Three Valley locations listed as endangered by preservation organization


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A nonprofit preservationist organization has released its annual list of places it deems endangered, and three Rio Grande Valley locations are on this year’s list.

Preservation Texas released the 2024 edition of its Texas’s Most Endangered Places List on Thursday. The list includes 13 locations from throughout the state that are threatened in a number of ways.

“The threats faced by the sites on the 2024 list are varied, ranging from development pressures like urban expansion and infrastructure projects to deferred maintenance, environmental factors, economic challenges, and legal hurdles,” the list reads. “Despite their designation as Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks or listings on the National Register of Historic Places, these sites confront substantial risks.”

The list includes Fort Ringgold in Rio Grande City, the Odell-Rodriguez Store and Post Office in Hidalgo, and the San Juan Hotel.

The San Juan Hotel has been the subject of much debate recently following news about the city’s plans to potentially demolish the historic building and construct a multi-purpose events center at the location.

The plans have drawn pushback from community members seeking to salvage the building. The effort is being led by Dr. Stephanie Alvarez, a professor of Mexican-American studies at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, and Gabriel Ozuna, who is the preservation chair for the Hidalgo County Historical Commission, who recently hosted a community discussion regarding the hotel on Monday.

Ozuna penned a letter to San Juan Mayor Mario Garza and the commission on behalf of the Hidalgo County Historical Commission calling for the preservation of the historic building.

“As stewards of the county’s historical resources, the members of the Hidalgo County Historical Commission are compelled to voice our strong opposition to any plans or actions that would undermine the historic and architectural integrity of the San Juan Hotel,” the letter read. “We have agreed to support the efforts to protect and save the historic landmark from demolition and inappropriate treatment.”

Another letter to the mayor and the commission was sent from the Texas Tropical Trail Region of the Texas Historical Commission, Texas Heritage Trails Program.

“The Board of Directors of the Texas Tropical Trail Region is concerned that the future of the historic San Juan Hotel may be in jeopardy,” the letter read. “We understand that the hotel was recently purchased by the City of San Juan and that there are plans to demolish the landmark building. We urge you to consider the negative impacts to the region’s cultural heritage if the building is lost.”

While the San Juan Hotel remains a hot button issue, Preservation Texas is also raising concerns about the Fort Ringgold Historic District.

Fort Ringgold, which served as a military outpost along the Rio Grande from 1848 to 1944, is currently owned by the Rio Grande City-Grulla Independent School District.

“While some structures remain in use, many have suffered from the effects of deferred maintenance,” the article read. “A new nonprofit, Revive For Ringgold, is leading efforts to develop a long-term plan to raise awareness about Fort Ringgold, to promote its history and economic value as a heritage tourism asset, and to advocate for the preservation of its important historic resources.”

The list also calls attention to the Odell-Rodriguez Store and Post Office in Hidalgo, which was constructed in 1889 as a general merchandise store. A portion of the building was also utilized as a post office until 1913.

“In recent years, the building has been used for storage and an adjacent … 1900 house on the lot is vacant,” the article read. “Both buildings are showing signs of deterioration and the house has already lost its roof. Structural assessments, stabilization plans, and long-term adaptive use strategies are needed to ensure that these landmark structures will survive.”

The complete list of endangered places can be found at

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