Downtown Brownsville is steeped in rich South Texas heritage located at the southernmost tip of the state along the Rio Grande River. Offering a bi-national and bi-cultural experience, the city is the 16th largest in the state with a population of about 180,000.
Many events that took place in Brownsville have profoundly influenced the development of Texas and the United States. The course of Mexican and United States history was changed by the opening battles of Mexican-American War at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma in 1846. The war ended with a new national boundary at the Rio Grande River and the establishment of Brownsville. With the onset of the Civil War, Confederate cotton exports left via neutral Mexico at the mouth of the Rio Grande River to evade the Union blockade. Brownsville traders and intriguers prospered as part of the lifeline of survival for the Confederacy. The last battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Palmito Ranch (east of Brownsville) was fought May 13, 1865.
The prosperous early economy created an impressive downtown building stock for the important military and trade center. Nineteenth century Brownsville builders combined the Mexican-Spanish Colonial architectural traditions with Texas folk and formal building practices to create a unique Rio Grande Valley architectural style. Outstanding examples of this stylistic mixture exist throughout downtown and have remained well-preserved over time. Efforts are underway to designate the historic core as a National Register Historic District and use historic preservation tools and incentives to revitalize downtown.
Brownsville became a Texas Main Street city in 2016 and is committed to preserving the community’s bi-national and bi-cultural heritage. The program's vision is to transform Downtown Brownsville into a vibrant, prosperous business district offering premier leisure, retail, cultural, and entertainment experiences. Main Street Brownsville provides incentives to business owners and property owners in the downtown area including facade grants and fee waivers. The Central Brownsville National Register Historic District is under review by the National Park Service as of May 2019. Approval will open up the opportunity for broad use of the state and federal historic preservation tax incentives.
For additional information on downtown investment opportunities contact Miriam Suarez, Downtown District Manager, at 956-548-6156.
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Miriam C. Suarez, Downtown District Manager