Our ancestors are not just names and dates, they are more. They were real people that once lived, had dreams, and as us built homes. Some were humble jacales and others built fort like structures for survival. The story of our ancestors is great and for many of them we still have to write it down. Fortunately for us there are books that can help us visualize what their homes were like and also how their way of life might have had been. one of those such books is the book “Lost Architecture of the Rio Grande Borderlands” by W. Eugene George.
I came across this book, last month, when I bought Jovita Gonzalez’s book “Life Along the Border: A Landmark Tejana Thesis“. In his book Eugene George mentions the many ranches and towns that got flooded by the Falcon Dam. He explains that the research to document these settlements was not completed int eh 50’s due to the rapid filling of falcon Dam due to heavy rains soon after the Dam was completed.
His book is the documented effort by him to preserve a piece of these once flourishing and thriving communities. The illustrations in his book are superb and the historical photos provided are truly a treasure. If your family was from the Zapata/Guerrero area I highly recommend this book. Even if they were not it is still excellent since many of the neighboring ranches and towns have very familiar similarities. It provides great architectural details about the homes, fortifications and other structures.
It is a great book and you will not regret getting a copy of it for your personal library.
Cover of Book:Lost Architecture of the Rio Grande Borderlands
Click here or on the above image to view on Amazon.com
Starting at $7.50 Used and $35.00 New Buy Now
Description of book by Amazon:
Mexican settlers first came to the valley of the Rio Grande to establish their ranchos in the 1750s. Two centuries later the Great River, dammed in an international effort by the U.S. and Mexican governments to provide flood control and a more dependable water supply, inundated twelve settlements that had been built there. Under the waters of the new Falcón Reservoir lay homes, businesses, churches, and cemeteries abandoned by residents on both sides of the river when the floods of 1953 filled the 115,000-acre area two years ahead of schedule.
The Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, and the University of Texas at Austin conducted an initial survey of the communities lost to the Falcón Reservoir, but these studies were never completed or fully reported. When architect W. Eugene George came to the area in the 1960s, he found a way of life waiting to be preserved in words, photographs, and drawings.
Two subsequent recessions of the reservoir—in 1983–86 and again in 1996–98—gave George new access to one of the settlements, Guerrero Viejo in Mexico. Unfortunately, the receding lake waters also made the village accessible to looters. George’s work, then, was crucial in documenting the indigenous architecture of these villages, both as it existed prior to the flooding and as it remained before it was despoiled by vandals’ hands.
Lost Architecture of the Rio Grande Borderlands combines George’s original 1975 Texas Historical Commission report with the information he gleaned during the two low-water periods. This handsome, extended photographic essay casts new light on the architecture and lives of the people of the Texas-Mexico borderlands.
Table of Contents:
Here is the table of contents of this book so that you may know exactly what it contains.
List of Illustrations
Notes About Illustrations
Foreword by Ricardo Paz Trevino
Preface: The Story of The Story
Introduction: Reasons for Caring
1. The Settlements in Nuevo Santander
2. The Land and It’s Utilization
3. Building Technology
4. Descriptions of Life in the Borderlands
5. Site Notes
6. Homeland Lost
Epilogue: Guerrero Viejo
Appendix: Cultural Inquiry
About the Author:
After a distinguished career in academe and historic preservation, W. EUGENE GEORGE became the inaugural Mary Ann Blocker Castleberry Endowed Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He lives in Austin and maintains an active architectural practice.
Get Your Copy of This Book:
At the moment of writing this the only place that I could find it for sale was at Amazon.com and was selling starting at $7.50 used and $35.00 new. If you are interested in buying this book click here BUY NOW to buy from Amazon. I got my copy for $7.50.
I hope that you find this book useful and informative as I have. Please let me know in the comment area of what you thought about htis book.
Thanks for the info! Just ordered it. I loved Jovita's book too!