El Rancho in South Texas: Continuity and Change From 1750 Page: 85
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El Randado: From Mexican Hacienda
to Modem Ranch
Established in the 183os by Don Hip61ito and his two
brothers, El Randado has undergone changes common
to many ranches of Hispanic South Texas. Once a large
hacienda of over ioo,ooo acres, it has been divided
among family members several times and now com-
prises five separate ranches, the result of the division
of properties among descendants. Randado, the origi-
nal ranch headquarters, now consists of about 2ooo
acres. By the 1920s oil boom, El Randado had grown
into a small, self-contained community of about 200,
with a store, a post office, a school, a cotton gin, and
a sugar refinery. The present owner, Don Rafael de
la Garza, with the help of one vaquero, carries on the
work of maintaining this historic ranch (Rafael de la
Hip1lito bought a 45,000-acre Spanish land grant
from Carlos Rodriguez and brought his new bride,
Dofia Andrea, to the new State of Tamaulipas, Mexico.
As a way station in a sparsely inhabited land, El Ran-
dado entertained such visitors as General Robert E.
Lee; Catarino Garza, a Governor of Tamaulipas once
branded an outlaw by the State of Texas; and members
of the 8th U.S. Calvary and the Texas Rangers. In the
I85os, the ranch headquarters was a self-contained com-
munity. It produced almost everything needed for the
ranch and its people (Casstevens 1991).
Two Social Classes
House architecture at Randado reflected the social
structure on the ranch. The casas mayores were built
of sillares, with floors and flat roofs of chipichil. Doors
and shuttered windows, placed to insure a good cross
breeze in each room, were made of handcarved mes-
quite. Door hinges, latches, and keys were made by
the ranch blacksmiths. Don Hip61lito and Dofia Andrea
raised their family in a large two-story house. It was
used as a dwelling until the 1930s, when it was con-
verted to a cotton gin, a purpose it served until 1947. In
1967, it was torn down and the blocks used to build a
fence around the home of Sarita Kenedy East (Casste-
vens 1991). The house built for Dofia Margarita de la
Garza, the Garcia's only child (an adopted daughter),
was greatly modified in the 1950s. Modern glass win-
dows replaced the originally shuttered, glass-less open-
ings, a front porch with a clay tile roof was added,
and plumbing and electricity were put in. Although it
is still standing today, this house has been vacant for
many years (Casstevens 1991).
The working-class folk at Randado lived in jacales
de lena, whose steeply pitched thatched roofs made
it possible to add rooms to the gabled ends of the
jacales, but not on the sides. Because the walls were
eight to ten inches thick and plastered with mud or
lime mortar, the houses were very comfortable. As on
other ranches, this type of architecture disappeared
from Randado by the 195s and the buildings were not
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Graham, Joe S. El Rancho in South Texas: Continuity and Change From 1750, book, 1994; Denton, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28328/m1/97/?q=el%20rancho: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.