RGV Visitors Guide

Page 7 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 steamboat up and down the river. In 1917, the trading post was converted into an elegant hotel. Eventually, the hotel fell into disrepair but a local philanthropist, Larry Sheerin, purchased the hotel and began restoration in 1979. When the restoration was finished, the eight hotel rooms restored were authentic examples of turn-of-the century elegance furnished with authentic period antiques. The property is now owned and operated by the Starr County Historical Foundation. They recently completed a renovation project that returned this magnificent site to its original splendor. The hotel is listed in the national registry of historic buildings. La Borde House is located at 601 E. Main St. in Rio Grande City. For more information call (956) 487-5101 or visit www.labordehouse.com. Fort Ringgold Established in 1848 as a cavalry fort, today most of the old fort is part of the Rio Grande City School District. Several of the old buildings such as the hospital, Officer Quarters, and barracks have been retained along with the parade grounds. The most prominent of its buildings is the old commander’s house where Colonel Robert E. Lee stayed when visiting the fort on several occasions before the days of the Civil War. The renovated building is now a museum containing a collection of memorabilia, artifacts, and historical data. For more information on Fort Ringgold and the Robert E. Lee Museum, visit the Revive Fort Ringgold page on Facebook. Hop on Bessie III, a trolley bus named after a famed commercial riverboat, and explore the back streets, hidden places, and points of interest in Historic Downtown Rio Grande City with a stop at the historic fort. Contact Rio Grande City Main Street at (956) 488-0047 for tours and information. Robert E. Lee Museum Located on the grounds of the old Fort Ringgold, now the headquarters for the Rio Grande City Independent School District, the Robert E. Lee Museum is in an old house on the right side of the complex. Lee stayed there while assigned to the fort, sent there to preside over a court martial in 1856. He returned in 1860 when the Mexican bandit, Juan Cortina, was creating havoc along the border. One exhibit describes the activities of Colonel Robert E. Lee during the time he served at Fort Ringgold. Another display honors Major Samuel Ringgold, the first American officer to die in the U.S. war with Mexico in 1846. The fort is named in his honor. A third display honors the Buffalo soldier who served at the fort. Visitors are welcome to drive by and look at the house, but the museum is open by appointment only. Call the Rio Grande City ISD to make arrangements at (956) 716-6700. Visiting is free but donations are encouraged. Los Ebanos Ferry The Los Ebanos Ferry was first used in the 1740s by Spanish explorers and colonists under Jose de Escandon. This ancient ford was also used by Mexican war troops in 1846, by Texas Rangers chasing cattle rustlers and by smugglers in many eras, especially during the American Prohibition of the 1920s and 1930s. Named after the abundance of ebony trees that flourish around the site, the ferry is the only hand-pulled ferry across the US/Mexico Border. It can transport three cars and several pedestrians across the Rio Grande. You can even help them pull! Located 14 miles west of Mission on Expressway 83, then 3 miles south of the expressway on FM 886 in Los Ebanos. The ferry operates 7 days a week, weather permitting. For more information call (956) 485-1084.