County Seat: Rio Grande City • County Population: 60,968 (2010 U.S. Census)
County Judge: Eloy Vera
- Abel Cantu
- Raul Pena Jr.
- Eloy Garza
- Ruben D. Saenz
The inaugural county capitol was a two-story warehouse erected on Water Street in 1854. Historians surmise that two skeletons found on the patio of the building may have belonged to men who died on the nearby hanging tree.
In 1886, the Commissioners Court contracted with S.W. Brooks to construct a $20,000 temple of justice, which was eventually replaced in 1939 by the current county courthouse.
Starr County is a border community rich in history. For example, LaBorde House in Rio Grande City, recognized as a National Historic Landmark, displays the uniqueness of French architecture; the structure was designed in Paris in 1893, and plans were refined by San Antonio architects in 1898 at the building site. Following a meticulous restoration effort, LaBorde House opened as a luxurious, full-service hotel in April 1982.
The Grotto of Lourdes serves as a replica of the original cave located in France; Fort Ringgold, an 1848 military reservation, was named after the first officer killed there during the Mexican American War; and the city of Roma’s Historical District offers “architectural fabric” that represents “the evolution of a key town in the border region during the 19th century,” according to the National Historic Landmarks Program.
Visitors frequent Roma Bluffs World Birding Center to enjoy distinctive bird and butterfly watching. Part of a National Historic District, the Roma Bluffs house a riverside nature area comprised of three acres.
In addition, Starr County is home to 27 lakes, as listed at http://www.fishingworks.com/lakes/texas/starr/, where water enthusiasts gather to fish, canoe, or enjoy the related scenery on nearby hiking trails.
February is a special month full of activities attracting visitors from far and wide. The county’s next Wild Game Dinner – including a dinner, dance, and live and silent auctions benefiting the fair’s scholarship fund – will take place Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, at the fairgrounds. The parade is also set for that same morning and will wind through historic downtown Rio Grande City. The Starr County Fair will take place the following weekend, Feb. 20-22.