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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Socorro in El Paso County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Rio Vista Farm

 
 
Rio Vista Farm - English - Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, November 4, 2010
1. Rio Vista Farm - English - Marker
Inscription.
English:
El Paso County's second poor farm, known as the El Paso Poor Farm, was established here in 1915. John O'Shea, a wealthy farmer and businessman whose farm was nearby, assumed operation of the farm. His wife, Agnes O'Shea, was in charge of the residents. John O'Shea died in 1929, and the couple's daughter, Helen O'Shea Keleher, came from her home in San Antonio to operate the farm with her mother. The farm was scheduled to be closed in 1929, but, with the troubled times of the Depression era, its population grew. Renamed "Rio Vista Farm," the poor farm hosted a variety of public welfare programs beginning in the 1930s. It operated under the Texas Transient Bureau and later the Federal Works Progress Administration. A temporary base for a Civilian Conservation Corps unit in 1936, the farm continued to shelter hundreds of homeless and destitute adults and children.

From 1951 to 1964, the farm was used as a reception and processing center for the Bracero Program, which brought Mexican laborers to work in the lower valley of El Paso and other agricultural areas in the U.S. New federal welfare programs and state law reduced the population of the poor farm to four, and it was closed in 1964.

Unlike other Texas county poor farms, Rio Vista followed a familial rather than institutional model, accepting
Rio Vista Farm - Spanish - Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, November 4, 2010
2. Rio Vista Farm - Spanish - Marker
neglected and abandoned children in addition to the adult indigent population. In later life, Helen O'Shea Keleher cited the fifty years she spent with the more than four thousand orphans and neglected children of the Rio Vista Poor Farm as her proudest accomplishment.

Spanish:
Granja Río Vista
La 2 casa de caridad del Condado del El Paso, conocida como La Granja Pobre de El Paso, se estableció en este lugar en 1915. John O’Shea empresario y agricultor rico, tenia su granja a corta distancia, se encargo de las operaciones y su esposa, Agnes, se encargaba de los residentes. En 1929, cuando murió el Sr. O’Shea su hija Helen O’Shea Keleher vino de San Antonio para operar la granja con su madre. En 1929, iba cerrar la granja, pero por los tiempos difíciles de la era de la Depression, su población aumentó. Bajo el nuevo nombre de “Granja Río Vista,” a principios de los 1930, varios programas sociales se realizaron en la granja. Funciono bajo el Texas Transient Bureau y Federal Works Progress Administration. En 1936, como base temporal para un Cuerpo Civil de Conservación, la granja siguió de albergue para cientos de adultos y niños desamparados y destituidos.

De 1951 a 1964, la granja funcionó como centro de recepción y procesamiento para el Programa de Braceros, a través del cual personas de México
Rio Vista Farm Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, November 4, 2010
3. Rio Vista Farm Marker
Marker in English is on the left and marker in Spanish is located on the right.
venían a trabajar en el Valle Bajo de El Paso y en otras áreas agrícolas de los Estados Unidos. Con los nuevos programas federales de prestaciones sociales y leyes estatales, la población de Río Vista se vio reducida a cuatro personas, cuando cerro en 1964.

A diferencia de casas de caridad de otros condados de Texas, Río Vista seguía un modelo familiar y no institucional, donde se aceptaban niños descuidados y abandonados y a la población indigente adulta. En sus últimos años, Helen O'Shea puntualizo que los 50 años que paso con más de 4 mil niños huérfanos y abandonados en Río Vista, fueron su logro de mayor orgullo.
 
Erected 2000 by Texas Historical Commission.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects marker series.
 
Location. 31° 39.689′ N, 106° 15.954′ W. Marker is near Socorro, Texas, in El Paso County. Marker is on North Rio Vista Road, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 800 North Rio Vista Road, El Paso TX 79927, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Socorro Mission La Purísima (approx. 2.2 miles away); Socorro (approx. 2.2
Rio Vista Farm image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, November 4, 2010
4. Rio Vista Farm
miles away); Camino Real (approx. 2.2 miles away); Casa Ortiz (approx. 2.3 miles away); Ysleta Plaza (approx. 4.1 miles away); Alderete-Candelaria House (approx. 4.1 miles away); Oldest Mission in Texas (approx. 4.2 miles away); First Mission and Pueblo in Texas (approx. 4.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Socorro.
 
Also see . . .  The Bracero Program – Rio Vista Farm. Sacramento, California PBS station KVIE produces America’s Heartland, covering stories regarding agriculture and related subjects. This episode highlighted the Bracero Program and Rio Vista Farm. (Submitted on November 21, 2010.) 
 
Categories. Notable Places
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 15, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 1,014 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 15, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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