(La Encantada land grant, Brooks County, Texas)

(Click on an image to enlarge)


The Santa Rita Ranch founded by Ponciano Longoria & Maria Rita Villarreal

Raul & Leonel

Santa Rita houses

Santa Rita kitchen


Brothers Raul (at left) and Leonel Longoria pose with their pet calf, circa 1918.  Some of the homes at the Santa Rita ranch are visible in the background.

A view of some of the abandoned homes on the Santa Rita Ranch, ca. 1989.  The taller structure in the background is a more modern addition. This building was the kitchen behind the home of Simon Treviño and Francisca Longoria.  It had a screened enclosure as well as a fully walled in room.  


The Santa Rita Ranch Cemetery (photo credits, when not my own, are shown below each photograph)

Santa Rita cemetery

Ponciano's tomb


A view of the cemetery on the Santa Rita Ranch.

(photo: Pedro Ramirez, Jr.)

The final resting place of Ponciano Longoria Villarreal.

(photo: Irma Longoria de Cavazos)



The original Santa Rita Ranch School was established about 1924.  Classes were held in a building which also served as storeroom for seeds, harnesses and farm implements.  Ninfa Trevino Vidaurri, sister of my grandmother Ana, was the first and only teacher at this school.

Santa Rita school class

Santa Rita School ca. 1989

Education was always stressed and a school was established early on.  This is a photo of the first "student body" of the school, ca. 1924. The building, ca. 1989,  which housed the Santa Rita school.  It had long since been converted to a barn and shed.  My wife, being a teacher, had to check it out.    


The second Santa Rita school was built about 1925 or 1926 on two acres near FM 755.  The land was donated by Maria Rita Villarreal, the widow of Ponciano Longoria.  The school was built there after my grandfather, Eugenio Longoria, a school trustee and county commissioner at the time, successfully argued against building one large school at Encino to serve all the remote ranches on La Encantada.  Because of his efforts, schools were built both at Santa Rita and at the La Mesa ranch.  The Santa Rita school remained open until 1948 or 1949 when a larger school was finally built at Encino to serve all of southern Brooks County.

Santa Rita School in background.

Longoria school - girls

Longoria school - boys

Students at Santa Rita School

About 1925 or 1926 a larger school was built about halfway between the Santa Rita Ranch and the La Primavera Ranch.  The school can be seen in the background of this photo, ca. 1945.  The smaller building to the right is a restroom.

Ca. 1935.  Students pictured here are (left to right) Evangelina Ruelas Villarreal, Zoila Villarreal Solis, Elida Treviño Longoria, Petra Solis Gutierrez and Estella Longoria Treviño. Ca. 1935.  Students pictured here are (left to right) Eduardo Villarreal Solis, Federico Villarreal Villarreal, Ruben Treviño Longoria, Saul Treviño Longoria, Mauro Longoria Leal, and Oscar Longoria Treviño. Ca. 1943, a class photo taken by my aunt Odilia Longoria, the teacher at that time.  The first teacher was Ninfa Trevino Vidaurri and she was followed by Jose Maria Longoria and Natalia Longoria.  Among other teachers were Lili Benavides, Mrs. Wentz, and Odilia Longoria. 


The land and environs

prickly pear cactus


Field of Heart's Delight flowers

Sunset at La Encantada

La Encantada, despite its name, is a harsh country, as attested by this photo of a prickly pear cactus, which is prevalent throughout the country. In droughts and during winter, even the prickly pear becomes a source of food for cattle. Here, Arturo Longoria Villarreal handles the “chamuscadora” and burns the needles off the cactus. But the land does have a unique beauty, as can be seen in this field of Heart’s Delight wildflowers just north of Encino. Night falls on the abandoned ranch site of my maternal grandfather Eduardo Villarreal Pena.  Only a windmill and a modern barn remain as a reminder of where my mother grew up.


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Copyright © 2001.  Raul N. Longoria.  All rights reserved.