Founded in 1830 as a ranch headquarters on a small bluff on the north bank of the Rio Grande, San Ygnacio is more a part of Mexico than the United States. Socially and culturally it is tied to the now-abandoned south bank community of Guerrero Viejo. Retaining its character as a ranching outpost of the borderlands, San Ygnacio is pedestrian in scale, with its narrow streets defined by banquetas,or raised sidewalks, and structures built of river sandstone. Over the years, the town has captivated artists, historians, and architects because it still provides the sense of isolation that was once prevalent in this remote region. Today, despite alterations to many of its buildings, that sense of time and place is preserved in the town's architecture. The surnames Gutiérrez, Sánchez, and Uribe continue to dominate the social fabric of the community and trace their ancestry to Jesús Treviño, the original founder still affectionately called “Papa Jesusito” by his descendants.
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