A Look at the 1866 Fernandez-Schodts Building

Throwback THursday

The structure was built by money earned from the Civil War. 

Businessman Jose Fernandez made a fortune by selling weapons in the city of Bagdad, present day Boca Chica Beach. 

The town was wiped off the map in 1867 by a great hurricane, just one year after Fernandez left the town to build a shop in Brownsville in the Market Square Area.

“Market square was actually just really primitive in the way it was drawn out it. It was after the Civil War and after the money came back from Matamoros, because it was the real boom city for the Civil War, then all of this area started building up,” said Eugene Fernandez, Historic Brownsville Museum Manager. 

The shop brought Europe to South Texas, including fine perfume and linen.

Fernandez eventually sold the shop and went on to invest in the cause of Porfirio Diaz, who would end up becoming the President of Mexico for 27 years. 

Under new ownership, the shop sold farm implements, then was sold again and became a social club.

“Directly after that for the next 50, 60 years it was a pharmacy,” Fernandez said. 

This historic building was built around the time of the American Civil War, the ceiling, floors and fireplaces are all original from the 19th century.

It’s just one of the many buildings, shops, and stories that make up Old Market Square, that is slowly being reconstructed. 

“The other businesses, the other buildings of this type of Civil War period and thereafter have been brought back into being,” Fernandez said. 

The Fernandez-Schodts Building is currently under construction, the owners plan to turn it into a bistro. 

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