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  • 20 Apr 2024 1:58 PM | Anonymous

    Laredo, Texas - Join us as we commemorate a significant milestone in Laredo's history - its 269th birthday! On Saturday, May 18th, Downtown Laredo will come alive with festivities, honoring the vibrant culture and rich heritage that make our city unique.

    Organized by the Webb County Heritage Foundation and supported by local partners, Border Heritage Museum, Republic of the Rio Grande Museum, Laredo Main Street, Laredo Center for the Arts, Laredo Cultural District, Webb County Historical Commission, Laredo College, Rio Grande International Study Center, Texas A&M International University, Laredo Film Society, Daphne Art Foundation, The Outlet Shoppes at Laredo, the Imaginarium of South Texas, 9Bike6, MileOne, Laredo Philharmonic, Gabiela Mendoza- Garcia Ballet Folklorico, Gallery 201, Laredo Border Slam, and the American Legion Post 59, this event promises to be a special occasion for the entire community. From historical and art exhibits, a farmers' market and a pop-up shop to cultural performances, tours, and a scavenger hunt, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, it's free* and open to all, ensuring that everyone can be a part of this special day.

    "We are thrilled to create an event for the community to come together and celebrate their city and their heritage," said Andrea Ordoñez, Museum Manager at Webb County Heritage Foundation. "We welcome everyone to attend this celebration, learn about the history, and support local non-profits and businesses downtown."

    While revelers explore the festivities, we encourage them to support our downtown culinary scene. Downtown eateries such as El Meson de San Agustin, Livi's Mexicue, ALA Burger_ Burgers & Alitas, and Los Olvidados will be offering special deals in honor of Laredo's Birthday Celebration. Plus, Marble Slab Creamery and 7 Brew Coffee will be offering free ice cream and coffee at The Outlet Shoppes Pop-Up event (while supplies last). And for those seeking to extend the festivities, "El After" awaits at Jardin X Contreras!

    Don't miss this opportunity to come together and celebrate Laredo's past, present, and future. Join us for a day filled with joy, culture, and community spirit. See you there!

    *Imaginarium of South Texas will have their regular admission

    For updates, please visit: www.facebook.com/webbheritage
    or find us on Instagram - @webbheritage




  • 3 Apr 2024 11:25 AM | Anonymous

    The Webb County Heritage Foundation is happy to announce its participation as a partner in CaminARTE. As a part of this collaboration, the WCHF invites the public to join them for a Karaoke at the Museum on Friday, April 5th, from 7-9 p.m.

    CaminARTE, a monthly event known for its celebration of culture, arts, and community engagement, provides the perfect platform for the Webb County Heritage Foundation to showcase its dedication to preserving and promoting local heritage. Through this partnership, the foundation aims to create dynamic experiences that resonate with the community.

    Karaoke at the Museum promises an evening filled with music, laughter and fun. Attendees are encouraged to channel their favorite stars and showcase their vocal talents. Whether participants are seasoned performers or first-time singers, everyone is welcome to join.

    "We are thrilled to be a part of CaminARTE and to offer the community a unique opportunity to engage with our museum in a fun and interactive way," said Edwardo Garcia, Manager of the Border Heritage Museum. "Karaoke at the Museum is just the beginning of what we hope will be a fruitful partnership with the Laredo Cultural District."

    Don't miss out on this exciting event at the Border Heritage Museum! Mark your calendars for Friday, April 5th, and get ready to sing your heart out!



  • 15 Mar 2024 3:27 PM | Anonymous

     The Webb County Heritage Foundation presented ten honorees with the prestigious Heritage Award at the Inauguration of the President of the Republic of the Rio Grande Luncheon on March 9th at the IBC Annex Ballroom.

     Each year, the Webb County Heritage Foundation recognizes individuals, businesses, organizations, and families that have contributed to the unique architectural and cultural heritage of Webb County.

     The Jim Parish Award for Documentation and Publication of Local and Regional History was presented Dr. Maria Alma Gonzalez Perez for her publication, Apariciones, Voces, Ruidos y Cosas Inexplicables: An Anthology of Folktales & Personal Narratives from the Texas-Mexico Borderlands.


    The Volunteer Service Award was presented to Kristina Soliz and Ernesto Riojas for their volunteer work during our 2023 Founders’ Day event.



     The Archival Donor Award was presented to two recipients this year. Mrs. Emma Garcia for her donation of photographs from when Mario Moreno "Cantinflas" visited her home for dinner in 1979, when he was recognized as “Señor Internacional” by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) during the Washington’s Birthday Celebration and the Laredo Morning Times for their donation of bound volumes of daily newspapers spanning approximately six decades of Laredo history.



     The Environmental Preservation Award was presented to Palo Blanco Farm and Ranch for bringing innovative and resource-efficient farming to Laredo, feeding their community, and continuing the vision and dedication of their ancestors to be good stewards of the land.


     The Luciano Guajardo award was presented to Granaderos y Damas de Galvez for continuing to educate the public about Spain’s participation in the American Revolution.


     The Institutional Historic Preservation Award was presented to Bishop James Tamayo of San Agustin Cathedral for the historic rehabilitation of the church.


    Chosen to receive the Historic Business Award this year is Neel Title Corporation in recognition of their 99 years in business.


     And the Historic Preservation Award for Organizations was presented to the Pan American Round Table of Laredo in recognition of their 102nd anniversary of service to the community.

     The Webb County Heritage Foundation is proud to present these worthy recipients with a Heritage Award in recognition of their services in preserving this region’s history, architecture, and cultural heritage.

  • 22 Feb 2024 3:12 PM | Anonymous

    The Webb County Heritage Foundation is proud to announce the appointment of James E. Moore as the President of the Republic of the Rio Grande for 2024. This honorary position is awarded annually to individuals who have shown exceptional dedication to preserving the rich heritage of Laredo along the Rio Grande.

    Moore will be officially inaugurated as President of the Republic of the Rio Grande during a celebratory luncheon hosted by the Webb County Heritage Foundation on Saturday, March 9th at 12 noon at the IBC Annex Building.


    As is tradition, the newly appointed President has selected individuals to serve as cabinet members, representing key historical figures from the original republic's administration. The cabinet members for 2024 are as follows:


    From left: Liz Gomez Padilla representing Juan Francisco Farias, Secretary; Ernesto Lopez representing Juan Nepomuceno Molano, delegate for Tamaulipas; Rev. Paul Frey representing Antonio Canales, Commander-in-Chief of the Army; James Moore representing Jesús Cardenas, President; Baldomero Puig, III representing Manuel Nina, Quartermaster General; Lupita Zepeda representing Manuel María de Llano, delegate for Nuevo Leon; Mario Guzman representing Francisco Vidaurri y Villaseñor, Vice-President and delegate for Coahuila; and Minerva Santos representing Col. Antonio Zapata, Commander of the Cavalry.

    In addition, the annual presentation of Heritage Awards will honor those individuals and organizations that have shown outstanding commitment to preserving our community’s history and heritage.

    For those interested in attending the President of the Republic of the Rio Grande Inaugural Event, table reservations and tickets are available. For more information, please contact the Webb County Heritage Foundation at 956-727-0977.

  • 21 Feb 2024 1:50 PM | Anonymous

    The Webb County Heritage Foundation announces the retirement of its Executive Director Margarita Araiza, after 28 years of service in this role. Araiza, a well-known leader in the field of historic preservation, this month alone, completed one last major project before her exit - the opening of the Ursuline History Center – a mini museum dedicated to educating audiences about the history of the first women religious educators in this region. This beautiful, new exhibit is a collaboration among the Ursuline Sisters of the Central Province, the Webb County Heritage Foundation, St. Augustine School, and the Ursuline Alumnae Committee.

    Also this year, Araiza was asked to serve on a jury to select the winner of the Organizational Excellence Award presented by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She is one of five Texans that serve on the National Trust’s Board of Advisors.

    Similarly, she was invited to judge applications to the Texas Historical Commission’s Preservation Trust Fund that provides matching grants for historic preservation projects throughout the state of Texas.

    Board Member Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia stated "Margarita has a wealth of knowledge in Laredo history and historic preservation. She passionately sought for Laredoans to recognize and remember our history at the local, state, national, and international levels. She is a remarkable advocate that will be missed."

    Judith Gutierrez, another WCHF Board Member recalled how Araiza had such a widespread network of professional colleagues who acknowledged her expertise by inviting her to speak at numerous state and national conferences throughout her career. “Margarita is always greeted very warmly by her fellow preservationists whenever she attends conferences. She is a well-known figure in preservation circles,” said Gutierrez.

    Araiza was fond of recalling that she was recruited to apply for her position as Executive Director by Betsy Gill, a generous and dynamic Board Member who contributed significant collections of historic photographs, documents, and artifacts to the Webb County Heritage Foundation’s archives. “Betsy was a force of nature around here,” Araiza said. “She had a deep and some-would-say fierce commitment to preserving local history. I’ve never known anyone like Betsy, and I can sincerely say that she instilled a real appreciation and love for our community’s story in me and all those who saw her in action. She is my preservation hero.”

    Local journalist and publisher of the independent LareDOS - Journal of the Borderlands Meg Guerra stated, “When the late Elizabeth Gill recruited Margarita Araiza to become the director of the Webb County Heritage Foundation nearly 30 years ago, it became quickly evident to many of
    us that Margarita’s energy and professionalism breathed new life into the non-profit. Her three-decade commitment was unwavering and brought to fruition what shall surely be recorded as the most productive years in the Foundation’s history. As an advocate for historic and cultural preservation, Margarita raised the bar for the Foundation’s relevance to the community as a resource for research and education for Laredoans of all ages.”

    Board Member Jim Moore added, “We thank Margarita for all of her efforts in guiding the Foundation throughout her years at WCHF.  She represented the City of Laredo through some difficult times. As she retires, we wish her well and thanks for her leadership.”

    Araiza has an impressive list of accomplishments that she readily shares with her staff and countless Board Members over the span of 28 years. Among these are the creation of the Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum  – a showcase for exhibits focused on regional history housed in a rehabilitated historic building once slated for demolition; the establishment of a Laredo history curriculum for local schools – the first time local history was taught to local students;  the commissioning of a comprehensive, new historical exhibit on the subject of the Republic of the Rio Grande – designed to teach this important chapter of our community’s story to visitors and locals, alike; and a series of oral histories and videos on local history topics that continue to be appreciated by countless viewers on social media.

    “I have been very fortunate to work with some of the best people I could have hoped for – Edwardo Garcia, Andrea Ordoñez, and Lupita Valdepeña – outstanding collaborators, who I’m proud to count as friends as well as co-workers,” said Araiza. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and give my sincere thanks to all the supporters, sponsors, corporate citizens, elected officials, and friends who have shown their love of local history over the years. It has been a privilege to contribute to the promotion and protection of our community’s rich history.” 



Webb County Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization


 ©WCHF2024

Address: 500 Flores Avenue

Laredo, Texas 78040

Call: (956) 727-0977

Email: heritage@webbheritage.org


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