Details for Rabb Plantation (Atlas Number 5507017140)

Historical Marker — Atlas Number 5507017140

Data

Marker Number 17140
Atlas Number 5507017140
Marker Title Rabb Plantation
Index Entry Rabb Plantation
Address
City Brownsville
County Cameron
UTM Zone
UTM Easting
UTM Northing
Subject Codes Agriculture
Marker Year 2012
Designations Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Marker Location The end of Sabal Palm Road running south of FM 1792
Marker Size 27" x 42" with post
Marker Text RABB PLANTATION TODAY, COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS THE RABB PLANTATION, THIS WAS ORIGINALLY KNOWN AS RANCHO SAN TOMAS AND, THEN, SAN TOMAS PLANTATION. IT ENCOMPASSED 20,353 ACRES STRETCHING NORTH FROM THE BANKS OF THE RIO GRANDE TO THE ARROYO COLORADO. IN 1885, MIFFLIN KENEDY CONVEYED SAN TOMAS TO HIS STEPDAUGHTER, MARIA VICENTA STARCK. IN 1892, AFTER THE MARRIAGE OF FRANK RABB TO HER DAUGHTER, LILLIAN, MARIA VICENTA STARCK TRANSFERRED 1/2 UNDIVIDED INTEREST IN SAN TOMAS TO FRANK RABB. THAT SAME YEAR, THE RABB AND STARCK FAMILIES BUILT A QUEEN ANNE STYLE HOUSE THAT SERVED AS THE WORKING HEADQUARTERS OF THE PLANTATION. IT REPRESENTED THE LIVING STYLE AND UPWARD MOBILITY OF THE ENTREPRENEURS AND POLITICAL ELITE OF SOUTH TEXAS AT THE END OF THE 19TH CENTURY. ITS VICTORIAN ARCHITECTURE SIGNIFIED A SHIFT FROM THE SPRAWLING SOUTHWEST RANCHOS AND “BORDER BRICK” TRADITION, AND IS THE ONLY EXAMPLE OF ITS TYPE IN CAMERON COUNTY. THE RABB PLANTATION ENCOMPASSED NUMEROUS OUTBUILDINGS, INCLUDING A BRICK OUTHOUSE, FOREMAN’S HOUSE, STABLE AND WORKERS’ BUILDINGS. MANY OF THESE BUILDINGS HAVE DISAPPEARED. AT SAN TOMAS, RABB FOLLOWED THE LEAD OF THE NEIGHBORING BRULEY PLANTATION AND EXPERIMENTED WITH IRRIGATION SYSTEMS, AGRICULTURAL CROPS AND NEW LIVESTOCK BREEDS, TRYING TO ADAPT THEM TO THE SOUTH TEXAS CLIMATE. THESE BEGINNINGS HELPED PROPEL THE AGRICULTURAL BOOM THAT EMERGED IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY. FRANK RABB DIED IN 1932 AND THE LAND AROUND THE HOUSE PASSED TO HIS ESTATE, AND THEN TO HIS SECOND WIFE, MARGARET MCCORMICK RABB. IN THE 1970s, THE ACREAGE AROUND THE HOUSE WAS CONVEYED TO THE NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY AND ESTABLISHED AS A SANCTUARY FOR WILDLIFE. IN 2010, THE HOUSE WAS CONVEYED TO THE GORGAS SCIENCE FOUNDATION. RECORDED TEXAS HISTORIC LANDMARK – 2012