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Brownsville from 1846... (1996)

Brownsville Historical Association

Sound | 1996

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  •  Brownsville's role in the Mexican-American War (1846 - 1848) 
  •  James Stillman, son of Brownsville founder Charles Stillman, is the great-grandfather of filmmaker Whit Stillman.  
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This educational film relates a history of Brownsville since 1846, when Fort Texas, later to become Fort Brown, was besieged by Mexican forces, leading to the Battle of Palo Alto and the Mexican-American War. The film focuses on Charles Stillman's establishment of the City of Brownsville and the Stillman House, still a landmark in the city today. The film also touches on other historic points, such as the city's importance for the Confederacy during the Civil War, when Brownsville's proximity to Mexico allowed cotton to be shipped via Matamoros and Mexican sea ports, thereby circumventing the Union blockade on all Confederate ports.
Brownsville experienced a population boom in the first three decades of the 20th century, as the population soared from just over 6,000 in 1900 to 22,021 in 1930. Much of this expansion was due to land agents from the area traveling north enticing landseekers to the Valley, playing up the warm climate and available farmland. At the height of this land boom in the 1920s, special trains were even dispatched solely to bring prospective buyers to the area.
In 1947, the Brownsville Historical Association opened Brownsville’s first history museum at Fort Brown. Since then, the mission of the Brownsville Historical Association has been to promote the history and heritage of Brownsville, Texas through educational and outreach programs. The organization also provides programming at its several venues on a year-round basis. These programs include fine arts exhibitions, school collaborations, preservation education, and community pride celebrations.