Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Visiting La Harmonia

Many visitors heading to Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park miss the Castolon Historic District just off Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, right by the Rio Grande.  One of the most visited places in the district is the La Harmonia Store, where you can still go in and buy provisions, cold water and snacks, t-shirts, sunglasses and other sundries.  The building was built in 1919-20 to serve as a barracks for the U.S. Cavalry during the Mexican Revolution.  Shortly after the building was erected, the troops were withdrawn, and were purchased by Wayne Cartledge and Howard Perry, partners in the La Harmonia Company.
It doesn't take too much imagination to put yourself back in the 1920s, when the shelves were stocked with a wide variety of merchandise to cater to both American and Mexican citizens.  Right next door to the store, there's a little museum and bookshop designed to help visitors understand the Castolon area of the park.   The La Harmonia Company was vital to the survival of the remote villages in the area.  It remained in business until 1961, when it was sold to National Park Concessions and incorporated into the national park.  

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