Monday, March 4, 2019

2019 Charro Days Parade photos

photos by Javier R Garcia
Just a few photos to remember this year's Charro Days Saturday parade.

Friday, February 8, 2019

1963 0920 Missouri Pacific Station Demolished

by Jose Cazares
1963 slide image of the MOPac station (Jose Cazares collection)
The End of an Era.

This photograph of the Missouri Pacific passenger station during its last days before it was to be demolished, was taken on September 20, 1963. A year later on October 1964, the old Levee Street station, which served rail patrons in Brownsville for more than half a century, closed. The Missouri Pacific railroad moved its passenger facilities to its 6th Street freight depot, combining its freight, passenger and warehouse facilities at this single site. 

The depot was demolished in 1965 at the request of the Brownsville chamber of commerce and the city. It was a terrible loss, not only did Brownsville lose this beautiful building, it also lost all passenger train service in 1966. The trains which once brought Brownsville out of its isolation and helped the city prosper and grow in 1904, was gone.

The city of Brownsville has remained without passenger train service since 1966, maybe one day passenger train service will once again return......?

“ We were just in time to get a final view of the old R. R. station, and the wrecking operation in the final stages, even before our eyes, as we watched partially from the window of our room at the El Jardin Hotel. Now this old landmark is gone—razed completely to the ground.”
......Wm. Norman Hall
El Jardin Hotel, May 19, 1965.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

2019 0119 Jefferson Davis Stone Honored and Objected To

by Javier R. Garcia
Confederate "widow" at Washington Park

Here are a few photos I took today while passing by Washington Park where Civil War historians met to honor their history and heritage while another small group of activists came to protest the presence of the Jefferson Davis stone monument at Washington park in Brownsville, Texas.
These men can often be seen dressed as soldiers who fought during the Mexican-American War / War with Mexico  (a.k.a. Invasion of Mexico) at Palo Alto Battlefield National Park in their roles as living historians to instruct and educate visitors to the park.  Today, they were here to practice their right and freedom to honor the Confederate marker that has stirred some controversy in recent years ever since the movement to remove Confederate markers began after race-hate crimes increased across the country.
Fake news or not?  I borrowed this from KGBTv's report.  They could at least show a photo of the actual historic marker instead of a statue of Jefferson Davis to give the impression that is what stands at Washington Park.  
 Here is what the stone looked like after it was vandalized.  It has been a year since the media tried to stir up controversy in Brownsville, Texas but the sparks just dont seem to fly here like they have in the rest of the country which has ignited violence in some places.  
There doesn't seem to be any offensive language or inaccurate information with the exception that is calls Jefferson Davis a "martyr."
Fake activists too?  Activists with signs stood a few feet away from Confederate history enthusiasts while two police units were parked nearby.  The organizers are from Edinburgh and Austin which could easily lead anyone to believe not all these people live in Brownsville, Texas and only visit the park to protest the rock.  
The clock is ticking:  The question has turned to downtown commissioner Ben Neece who suggests  that both parties concerned about the fate of the rock must meet together to find a solution.  A town hall meeting was held over a year ago but that was a waste of time - I was there so feel free to ask me why I thought so if you were there also.

You can search this blog for more posts on the "Jefferson Davis" stone to see the li'l media attention it received.  Most people have cooled their heads over it but there are still others determined to see it removed so when we know its fate we'll be sure to post an update about that too.
"There is no such thing as good and bad history.  History is history."

UPDATE:  Reaction from two opponents to the Jefferson Davis stone on Facebook page after I pointed out that these non-locals probably only visit Washington Park to protest.
 Mr Colon admits that they are from McAllen.  If the others are from elsewhere, at least they are visiting Brownsville for it history and maybe they go out to have a bite to eat and well, that sounds like tourism to me.  What good do the protesters bring?  
 Why has nothing been done?!  I'll tell you why.  Opponents to stone have no sense of compromise or means to a solution other than removing stone completely.  Before they demanded it be put in a museum but I hope local museum directors understand that these Confederate markers were not meant to be placed in or outside of museums.  That would make the museum look foolish unless they included adequate interpretation to mark this time in our history when all of a sudden the rock became in instrument of racism (according to opponents, that is).  That's why.  Not only that, soon activists would return and protest the museum because there simply is no satisfying them
 I was also asked to mind my business.  History is my business and it's non-profit!  The hypocrisy.  First off, Confederate folks are just there doing their history thing.  Secondly, the activists are exercising their right to protest the rock.  That's their thing.  Thirdly, I was exercising my freedom to take photos in a public place and post these photos on this blog with no malice intended.  I took the high road.  Then these two come on a Facebook page I administrate to exercise their right to free speech by calling me a troll.  Very few people actually read this blog. 
Mr Colon misunderstood my comment
Trolls use a strategy of tag-teaming to harass Facebook pages when they are losing an argument.
To avoid confrontation I gave this person an opportunity to withdraw but she is actually the person who has been contacting media to complain about the rock.  It has become an obsession with her and  I am accused of being a troll and also of making this a personal issue.  It has become personal.  I love history -  "good and bad" but I repeat myself.....
 "Our Culture" on the border is a shared and combined culture.  There is no denying that but Ms Serrano sees it otherwise.
 Meanwhile the trolling tactics continued with Mr Colon inserting childish memes and Ms Serrano  arguing with Ms X and telling me what I should post on my page as if I would value her suggestion.  She isn't even supposed to see the page anymore after I blocked her but Facebook allows her to have access to page.  I cut all that out.  I was away from computer while the back and forth tirade was going on between Ms S and Ms X.    Note that Ms X alludes to being confronted by another group of protesters in Fakebook posts and comments on this blog.  I was at event for about ten minutes and did not see that.  
The only thing that Ms Serrano accomplished by inserting herself into the discussion was to alienate her friend, Ms. X.  She then contacted KVEO-23 to do another story like they did last year right before Charro Days and also gave them my personal phone number.  I did not bother to return their call.  Ms Serrano has become quite the publicity seeker.  Let's wish her luck.
Teaching them at an early age to use profanity and be intolerant of others practicing their freedom of speech, so they can grow up to be well-rounded citizens.  For any non-Spanish readers of this blog, the phrase "Hijos de la Chingada" (<-- click it) roughly translates to "Sons of Bitches" but the Urban Dictionary provides a  historical meaning.   Photo by Debbie Nathan.
Chica Peligrosa by Marco Almera

2nd UPDATE:  Comments by Ms X retrieved and shared here for the record:

BONUS UPDATEI'm getting pretty sick of hearing from individuals who seem to think because their families have lived in Brownsville, Texas for generations they can behave like cretins.  Word to the wise - I do not care what family you are from or who you know of how much money or influence you have:  If you make comments like these below, you forfeit any respect you were entitled to from me.

By this time I had had enough.  I do not have a problem with using the "Gringo" word since I've use it on page before but  I posted a map on FB someone sent to us and Mr Olvera had to ruin it.  His apology was worthless so I banned him from page.

Nothing embarrasses me more or pisses me off as much as feeling compelled to apologize for the behavior of others.  I think this individual was upset because I posted a political post (at bottom) and wanted to anger me.  He succeeded.  
Brownsville Station was created to provide historic resources to people who appreciate historic Brownsville, Texas.  I do not advertise for a fee - accept donations -  seek special treatment or ask for special favors from businesses I share posts for.  I do not do it for public adulation or political aspirations.  We are all equal on this page.  No one person who joins the page is more important than another.  If  people can not tolerate humor or political posts we share tough shit.