Historic Sites

St. Benedict’s Church
The original St. Benedict’s Church was erected in 1910, two years before the congregation became a parish, and was destroyed by fire in 1923. This brick structure was build to replace it in 1925, under the leadership of Father Yvo Tymen, O. M. I. (1879-1977), who served as pastor of St. Benedict’s from 1921 to 1937. In addition to this church, he supervised the construction of a rectory and renovation of school facilities damaged by a 1933 hurricane. The St. Benedict’s Church was recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1977.

Azteca Building
The Azteca Building was built in 1930 along the banks of the Resaca (old river bed) that flows through the city. It is said that this unique building was constructed in the shape of a boat with fence posts, along the periphery of the building rooftop, to simulate cannons. The flat roof design provides for an open dance floor and a beautiful view of the Resaca surrounding area. Through the years the building has served as City Hall, Police Academy, USO during the 1940s for the military, a public dance hall, and today is owned by the city and used by the Head Start Program.

El Patio La Villita
A historical treasure that is found in downtown San Benito is El Patio La Villita. In the 1950s–60s and 70s, it was the premier dance hall in the entire Rio Grande Valley. People traveled from all over the Valley for weekend dances. Orquestas (orchestras) such as Beto Villa, the Father of Musica Orquestal Tejana played here during their lifetimes. Conjunto legends such as Narciso Martinez, Tony De La Rosa, Valerio Longoria, Freddy Fender and many other musicians also played here during their lifetime.

Water District Building
Designed by Austin architects Endress and Walsh and built by contractor I. Fleming. The San Benito Land and Water Company building was completed in 1910 at a cost of $ 14,386. Thirty-foot pine beams and locally made brick were used to construct the home of the Company. A fine example of the mission revival style, the edifice features a red tile roof, wooden bracketed eaves, a stucco exterior, and curved gable parapets. The building has been home to many San Benito institutions, notably the irrigation and drainage districts. A beloved fixture of downtown San Benito, It stands as a memorial to the vital role of irrigation in the valley life.

The San Benito Bank and Trust Company
The San Benito Bank and Trust Company is no the Capital One Bank and was charted in 1908, one year after the founding of San Benito, this institution was started by two brothers W. Scott Heywood and Alba Heywood. The bank was moved here in 1911 when work was completed on this Spanish colonial revival structure.

The second floor housed offices and the city Library organized at this site in 1914. Flags flown from the building warned area farmers of bad weather. It was first occupied by the San Benito Bank and Trust Company until about 1990. It was later sold to Coastal Banc. In 2003 Coastal Banc sold it to Hibernia Bank of Louisiana. Today, Hibernia Bank is now in the process of selling it to Capital One.

San Benito Veteran’s Memorial Pavilion
Weldon Construction Co. from Harlingen, Texas, wished to honor those who died while on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States of America during the World War One, the World War Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and constructed the Pavilion in 1971.
 
La Especial Bakery
La Especial Bakery has played an important role in the tradition and culture of San Benito for more than half a century. It serves as a neighborhood meeting spot where freshly baked, inexpensive Mexican sweat breads and pastries can be purchased. A tradition for the common folks, pan dulce is now enjoyed by many more segments of the population today. Enrique Ornelas purchased the facility in 1939 and eventually came to own and expand the business into what has become one of the largest panaderias in this area. He and his wife Adela originally operated the business, and their children carry on the tradition today.

San Benito Historic Cemetery
Located on the northern outskirts of town, on Sam Houston Blvd., The San Benito Historic Cemetery reflects the culture and color of this community. Brightly adorned with a rainbow of colors, gravestones dating back nearly 100 years can be found in this fascinating facility. Next to the old site is the beginnings of a new city project, San Benito Memorial Gardens which serves as the burial place for hometown legend, Freddy Fender.