Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen, TX
Have you ever had the plans to go to a place and it’s not that you didn’t want to go but you just weren’t overly enthused about the idea of going? That’s what it was like for me with Quinta Mazatlan. I wasn’t feeling well and I was in sort of a funky mood and the place was closing in only an hour but Rob really wanted to go. And since that’s the kind of thing you do when you’re in a relationship I put on my big girl panties and went.
And guess what? I’m so glad that I did. Once I saw that old Spanish style mansion I instantly wanted to go in and started thinking about my dream home. I’ve wanted a Spanish style home with a courtyard for just about as long as I can remember now and visiting this home made my mind run wild with longing. This place was most definitely gorgeous on the outside and I was giddy to go inside.
As Rob paid our entry fee I started tooling around and first found the Mexican folk art room. All of the bright colors and interesting items made me instinctively think how much my sister would love the place. Rob and I suddenly had a strong urge to take our few items of Mexican folk art and add to it to create our own bright and colorful collection.
I literally could have spent quite a bit of time in this one room but since we had only less than an hour at this point we snapped a few pics, admired what we could in a few minutes’ time and got to getting.
Built to a size of 10,000 square feet in 1935, Quinta Mazatlan was for a long time the largest adobe structure in all of Texas. The Spanish Revival style is gorgeous with amazing antique furniture pieces you can actually touch or sit on. Walking through the home it is difficult to understand that developers actually wanted to demolish the home. Her city of McAllen came to her rescue, though, and purchased the home to save her from such a fate.
The historical marker at this place reads: Quinta Mazatlan, Home of Jason Matthews. One of the larger adobe homes in the state, Quinta Mazatlan was designed and built by Jason Chilton Matthews (1887-1964) during the late 1930s. Adobe blocks used in construction were made at this site. A composer, writer, and adventurer, Matthews was known for his eccentric ways. During the last few years of their lives, Jason and his wife Marcia (1891-1963) edited and published the “American Mercury” magazine from here. Begun in 1924, the magazine was a leading conservative publication which expressed strong pro-American views. (1985)
Having gotten a bit of history and my fill of gorgeous antiques we decided to hit the grounds to try and see some birds. Not just a pretty historic site of a nice home, it’s also an urban sanctuary where you can you can learn about birds and plants of South Texas.
The grounds are lush and being a pretty hot time of day we didn’t really get to see many birds, but we did see some gorgeous and very lush areas along the path.
Dotted with educational bronze statues the walk became a version of I Spy as we found each, tried to discern what they were before reading the plaque.
And while we didn’t see many birds we surely got our fill of chachalacas. They may not be the prettiest of all of the birds you can find in South Texas but I’ve got a soft spot for them after seeing them time and again at different wildlife sanctuaries. These guys are very social and love to hang out together so you’ll see them in little groups of 3 or 4 chatting and making some interesting sounds.
The admission fee is $3 for adults and $2 for children and well worth the price. Being that it was a home in the past, there are some interesting things all along the way for you to check out, taking a peek into what it was like to live in an adobe home in the 30’s in South Texas.