by: Nathaniel Puente
CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Remnants of a fort associated with the Mexican-American War could soon be added to the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park.
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 268, which alters the boundaries of Palo Alto National Historical Park to include areas that once contained Fort Brown, a military fort used during the Mexican-American War.
Representative Filemon Vela (TX-34) introduced the legislation in January in an effort to preserve a piece of national history.
“Adding this piece of Fort Brown to the Palo Alto National Battlefield Historical Park helps tell our nation’s story; it is critical to preserving history and honoring the lives lost in the battle that established our nation’s border,” said Vela.
The legislation would transfer ownership of the Fort Brown earthworks site from the International Boundary and Water Commission to the National Park Service to be part of the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park.
The Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park is located off of Paredes Line Road in Brownsville and contains about 300 acres of land. The original Fort Brown site is located south of Texas Southmost College at what was formerly the Fort Brown Memorial Golf Course.
Fort Brown was established in 1846 under the name Fort Texas by General Zachary Taylor as tensions rose between the United States and Mexico over where the border was between the two countries.
The name of the fort was changed to Fort Brown after the death of Major Jacob Brown on May 9, 1846, in the beginning of the Mexican-American War. Brownsville was subsequently also named after Brown.
Following the war, the Rio Grande was established as the border between Texas and Mexico. Fort Brown was off-and-on used by the United States until 1946 when it was officially inactivated.
The fort was designated as a National Historical Landmark in 1960.
With the legislation now passed by the House, it will go to a vote in the U.S. Senate. If the vote passes, it will move to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
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