Offering stunning views of Mexico and the Rio Grande River, Casa Ortiz is one of the most iconic locales in Laredo and is an integral part of the town’s vibrant heritage that dates back to the 1820s and 1830s.
Don Jose Ryes Ortiz traveled from Spain via Mexico and arrived in Laredo in 1826. During his early years in the region, he made significant contributions to the community and was given the Casa Ortiz land grant for his service. As he pursued his interests in ranching and business, Ortiz was given several other land grants and even opened a general mercantile store. During this time, he used the Casa Ortiz land grant to start construction on a beautiful, two-story Spanish Colonial style home in the heart of Laredo.
The iconic Casa Ortiz was built and completed between 1829 and 1830, and quickly became a landmark for the local community thanks to Ortiz’s widespread influence on the town. It once served as a political hub for Laredo politics as well as a resting place for friends and family. It is also rumored to have been the center of gunfights with Native Americans as well as a refuge for Catholic clergy. There’s even a rumor that gold is buried on the property, which leaves many visitors looking for signs of buried treasure!
With its rich history, residents appreciated the beauty of Casa Ortiz for centuries before it was officially declared a Texas Historical Landmark in 1964. It was declared one of Laredo’s most precious legacies and has been expertly restored over the years to preserve everything from its interior patio and tropical garden to its brick-terraced steps leading to the riverbank and its jaw-dropping views of Mexico and the Rio Grande River.
Today, Casa Ortiz is managed by Texas A&M International University. It is the perfect venue for hosting University events, seminars, and tours, as well as offering students and guests a rare glimpse into the history of Laredo. The home is also open to the public for business meetings and conferences, luncheons and dinners, tours, art exhibitions, and special occasions. The interior patio and tropical gardens are a popular spot for weddings and celebrations.
Tours are free to the public. First-time visitors to Laredo are encouraged to take the tour and see the state’s oldest continuously used residence for themselves!