8 months ago

Brownsville Architecture: A Visual History by Pino Shah and Eileen Mattei

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.


1930s ARTBYPINO The Depression had little impact on Brownsville as the U.S. Courthouse and Post Office was completed along with Beth-El Temple and Pan American Airways buildings. The Port of Brownsville connected to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Modernist architect Richard Neutra designed his first Texas structure, the George Kraigher House. Local architects W. Frank Godwin, E. G. Holliday, William Van Siclen and Newell Waters designed houses for Dr. Merrick, F. L. Rockwell and Fausto Yturria. Los Ebanos Estates had large residential lots facing Palm Boulevard with backyards looking at the resaca which curved through the neighborhood. 14

1937 GEORGE KRAIGHER HOUSE 1937 - RICHARD J. NEUTRA (LOS ANGELES), RESTORED 2008, LARRY LOF 525 PAREDES LINE ROAD WITH W. FRANK GODWIN ARTBYPINO Pilot and bon vivant Kraigher pioneered Pan American Airways routes in South America from Pan Am’s Brownsville base. Noted International Modernist architect Richard Neutra’s only single family residence in Texas was constructed with reinforced concrete, steel, and repeated casement windows. The Mid-century Modern house displays stark vertical and horizontal lines, a partial second floor, a cantilevered roof deck, and open interiors that bring in the landscape. RTHL 15

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