RGV Visitors Guide

Page 6 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 The fort is open for viewing the first Sunday of every month from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more info visit www.riverpierce.org or call (956) 7655784. Falcon Lake & Falcon State Park See Nature Sites on page 49-52. The park is located on the shores of Falcon Lake at 146 Park Rd. 46, Falcon Heights and FM 2098, off of Hwy 83. It is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 365 days a year. For information call the park office at (956) 848-5327. Falcon Dam The need for water and electrical power for the growing demands of the Rio Grande Valley and Texas border resulted in a Water Treaty of 1944 with Mexico to build three dams on the Rio Grande River. Construction of the $35 million Falcon Dam began in 1950 and was completed in 1954. The dam and reservoir covered 87,000 acres of land. The dam was dedicated in 1953 by President Dwight Eisenhower, making the first presidential visit to the Rio Grande Valley in history. Falcon Dam is located about 14 miles northwest of Roma on FM 2098. Roma National Historic Landmark District The 19th-century town of Roma, located in Western Starr County, was once an important shipping point for steamboats along the Rio Grande. The site was first settled in 1765 and was named “Roma” in 1848 after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Because of its proximity to the river, Roma prospered during the years between the Mexican War and Reconstruction. The Roma National Historic Landmark District represents an outstanding example of the building techniques of the Lower Rio Grande. These techniques, derived from the 18th-century traditions of northern Mexico, are best exemplified by the finely detailed brick commercial and residential buildings designed and constructed by Heinrich Portscheller. Portscheller, a German immigrant, built in both Texas and Mexico and helped influence the distinctive architectural style of the Lower Rio Grande. The district includes an observation deck overlooking the Rio Grande and Mexico. A series of restored buildings on the plaza serve as a visitor’s center and part of the World Birding Center network. Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto In the early days of the 20th century, life was especially hard in the Rio Grande City area. Like many frontier towns, crime was rampant and diseases like leprosy and tuberculosis were rampant. The French Oblate Cavalry of Christ, circuit-riding priests, rode into the area to establish churches and give people hope for a better life. One of these priests was Father Gustave Gollenbach, who felt the creation of a grotto like Our Lady of Lourdes grotto in France would provide inspiration to the people. The grotto is a replica of the original shrine in France where the peasant girl had a vision of Our Lady of Lourdes. Construction was a community effort with help coming from a local Baptist minister. The shrine is located at 305 N. Britton near the courthouse. It is open daily for public view. La Borde House Founded in 1899 and renovated in 1979, La Borde House was first a trading post where Indians and fur trappers brought their wares. It was located in Rio Grande City because it was the head of navigation for the Rio Grande River. Due to the difficult terrain around Rio Grande City, and the fact that traveling by ox cart was the only other method of travel to get to the city, almost all trade was done by shipping wares by