Remembering Landreth’s Locksmith


BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Landreth’s Locksmith Service in Brownsville has been providing services to the Rio Grande Valley for decades.

After returning from World War II around 1946, a Landreth son became an expert in locksmith and since then the business has been providing the service to people in the Rio Grande Valley. And although the locksmith services at Landreth’s may come to an end soon the building, will still stand, and be repurposed by the Brownsville Independent School District.

Commissioner of Cameron County Historical Commission Eugene Fernandez adds:

There are several generations of families now in the Rio Grande Valley who have never known that Mainstreet America wasn’t always overshadowed by the “Mall”. Prior to the 1970’s Brownsville, as well as the other Valley cities, carried on thriving commerce through its system of specialty shops that lined its mainstreets.

The “Mom-and-Pop” enterprises, as the majority of them were called; the family-owned businesses were passed down through the generations.

Each specialty store had its nitch in the commercial balance. The equivalent in today’s world would be the various departments of a superstore. If one can imagine, the butcher, the backer, the candlestick maker of a large department store once were individual family-owned shops.

Throughout the early days of Brownsville, this was most certainly the natural layout along its city streets. There are names such as Perl Brother’s Men’s Fashions, Den-Rus Pharmacy, El Buen Gusto Panaderia, Dorfman’s Jewelers, and on and on. The thing that made them so special is exactly what is absent from the amalgamated superstores – the personal touch.

The shop owners took pride in handing down a very specialized expertise of their craft. If it were a locksmith, then you could generally count on a generation or two having studied this specialized trade, and there was usually a total reliability attached, and the “money back guarantee” was absolute.

Beyond the value of expertise, there was a friendly face attached to the product or service that made one feel good, as if you were visiting a family member that you grew up with.

The latest word from the new occupier’s of the property where Landreth’s had been located for the past eighty years, is that the classic architecture of the building will not be demolished, for one, and secondly, there will be a certain commitment by them to skillfully refurbish the structure and integrate it into the new needs that they have for the space. Being that the property was a gas station and car agency in 1939, certain characteristics of that theme will prevail on this spot, even though it will be retrofitted to perhaps accommodate a ticket booth and public restroom unit for the adjacent Sams Stadium.

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