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County
Starr
Region
South Texas Plains
Population
2010 Census - 9,765
2000 Census - 9,617
Nearby
Towns
Roma, Texas
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Roma Texas History:
The towns of Roma and Los Saenz were two separate communities that incorporated jointly. In the 1760s, the Saenz ranching family followed Jose de Escandon from the Spanish colonial city of Mier to this area; the Saenz’s founded the town of Corrales de Saenz. When the town became part of the U.S. in 1848, the Oblates of Mary suggested the town be called Roma. The Roma post office was established that same year. In the mid-1850s, the Oblates of Mary established a mission. From 1850-1900, the town was the westernmost port on the Rio Grande for the flatboats and steamers carrying cotton downstream. During the years of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917) many refugees sought refuge in the historic “Pink House,” now the Knights of Columbus Hall. In 1925 the railroad was extended to Rio Grande City and new roads were built to Roma. In 1927 the first international bridge, the unique suspension bridge, was constructed, connecting Roma with Ciudad Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, Mexico; a concrete bridge was completed in 1988. Oil and gas were discovered near Roma in the 1930s. The building of the Falcon Dam in 1953 controlled flooding in the area. In 1854, Father Pierre Yves Keralum designed the first church; the tower from this church is now a part of the Our Lady of Refuge Church built in 1965. The town was designated a National Historic District in 1971. Many restored homes around the main plaza have been listed as Texas Historical Landmarks. Many of the historic buildings were designed by noted German architect Heinrich Portscheller during the 1880s. Scenes from the movie Viva Zapata were filmed in the main plaza; the buildings used in the movie are marked. The Roma area’s main industry is agriculture. Roma is located on U.S. 83, 58 miles northwest of Hidalgo, 53.5 miles northwest of McAllen, 12.7 miles slightly northwest of Rio Grande City, 42 miles southeast of Zapata, and 14 miles southeast of Falcon Heights and the International Falcon Reservoir.
 
Father Pierre Yves Keralum:
Father Pierre was an architect in France before coming to the U.S. and serving with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate which was charged by the Catholic Church with serving the Laredo area, and later, the eight southernmost counties of Texas. He built chapels and churches up and down the Rio Grande River, including the Chapel on the Toluca Ranch in Progresso, and the former 1854 church in Roma. In 1856 he had begun construction on the parish church in Roma, Texas when the Oblate superior in charge of building the cathedral in Brownsville drowned at sea. Father Keralum took over the building and design of Brownsville’s Gothic Revival Immaculate Conception Cathedral, and designed and built Our Lady of Visitation Church in Santa Maria, and Laredo’s San Agustin Cathedral. A marker is located at a knoll behind Compass Bank at 201 Starr Street, Mercedes.
 
National Historic District Tours:
Roma is the only intact U.S. border town in the Rio Grande Valley. The more than 40 historic structures of this community are located in a 10 block area surrounding the main plaza, and include buildings in the wharf area (Hidalgo St. to Juarez and Estrella Streets) such as warehouses, stores and the1927 San Pedro-Roma International (suspension) Bridge. Also included in the historic district is the customs area (Lincoln and Water Streets) which consists of commercial and residential structures, the main plaza area, and the Northwestern Area and a secondary ferry location. Many of the buildings are made of river sandstone, caliche limestone and molded brick; many are adobe buildings. Guided tours of these pre-1900 buildings are available by calling the City of Roma at (956) 849-1411. The city is also working on a self-guided tour map.
 
Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, Mexico:
This city of 19,997 residents is located across the Rio Grande River from Roma, Texas. Prior to 1950 the city was named San Pedro de Roma.  
 
Mexico Travel Warning
Duty Free Information
Border Bridge Wait Times
 
San Pedro-Roma International Bridge, 1927:
This green colored suspension bridge is one of 8 still in existence in Texas. Its 192 meter length spans the Rio Grande River between Roma Texas and Ciudad Miguel Aleman, Mexico; it has not been used as a border crossing since 1979. It has been painted and restored. Future plans include preserving it as a pedestrian crossing. The bridge is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and on Mexico’s National Artistic Monuments list.   
 
Roma-Ciudad Miguel Aleman (Mexico) Bridge, 1988:
This 810 foot long, two-lane bridge is owned by Starr County; it was completed in 1988. It is known as the Starr County International Bridge, Roma Bridge and Puente Roma-Miguel Alemán Bridge.The bridge is located in the historical portion of Roma and is used by pedestrians and by commercial and passenger vehicles. It is open 24 hours a day. (956) 487-2709. (956) 849-1678. 405 North Estrella Street, Roma, TX 78584.
 
Los Ebanos Ferry Crossing – Mexico Ferry Crossing, Los Ebanos, TX:
This is the last working hand pulled ferry in existence in the United States. It ferries vehicles across the Rio Grande River between the U.S. and Diaz Ordaz, Mexico. This river crossing was first used by the Spanish explorers in the1740s. During the prohibition years it was known as Smuggler's Crossing because of the bootleg liquor the ferry transported from Mexico to the U.S. Originally called Las Cuevas Crossing because there are numerous caves in the area, the crossing was renamed Los Ebanos after the large number of Ebony trees located in the area. This is a good birding site. The ferry load limit is 3 cars, and several pedestrians; fees apply. The ferry makes the round trip in 10 minutes. The ferry operates daily, 8am-3:30pm; closed for lunch 12pm-12:15pm. Ferry: (956) 485-1084. Office: (956) 487-1650. The ferry is located three miles south of U.S. 83, near Sullivan City on FM 886. From Mission, drive 14 miles west on U.S. 83, then turn left (south) onto FM 886, and drive 3 miles to the ferry; you will pass through the small town of Los Ebanos.
 
Roma Historical Museum:
The museum is located in an 1840 chapel that was built for secular priests from Mier (Mexico). The chapel consists of the main chapel and a back room used as the priest’s living quarters; the small connecting middle room was added later. Plans include restoring the living quarters to its original 1840s-1850s period. This building and other historic buildings surrounding the plaza were used during the filming of the movie Viva Zapata. Museum exhibits include ecclesiastical artifacts (some from Germany), 1850s to 1900s Mexican and American domestic items, a hand carved wooden mantel from the mid-1880s, and a Straub Machinery Co. gin. To visit, pick up the keys from City Hall at 77 E. Convent Avenue. (956) 849-1411.
 
Starr County Library:
In additional to traditional library services, this library offers public access computers, Road Runner internet access, and free computer classes. Open Mon-Fri, 10am-7pm. (956) 849-0072. The library is located at 1705 N. Athens, Roma, TX 78584. 
 
Annual Starr County Fair & Rodeo, Feb:
Activities include the fair, a Saturday morning parade, the annual Saturday night wild game dinner, a ranch rodeo, youth scrambles, a talent show, a pageant, concessions, a petting zoo, a carnival and live music. (956) 488-0122. The fairgrounds are located in town at 1321 E. San Benito Street, Rio Grande City, 78582. Email
 
El Mexicano Restaurant:
(956) 849-4275. The restaurant is located on U.S. 83. Reviews