The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, TX

On Tuesday morning, we headed to McAllen to Quinta Mazatlan, an historical adobe mansion and world birding center.

Quinta Mazatlan a private Spanish Revival Style mansion was constructed in 1935 by Jason Matthews as a private and rather luxurious residence, complete with a Roman tub. It is one of, if not, the largest adobe structures in Texas (10,000 sq. feet).

After a period of over 60 years and two different owners, Jason Matthews and then Frank Schultz, the house was put up for sale at an auction. Despite Quinta Mazatlan’s appeal, developers wanted to demolish the adobe home. Thanks to the citizens, the City of McAllen bought the property in 1998, and Quinta Mazatlan was saved from the bulldozer and assumed a much wider responsibility in the community. In 2006 Quinta Mazatlan opened as a “mansion with a mission” under the stewardship of the McAllen Parks and Recreation Department.

Small house just inside the entrance.

Now the 20-acre Tamaulipan Thornforest property joins other protected areas from South Padre Island in the Gulf all the way to Roma in the west under the World Birding Center (WBC) organization.  For the City of McAllen, the mansion welcomes business people and dignitaries to the area. Its Spanish architecture and extensive gardens make Quinta Mazatlan a fine reception area for all ambassadors who seek audience in McAllen, one of the largest cities in the Valley.

Quinta Mazatlan is now an urban sanctuary working to enrich people's lives by sharing knowledge about birds, plants and environmental stewardship in South Texas. Quinta Mazatlan and its WBC partners promote birding and conservation of Valley habitat, especially as it benefits numerous avian residents and neo-tropical migrants. The Valley currently has 1.2 million people on the American side (and at least 2.1 million on the Mexican side), and represents the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country. The protection of woodlands and green space is an important goal for the City of McAllen and its neighbors.

Sue made arrangements for us to have a private tour of the house and grounds.  We started with a slide show given by a very dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer.

We went through the house with all the important details pointed out to us.

Then we toured the grounds around the house.

Our guide was very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna in addition to the house.

We saw several chachalaca doing what looked like a mating dance but I didn't get my camera out fast enough.

This sign has an interesting significance.  When Jason Matthews acquired the property, built the pool, and then the house, he wanted to ensure that he and his family and friends had privacy so he put up a sign saying "Beware of Agapanthus" counting on the fact that people would not know what that was.  It is actually a type of lily flower.

The original pool was 12 feet by 50 feet and 10 feet deep.

The Roman Tub was huge and deep.

After we finished our tour, we went to Republic of the Rio Grande for lunch. is not a Whataburger.

Then some went to the pool, some did laundry, some napped, some walked dogs........I won't tell who did what.  We met later at the Casa Blanca in the resort for happy hour.

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