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Quinta Mazatlan: A Visual Journey

Quinta Mazatlan: A Visual Journey, is a celebration of the architectural and cultural wonders of McAllen’s most distinctive mansion and landscape.  Photographer Deval Pino Shah and writer Eileen Mattei collaborated on this book filled with stunning images by Shah. Mattei presents new artistic and historical perspectives of one of Texas’ largest adobe homes and its surrounding environment. Quinta Mazatlan is one of the nine World Birding Centers in the Rio Grande Valley. More than 250 species of birds are attracted to the native habitat, and that brings in birders to see exotic residents such as Kiskadees, Groove-billed Anis and Red-crowned Parrots.  Pino Shah is a world heritage 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.

© ArtByPino Swiss-born

© ArtByPino Swiss-born woodcarver Peter Mansbendel, who sculpted the doors at San Antonio’s Spanish Governor’s Place, carved the mansion’s front door. The two laughing gods were modeled on Jason Matthews, complete with goatee. The cherubs below represent Matthews’ stepchildren, Edward and Marcia Savage. The doors’ scallop shells, a symbol of travelers in Europe, also signify Columbus’ three ships. The Schultzes added the cantera stone frame. Mexican cantera stone is formed of ancient volcanic ash that combined with dirt and shells and over time were compressed in to soft rock. The porous stone is easily carved.

Seventy feet long and twenty feet wide, the elegant Grand Hall showcases the hacienda’s signature © Saltillo tiles, exposed ArtByPino wooden beams, wide arches framed by blue and white Talavera tiles and walls of oversize adobe brick made on site. On the right before the first arch is the original front door. The Schultzes installed the three chandeliers. Invisible behind fireplace screens, heaters fueled by free natural gas warmed Quinta Mazatlan. Two gas-burning fireplaces warmed the Grand Hall. The carved pecan mantle with the signature scallop shell, the valances and the cantera stone surround were installed during the Schultz era. Brass National Electric outlet embedded in the floor.

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