Set near the river in the former warehouse and wharf area at the southeastern tip of the city grid, The Gem survives as the oldest standing building in Brownsville, and as evidence that the architectural influence of New Orleans's Vieux Carré was present in the new city from its inception. Named after a saloon that occupied its first floor in the 1850s, the rehabilitated, flat-roofed brick structure features five bays with French door openings, a shed-roofed, full-width balcony, and a dentiled cornice. In the historic tradition, the owner still resides upstairs, while his business is located on the ground floor.
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