Brownsville Architecture: A Visual History reveals the heritage and history of Texas’s southernmost city as told by its buildings. Outstanding architectural images by Pino Shah show the influence of diverse cultures and regional styles that have shaped the border city’s built environment since 1841. Eileen Mattei weaves architectural details and Brownsville history into a narrative that illustrates how buildings mirror the people, the place and the times. Here is a new perspective for looking at more than 100 architecturally significant buildings that are often also historically and culturally important. Pino Shah @ArtByPino is a world heritage, architecture, and performing arts photographer based in McAllen, Texas, and Ahmedabad, India. A freelance writer based in the Rio Grande Valley, Eileen Mattei writes travel, nature and history articles for Texas Coop Power, Texas Highways, and other magazines. She is the author of At the Crossroads: Harlingen’s First 100 Years; Leading the Way: McAllen’s First 100 Years, and For the Good of My Patients: The History of Medicine in the Rio Grande Valley.
1860 The Cortina War, a battle between land grant heirs, ushered in a chaotic era that included Civil War smuggling of cotton (going south) and guns ARTBYPINO (going north). Confederate and Union forces traded occupation of Brownsville. After the war, the smuggling boom times ended, a devastating hurricane destroyed much of the town, and yellow fever killed about one-third of the population. In the major positive development, Fort Brown was rebuilt. Many of the 70 new buildings were constructed of mottled tan border brick. The Barracks and Commissary are Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks. 6
1869 FORT BROWN POST HOSPITAL (GORGAS HALL ADMINISTRATION BUILDING) 1869, 1991- REHAB., DAVID HOFFMAN (AUSTIN) 1825 MAY STREET ARTBYPINO Captain William Wainwright followed architect S. W. Brooks’ design of wide breezeways, graceful arches and tall windows flush to the floor that admitted southeast breezes. Part of the oldest permanent fort in Texas, the hospital is known as Gorgas Hall in honor of Lt. William Gorgas, who researched yellow fever in 1882 when a physician here. Texas Southmost College and its predecessors have occupied the building since the Army left in 1945. NRHP 7