Started as Fort Brown and later named as Brownsville, it is the southernmost city in the U.S. state of Texas with plenty to offer in terms of history, culture, art, music and outdoors. The city is known for its biodiversity, fascinating history, Spanish colonial architecture, unique culture and art scene, and abounding nature. Whatever your interests and tastes, Brownsville delivers and it does so with exuberance, high spirits and creativity.
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History of Brownsville
The site where Brownsville is now situated was explored in the 17th century. Though, the first settlers did not come to the region until the late-18th century. In 1765, Matamoras community (earlier known as San Juan de los Esteros) was settled across the Rio Grande. In the early-19th century, some squatters from Matamoras formed a ranch about 16 miles northwest of the site. By 1836, a small settlement was laid down. Zachary Taylor arrived in the area in 1846 and established a temporary fort known as Fort Texas. Later, it was renamed as Fort Brown. It was named after Major Jacob Brown. Later, in 1848, Brownsville was founded by Charles Stillman. In 1849, it was made the county seat of Cameron County. In 1853, it was incorporated as a city. The city played a significant role in the American Civil War. It served as a major port for exporting of Confederate goods and cotton. After the Civil War, the city experienced a growth. In 1910, a railroad bridge was laid between Matamoras and Brownsville that opened the area for the settlement. Extensive road network and irrigation systems were established in the area that bought prosperity to the city. The city experienced a surge in population.
The city has been the site of several battles, like the Mexican-American war, American Civil War and the Battle of Palo Alto. Over the years, the city has survived the struggles of being a border town. Today, it is one of the fastest growing manufacturing areas in the country and serves as a major hub center for industry, technology, tourism, culture and transportation.
Important Locations in Brownsville
Brownsville has plenty to offers other than its interesting and rich history. The city is home to several historic sites, museums, art galleries, and cultural and recreational sites.
Historic Brownsville Museum
: The Historic Brownsville Museum
features several exhibits that depict the local history. It includes maps, furniture, artifacts, photographs and other items that span over 100 years of the Brownsville’s history. Also, it houses an extensive collection of military artifacts and memorabilia from its early days as the Fort Brown. It is a perfect place for history buffs!
Children’s Museum of Brownsville: Children’s Museum of Brownsville
features hands-on exhibits on diverse subjects, including science, health, art, farming, history and more. Highlights include the Weather Station, the Construction Zone, All World’s Cafe, and the camps and play area for the kids.
Costumes of the Americas
: Costumes of the Americas Museum
features an extensive collection of costumes from Latin America. It includes a collection authentic Central, South and North American native clothes and accessories with traditional design that depict the religious and cultural beliefs of the area.
Gladys Porter Zoo:
Come face-to-face with animals at the Gladys Porter Zoo
. It features about 1600 animals, ranging from local reptiles to African, Asian, American and Australian animals. It also has a small train tour of the zoo and a Safari ride.
Historic Battlefield Trail: Historic Battlefield Trail is an 8.5miles long trail that runs from the heart of downtown Brownsville, and is steeped in American history. Walk through the history at this trail. Several restaurants, stores and other amenities are lined on this trail.
Resaca De La Palma State Park:
Sprawling over 1,200 acres, the Resaca De La Palma State Park
features several trails, picnic space and a 3.2 mile loop tram line. Connect with nature and spot diverse wildlife at this spot. Go hiking, biking or walking at this spot. It is a perfect place for outdoor and nature lovers
Stillman House Museum
: Take a tour of the nineteenth century house- the Stillman House Museum
. It is one of the oldest surviving structures in the city. It was the home of the founder of Brownsville- Charles Stillman. The house features period furnishings, photographs and artifacts of that era.
Brownsville Museum of Fine Art:
The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art
features 350 pieces of art in different mediums by the local, national and international artists. Pieces of art hung here are historically rich and diverse, and includes sculptures, drawings, photographs, paintings and prints.
Boca Chica State Park:
Sprawling over 1,000 acres, Boca Chica State Park
is situated approx 20 miles of Brownsville (east). It has beaches and dunes which are surfing, fishing, sunbathing, swimming, kite surfing, birdwatching and picnicking. Relax at the park and indulge in recreational activities.
Commemorative Air Force Museum:
The Commemorative Air Force Museum
features exhibits, vintage military aircrafts, artifacts and memorabilia of World War II. Also, an annual air fiesta is held every year in the month of March.
Sabal Palm Sanctuary
: The Sabal Palm Sanctuary
is home to a variety of fauna and flora of the region, including cottontail rabbits, bobcats and other endangered species.
To know in detail about the important locations in Brownsville, click here.
People and Culture of Brownsville
Brownsville is teeming with museums and art galleries that represent the history and culture of the region as well as Mexico. Artists, students, cowboys and vacationers, all form a fascinating and exciting cultural mix. As the city borders with Mexico, the Mexican culture is reflected is the city’s culinary scene and festivities. It is a destination that boasts cultural diversity. White, Native American, African American, Asian, Pacific Islander and several other races, all calls Brownsville their home.
Time Zone and Phone Code of Brownsville
Brownsville, TX follows Central Time Zone
UTC-GMT Offset: Brownsville is GMT/UTC-6hours during Standard Time and GMT/UTC-5 hours during Daylight Saving Time
Daylight Saving Time Usage: Brownsville uses Daylight Saving Time
Time Zone Abbrev.: CST is abbreviated for Central Standard Time and CDT is abbreviated for Central Daylight Time
Brownsville area code: 956
Best Time to Visit Brownsville
The best time to visit Brownsville, Texas is September through November (fall) or March through May (spring). Though, the city experiences plenty of sunshine all year-round but these months are somewhat comfortable and enjoyable.
The city hosts plenty of festivals and events throughout the year that reflects its rich and diverse cultural heritage. From carnival to musicals to lively parades to dance shows and concerts to food and beer festivals, there is always something interesting and fun going on in Brownsville.
Important Locations in Brownsville Map Guide