“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.
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