Created as a stop on the Texas Mexican Railway, the town was laid out in the ranchlands donated by Don Plácido Benavides. Founded in 1880, its population was drawn from nearby ranching settlements whose residents came to partake in the new rail economy. Benavides also set the stage for the political ascendancy of Archer Parr, who arrived in 1882 and used it as his base from which to establish his stranglehold over South Texas politics. In the 1920s, the town experienced rapid growth due to the discovery of oil, an expansion that endured during the Great Depression and into the 1950s, when oil production gradually came to a halt.
A typical railroad town, the layout of Benavides includes the tracks as its central spine flanked on either side by two parallel main streets. Along that alignment lies the town's varied architectural tally, which, surprisingly, was built in a community that never exceeded 3,000 residents.
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.