Traveling east from the refuge on the Military Highway (281) there is a small town with the name of Santa Maria where there are several historic markers.
This is the crumbling remains of Zachary Taylors quarters during the war with Mexico. Did you know that? Not many do as there is nothing there letting one know of its existence. The local people know about it though. Made of adobe brick from the 1800's, it had two rooms with an out building nearby. As we drove into town, behind the post office, there is an adobe brick wall still standing where there was a subfort of Fort Brown and Fort Ringgold. Fort Brown is located in Brownsville and Fort Ringgold is located in Rio Grande City. The troops would travel between these forts and that is where the highway got its name.
This historical plaque tells you about the Santa Maria church that was built in the early l880's.
Across the road from the church is El Rancho Blanco (The White Ranch) built in 1870, which served as a stagecoach stop as well as a steamboat station. Did you know, the mighty Rio Grande River was once a water highway to STEAMBOATS? More on that later.
This is a plaque close by of Rancho Santa Maria. You can double click to enlarge the picture to read it. Several years ago, Wallace and I participated in the restoration of one of these plaques which was quite interesting. This one needs some attention.
Our next stop was in Progresso driving south toward the bridge to Rancho Toluca Road. We turned east and came to a dirt road that took us to this area.