[graphic] Trevino-Uribe Rancho



[photo] 1851 Gate, Trevino-Uribe Rancho
NHL/NPS Photograph
Originally constructed in c. 1830 as a modest single-room rancho for Spanish/Mexican settler Jesus Trevino, the Trevino-Uribe Rancho reached its current appearance through at least four building campaigns. A National Historic Landmark, the different buildings of the complex reflect the history of the Rio Grande area, the development of vernacular Mexican architecture, and the influence of Spanish/Mexican ranching traditions. The founding of the Trevino-Uribe Rancho dates back more than 160 years, to c. 1830, when Spanish/Mexican settlers began founding forts and ranchos on the north side of the Rio Grande River in what is present-day Texas. As early as the late 17th century, Spanish authorities recognized the need to establish colonies in what is today northern Mexico and southern Texas to protect their claims from other aggressive European nations like England, the Netherlands, and France. By the 1830s, Spanish/Mexican settlements stretched up to the southern banks of the Rio Grande, which is the present border between Texas and Mexico. With the relative safety of a Spanish military presence in the area to protect ranchers from the raids of Comanche and Apache Indians, Spanish/Mexican settlers began establishing ranches on the north side of the Rio Grande in the 1830s. The complex would grow significantly over the next 40 years. Today, the Trevino-Uribe Ranch remains much as it did in the 1870s, one of the most significant examples of Spanish/Mexican vernacular architecture in the United States.

[photo] Original 1831 building
NHL/NPS Photograph


Jesus Trevino, a Spanish/Mexican landowner of over 125,000 acres, constructed the original Rancho around 1830. High, thick sandstone walls, windowless facades, and troneras or gun ports, all testify to the buildings dual purpose as ranch and fort. That such elements are continually repeated throughout the history of the complex's construction is mostly due to the region's continuing "frontier" status, rather than to any architectural decisions.



[photo] Courtyard after 1871 addition
NHL/NPS Photograph
The present appearance of Trevino-Uribe began to take shape in 1851 with the construction of several structures under the guidance of Blas Maria Uribe, Trevino's son-in-law. Much grander and more elaborate than the original one-room building, Uribe added two buildings and a new arched gate. The thick walls, and continuous enclosure of the complex attest, however, to the still vigilant nature of Rio Grand life in 1851. In 1854, Trevino-Uribe complex added a spacious single room that was placed at the north end of the 1851 building. In 1871, a final building campaign added the large flat-roofed building that completed Trevino-Uribe Rancho. The building's placement near the courtyard gate and its six doors suggest a very public use, and a relative lack of concern for defensive fortifications. By far the most elaborate building in the compound, the 1871 building adheres to the building traditions and styles that link it to the rest of the complex. The inclusion of popular decorative elements, however, indicates that even along the isolated southern banks of the Rio Grande, the world of the Spanish/Mexican rancher was changing.

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