The Laureles Ranch House was built by Charles Stillman right around the time that he was involved with the founding of Brownsville.
“This is the original ranch house, then it was sold off in about 1867 to Mifflin Kenedy,” said Eugene Fernandez, Historic Brownsville Museum Manager.
Kenedy, partner in the King Ranch, was among the first Texas ranchers to fence his lands.
In 1869 he enclosed the ranch on three sides with thirty-six miles of smooth-wire fence.
The ranch expanded to contain 242,000 acres, all fenced, and the ranch house was home to many influential people in South Texas.
“Cornelius Stillman which was Charles’s brother, Charles Stillman, you had Mifflin Kenedy, Petra Vela Vidal Kenedy, Henrietta King, Richard King,” Fernandez said.
The house, with its original shell, was eventually relocated from the King Ranch to Brownsville four to six year ago, was restored and is now used for community functions.
“It was taken intact in the Nueces and brought over here overland,” Fernandez said.
“The little ones in particular, see this house they say this is what a real ranch house looked like. That is the Mission accomplished right there,” he said.
The house currently stands at Linear Park in Brownsville across from the federal court house.