Old Roma Convent -- Roma Historic District -- Roma TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 26° 24.398 W 099° 01.054
14R E 498247 N 2920716
The Old Roma Convent is listed as a contributing building to the Roma Historic District in Roma TX.
Waymark Code: WMPGJD
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 08/28/2015
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 1

The Roma Historic District was created in 1972, and is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

The district encompasses most of downtown, from roughly US 83 on the east to the Rio Grande on the west, and from West Garfield Ave on the North to West Bravo Street (the road leading to the Roma- Cd. Miguel Aleman International Bridge) on the south.

Most of the buildings in the district were built by late 19th-century local architect Heinrich Portscheller, who has a street named for him downtown and a historic marker in his honor, both located in this historic district.

The Old Roma Convent is listed as a contributing building to this National Register Historic District.

From the US National Register Nomination Form on the Texas Historical Commission website: (visit link)

"The boundaries of the proposed historic district are drawn to include the nucleus of major architecturally significant structures by Enrique Portscheller, the lesser stone and adobe buildings typical of the Rio Grande valley and a peripheral area to act as a buffer zone to protect the old Roma community from encroachment by the highway on its east boundary and the bridge approach on the south boundary.

Outstanding historic properties included within the boundaries of the district include the following:

. . .

5. Old Roma Convent. Ca. 1880. This on a-story brick convent has bayed ends, a porch across the main facade, a diminutive wooden cupola and the fine brickwork and architectural detailing which characterizes Portscheller's work."

More detailed information in the city's National Historic Landmark form: (visit link)

"20)Incarnate Word/Sisters of Mercy Convent (Parish Hall)
Enrique Portscheller, Builder
NW corner, Convent and Estrella
Block 3, Lots 2, 7 and 8
ca. 1880s

The Roma Convent is centered between Roma's first mission church
to the west (ca. 1829/40) and the formal second church to the
east (1853), occupying lots 2, 7 and 8 of its block. Sanborn surveyors of 1894 annotated the three lot site as the "ConventGrounds."

On the southwest and northeast sides of the site (the
long edges of the rectangle), five-foot brick walls enclosed the
religious compound, orienting the building toward the two
churches bracketing the convent southeast and northwest. The
primary facade of the convent faced the main church and, as the
building spanned almost wall to wall across the grounds, its
siting provided a more private area to the rear (northwest).

Located at the northwest corner of Roma's plaza, the convent
maintained partial seclusion. Its compound walls, however, were
the only street walls in Roma (as mapped in 1894) of five-foot
height; domestic family compounds were substantially more
secluded with walls of seven, eight and ten feet. The convent
trees would have been partially visible, accenting the plaza.
Today a variety of ebony tree common to Northern Mexico lines the
rear of the convent, and may be similar to the historic

The convent is a one-story brick structure with steeply pitched
shingled hip roof. Long and narrow in plan, the building
features a primary facade porch supported by two rows of wooden
columns. The end facades are angled as half-hexagonals. Two
brick chimneys and a central square hip-roof cupola with
balustraded deck accent the building. On the main facade the
base and fenestration are articulated as panels in the brickwork,
and the entrances are enframed by pedimented Doric pilasters. The
design composition is symmetrical, with centered and end entries.
Typical of architect Portscheller, classical aesthetics are
restrained, but definitive.

The Sisters of Mercy replaced the Sisters of the Incarnate Word
in 1913 at the convent. In 1940, the Sisters of Mercy also left,
with the structure remaining vacant until its conversion recently
to a parish hall for the church. The compound's walls have been
demolished and only the rear ebony trees are in place today. The
area in front of the convent (to the east) has been paved as a
parking lot. In good condition, the convent is a vital unit in
the complex of religious structures sited at the head of the
Name of Historic District (as listed on the NRHP): Roma Historic District

Link to nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com page with the Historic District: [Web Link]

NRHP Historic District Waymark (Optional): [Web Link]

700 block of Estrella Street Roma TX

How did you determine the building to be a contributing structure?: Narrative found on the internet (Link provided below)

Optional link to narrative or database: [Web Link]

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Benchmark Blasterz visited Old Roma Convent -- Roma Historic District -- Roma TX 07/19/2015 Benchmark Blasterz visited it