Cave Dwellings: Historic Roma, TX
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Historic Roma, TX

“Yesterday, McGyver and I drove into Roma to re-visit the old plaza and the old abandoned buildings in those blocks around it.  “Roma was founded in 1765 and incorporated in 1936. It serves as a port of entry from Mexico into the U.S. via the Roma-Ciudad Miguel Alemán International Bridge. Prior to Texas's independence from Mexico in 1836, the town was listed as under the jurisdiction of the town of Mier, Mexico and served under Spanish rule”.

“The architecture of Roma mirrors its sister city of Ciudad Mier on the Mexican side of the river, as well as Guerrero Viejo upriver. Roma is notable for its buildings of river sandstone, caliche limestone and molded brick, using rejoneado (patterned large and small stones) and sillar (stone laid in an ashlar pattern) masonry techniques. Both methods employ an outer finish of rough lime plaster detailed with bands of smooth colored plaster, characteristic of northern Mexico.”


“Roma also features innovative use of molded brick, brought to Roma by German immigrant Enrique (Heinrich) Portscheller, who used techniques of flat brick roofing from Monterrey to Mier, then developed a decorative brick used in Roma, Mier, Rio Grande City and Laredo. Portscheller designed buildings with his products and used wrought iron balconies in a manner reminiscent of both New Orleans and Monterrey. Roma preserves the bulk of his extant work.




If you ever get a chance to visit, make sure you get to this unique section of Roma.  This is the original old town, and it sits high on the US banks of the Rio Grande, thus it is called Roma Bluffs.  Dennis and I walked around, sticking our tourist noses into every nook and cranny.  We remembered from the last time we visited here that there was an observation deck somewhere, looking into Mexico where the river is very narrow. 




We followed the high bluff , looking for the observation deck..There was a very strong Border Patrol  presence in this part of Roma, being so close to the river…I was on my best behavior, already knowing that these dudes take their job VERY seriously, and have no patience for my lame sense of humor.Party smile



We finally found the small doorway out to the overlook, where there were a few other “Gringos” there looking at the view just across the Rio Grande into Mexico..



When I zoomed my lens, I found a couple pigs, just roamin’ around…and the vast difference from the US side to the Mexican side.  It really made me feel sad, to think that someone over there was looking at us over here.  I wondered what THEY were thinking…Either , “That does it, tonight I swim over to seek a new life,” or ,“How can I figure a way to get these drugs across without being discovered”..Two entirely different life stories.




This ingenious little look out was operated by a Border Patrol , and a couple times we saw a Border Patrol person come out to the fence and look over the edge down the bluff…and he was “packing”…if you know what I mean…This kind of stuff is always a real eye-opener for me…





The historic church, Our Lady of Refugees and Sinners is in this area also…I believe the men behind me are part of what they called “Cavalry for Christ”, who brought religion to very remote areas, including Roma..Priests packing pistols is how I see it…

This is the church taken from the Plaza..

This pink building is also in the Plaza…It was a built by the Guerra family and was a grocery store downstairs and the family residence upstairs…This plaza was all dirt streets and dust when they filmed Viva Zapata here in the early 1950’s,and the old Plaza had a part in the movie…Sure wish I could  have been an extra.

We had a great time roaming through Roma…the historic part. Not that Roma isn’t a fun town (maybe for some), but I prefer this area, where I can visualize the outlaws, caballeros, and the sound of horses hooves as they rode through the plaza…I tried to conjure up Marlon Brando as  Emiliano Zapata, but he was resisting my channeling efforts.




This park and fountain is part of the newer part of Roma.  It is an oasis of calm in the middle of bedlam..just 2 small blocks from the International Bridge to Mexico..Again, two different worlds colliding  here on the border…fascinating stuff.




After a couple hours of wandering around, we picked up our pizza I had pre-ordered on line Friday, and went back to the campgrounds…Even though we had done this “tour” of Roma before, I never tire of the “wild west” old history…I sure hope it remains in tact long enough for our grandkids to see some of it…and try to learn something from it…

Before I forget, I want to welcome Billy Bob to the truck, and have everyone slide to the right, please..  Billy Bob, I love your name…Would you believe my kids had a Cabbage Patch doll we named “Billy Jo JimBob”??  Well, if you read a few more of my blogs you WILL believe it, trust me…OK, EVERYONE IN THE TRUCK….SHIFT!!!!!

          “Men of the South! It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.”   ~Emiliano Zapata


  1. Great tour of Old Roma.Thats the name of an old wine i used to drink in Pa. Looks like you guys are having fun in the sun on the border.We were going to go see Bald eagles today, but the newspaper said they are a couple weeks late in getting here due to the warm winter we had, Maybe they stopped in Illinois for a Sandwich on the way down,Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

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  3. I think ole Emiliano had it backwards.

  4. Looks like a neat area, thanks for the great pictures. We will have to put it on our bucket list!!!

  5. Great tour, we love visiting those type of places.

  6. Thanks for the warm welcome to your blog. I'm already impressed by your writing style and content. Makes me wanna jump in the truck and say "let's go".
    It ain't easy to live up to a name like Billy Bob, but I sure do my derndest. Wanted to name all my kids Billie Jo for the girls and the boys after their daddy. Wife wouldn't go along with them do'ns....dang it.

  7. Well, the Border Patrol might not appreciate your lame sense of humor, Donna, but I do! I enjoyed the photos of the old buildings, too.

  8. what an awesome post! thanks for taking the time to share it all with us!

    last spring we were out cruising around in the sticks south of Deming, NM and got "buzzed" from behind by a low flying BP helicopter! kinda snuck up on us, but it kept on flying! makes you stop and think about where the heck you are though!!!

  9. Great picture of u guys!!! All tanned and relaxed!

  10. Great post. I love old historic places with buildings fallin' down around my ears, especially ghost towns.

  11. excellent post!!! I love your style of writing you have such a gift...the pics were great..gorgeous architecture!! Would love to visit there someday

  12. Tremendous post, Donna with lots of great pics and information.

  13. Awesome post. I was raised in Roma - Miguel Aleman. I makes me happy to know that there is others that appreciate it for its old beauty. As a young girl I would often walk around the old buildings marvel at the architecture. During the towns festivities this area is still used to put up stages for musical performance, local school dance teams, food stands, carnival games and more. Roma is my home town and I thank you for taking it out there for other to enjoy. May God be with you through your
    travels and those Border Patrol guys aren't too bad but they are serious about what they do.