so a hasty departure did not seem necessary. A few months later, however, on August 23, surprise rain ...
Epilogue: Guerrero Viejo
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Of all the towns and settlements along the Rio Grande founded by Jos� de Escand�n in the mid-eighteenth century, Revilla, renamed Guerrero then later Guerrero Viejo, was far and away the grandest.1 The forty families from Coahuila that formed the nucleus of the colonial town burgeoned to a population of forty thousand by the mid-nineteenth century. The Hotel Flores was long a center of elegant social ...
Appendix: Cultural Inquiry
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Salvage field studies and the participants involved, 1949–1952. During the winter of 1948–49, the Smithsonian Institution, through its River Basin Surveys (Frank H. H. Roberts Jr., chief), and the Santa Fe office of the National Park Service (Erik K. Reed, archaeologist) were informed of the site location for the new Falcón Reservoir. The destruction of cultural artifacts within the reservoir area caused by the impounding of water, the displacement of the affected population, and the major changes in the lives of those displaced were concerns shared by these agencies.1 In early February 1949, anthropologist Alex D. Krieger of the University of Texas at Austin made an inspection trip ...
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Page Count: 136
Illustrations: 16 color photos. 34 b&w photos. 1 line art. 3 maps.
Publication Year: 2008
Series Title: Fronteras Series, sponsored by Texas A&M International University