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Treviño-Uribe Rancho

The fort-like Jesús Treviño-Blas Uribe Rancho, established in 1830 in San Ygnacio on the Rio Grande, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998. According to the NHL Web site, the complex "vividly portrays the Mexican/Texan frontier experience."

"PAZ Y LIBERTAD OBREMOS (Let us work for peace and liberty)" reads a carved inscription on the Treviño-Uribe Rancho in the distinctive village of San Ygnacio, about 30 miles down the Rio Grande from Laredo. San Ygnacio's founder, Jesús Treviño, built a small sandstone house on a plain near the river in 1830. Some years later, Treviño's son-in-law, Blas María Uribe, added more structures. High stone walls protected the family from Indian raids, and with its troneras, or gunports, the 100-by-140-foot compound resembles a small fort.

In A Shared Experience, a 1994 book documenting the Lower Rio Grande Heritage Corridor project called Los Caminos del Rio, architect Joe C. Freeman describes the rancho as "an excellent example of regional vernacular buildings in a compound form, showing architectural evolution from ranching economy to village context." Original hardware still graces the handhewn mesquite doors, and carved stone medallions accent the walls. The fort also preserves indigenous chipichil roofing, a "natural concrete and gravel material." One of the most photographed features is a sundial, constructed in 1851 above the carriage gate.

The compound (at the corner of Uribe and Benavides) remains a private residence, but its pleasures can be savored with a slow drive-by, as can those of San Ygnacio's many other fine examples of vernacular border architecture.

From the April 1998 issue.

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