Tacubaya Ranch has opened the gates of its 3,200 acre ranch to the public in order to provide a safe and comfortable environment for nature enthusiasts to engage in recreational activities. We have set aside 900 acres exclusively for Nature Photography while working closely with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to manage the wildlife population and habitat on the remaining 2,300 acres. In addition to providing the location for such activities we also strive to increase awareness of natural history, wildlife management and land conservation practices through educational programs, photography and personal experiences. It is this type of diversification that will allow individuals to preserve the natural heritage of their land as well as provide an alternate revenue source to ensure the protection of the land for future generations.
The Garcia family has been “ranching” in Northern Mexico and South Texas since 1740 when they received an original land grant from the King of Spain. This grant at one time consisted of more than a quarter million acres spanning both sides of the Rio Grande River. However, it was not until 1873 that Tacubaya Ranch began its long and colorful history.
The events leading up to Tacubaya’s birth actually started in 1832 when Jose Manuel de Chapa, a resident of Camargo, Mexico, purchased a land grant, La Encantada, from the Mexican government consisting on 22,400 acres for 50 pesos. This land was located in Starr County (entirely in Brooks County today) between Rafael Garcia’s La Mestena and Luciano de Chapa’s Encino Del Pozo land grants. The de Chapas surely had intended to use this land as “agostadero”, or for the purpose of grazing cattle and horses; however, they sold the land within three years of taking possession. Jose Manuel stated that the sale was due to “the damages done by the daily incursions of savage tribes.” It is unclear whether he was referring to Indians, Texans or Mexicans since The Texas Revolution had only ended a year earlier and La Encantada was located in between the Rio Grande River (the Texan claim for the southern boundary of Texas) and the Nueces River (Mexico’s claim for the southern boundary). Jose Manuel sold La Encantada to Antonio Martinez in 1837 for 300 pesos. Martinez also bought the Encino Del Pozo land at this time from Luciano de Chapa. It is believed that Antonio Martinez had been a land speculator because he sold La Encantada, now consisting of 39,856 acres, to French Strother for 932 pesos less than two weeks after purchasing it from the de Chapas. La Encantada remained in the possession of French Strother for 11 months before he fell on hard times and had to sell the land for 500 pesos to Frederick Belden. The Belden family managed to remain in control of La Encantada for 34 years before Mauricia Arocha Belden, Frederick’s widow, sold the land to Gregorio Villarreal in 1872. Once again La Encantada only remained under new ownership for a year. Gregorio started selling off 1-league (approx 4,500 acres) sections of the land in 1873 starting in the west and moving east. The first section that sold was to Eligio Garcia who established Tacubaya Ranch on this land.
The name “Tacubaya” comes from the Nahuatl language meaning “gathering place of water”. It is unclear to us why Eligio chose this name for his new ranch. Although, a greatgrandson of Eligio recalls a story about him traveling to Mexico City while on a business trip and visiting a town outside of Mexico City named Tacubaya. He liked the name and upon returning to the ranch he named it Tacubaya.
What is clear is the vision and goals Eligio set forth for the future of the Garcia family.
To be continued………
Directions To Tacubaya Ranch