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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Brownsville in Cameron County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Rabb Plantation

 
 
Rabb Plantation Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 22, 2021
1. Rabb Plantation Marker
Inscription.  

Today, commonly referred to as the Rabb Plantation, this was originally known as Rancho San Tomas and then, San Tomas Plantation. It encompassed 20,353 acres stretching north from the banks of the Rio Grande to the Arroyo Colorado. In 1885, Mifflin Kenedy conveyed San Tomas to his stepdaughter, Maria Vicenta Starck. In 1892, after the marriage of Frank Rabb to her daughter, Lillian, Maria Vicenta Starck transferred 1/2 undivided interest in San Tomas to Frank Rabb. That same year, the Rabb and Starck families built a Queen Anne style house that served as the working headquarters of the plantation. It represented the living style and upward mobility of the entrepreneurs and political elite of South Texas at the end of the 19th century. Its Victorian Architecture signified a shift from the sprawling southwest ranchos and "Border brick" tradition, and is the only example of its type in Cameron County. The Rabb Plantation encompassed numerous outbuildings, including a brick outhouse, foreman's house, stable and workers' buildings. Many of these buildings have disappeared.

At San Tomas, Rabb followed the lead of the neighboring Bruley
The Rabb Plantation Marker is the first marker on the left of the three markers image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 22, 2021
2. The Rabb Plantation Marker is the first marker on the left of the three markers
Plantation and experimented with irrigation systems, agricultural crops and new livestock breeds, trying to adapt them to the South Texas climate. These beginnings helped propel the agricultural boom that emerged in the early 20th century. Frank Rabb died in 1932 and the land around the house passed to his estate, and then to his second wife, Margaret McCormick Rabb. In the 1970s, the acreage around the house was conveyed to the National Audubon Society and established as a sanctuary for wildlife. In 2010, the house was conveyed to the Gorgas Science Foundation.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2012
 
Erected 2012 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 17140.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureArchitectureIndustry & Commerce.
 
Location. 25° 51.142′ N, 97° 25.047′ W. Marker is in Brownsville, Texas, in Cameron County. Marker is on Sabal Palm Grove Road one mile south of Southmost Boulevard (Farm to Market Road 1419), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8435 Sabal Palm Grove Road, San Antonio TX 78251, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Frank Rabb (here, next to this marker); Rabb Plantation House (here, next to this marker);
The front porch of the Rabb Plantation image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 22, 2021
3. The front porch of the Rabb Plantation
Neale Home (approx. 5.6 miles away); Neale House Circa 1850 (approx. 5.6 miles away); Neale House (approx. 5.6 miles away); The Oldest House in Brownsville (approx. 5.6 miles away); Home of Charles Stillman (approx. 5.9 miles away); Stillman House (approx. 5.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brownsville.
 
The front parlor of the Rabb Plantation image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 22, 2021
4. The front parlor of the Rabb Plantation
Rabb Plantation image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 22, 2021
5. Rabb Plantation
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 26, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 26, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 47 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on January 26, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
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Feb. 27, 2021