Rio Vista Farm in Socorro, TX


My name is Steven Esparza. This summer, I am in the Latino Heritage Internship Program with the Environment for the Americas. I am working as an Architectural Intern in the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) department for the National Park Service. This past week, I was at my site at the Rio Vista Farm in Socorro, Texas.

My project involves making architectural drawings of the Rio Vista Farm buildings. This will be done first by using a laser scanner that will make a 3D model of the site. In order to collect this data, I have to be outside and run the laser scanner from a variety of perspectives of the site. This data will then be used to make the drawings and plans, which will be sent to the Library of Congress and to the Rio Vista Community Center.

The site encompasses several adobe buildings that form an enclosure like a courtyard. The site dates back as early as 1915 and was established as a County Poor Farm. As part of the Texas Constitution of 1896, it provided public assistance to destitute residents that were in need of support. By 1935, it was designated for transient labor camps as part of the New Deal programs. Not long after, from 1951 until 1964, the site hosted the Bracero program, which received close to a million migrant workers at one point.

The buildings themselves served as dormitories, federal administration offices, recreation, medical examination, and as a mess hall. They were constructed in the Mission Revival style. One can see their distinct features, such as a curved parapet- bell gable, a square complex, white plaster (stucco) walls, low pitched roof lines, and adobe brick walls.

This site is important in Latinx history in the United States. Being someone who lives a few hours from the site in Albuquerque, I feel excited to be learning new skills that will continue to help me grow in the field of historic preservation.

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