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La Borde House

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1902, Martin Hanson Jr.; 1917 additions, Leo M. J. Dielmann. 601 E. Main St.

Built for François La Borde, a merchant born in New Orleans and raised in Matamoros, the residential-commercial compound was expanded over a twenty-three-year period. Varied in design, the flat-roofed, two-story, square-plan, central residential block responds to the Border Brick style with its floating cornice, while exhibiting Queen Anne features in the jigsaw-cut brackets and gingerbread details of its double-tiered wooden gallery. Flanking each side of the residential segment, one-story side wings with brick quoins served as warehouse and office space. Projecting to the front, rear, and along the back, the wings created a courtyard accessed by an arched entrance along Garza Street.

Due to renewed military activity along the border as a result of the Mexican Revolution, La Borde hired San Antonio architect Dielmann to add a second story to the side and rear wings to house the increasing number of visitors. Dielmann cleverly used the brick cornices topping the first story of the wings as a base to install a second floor with extended brick parapets, making for a composition so well integrated that it appears to be original in its totality. Since 1917, the building has been in continuous service as a hotel, with a major rehabilitation in 1982 that included period furnishings.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "La Borde House", [Rio Grande City, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 288-288.

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