(956) 727-0977 heritage@webbheritage.org

Public Institutions


Public Institutions

Webb County, named for James Webb, Secretary of the Treasury for the Republic of Texas, was organized in 1848, and Laredo became the county seat. A couthouse was constructed in 1882 for $40,000. Early county officers were the chief justice, commissioners, treasurer, sheriff, and hide inspector.

Laredo incorporated as a city under Texas law in 1848. In 1882, the City of Laredo established a water works that pumped 2,000,000 gallons of water daily through 10 miles of water mains. As late as 1922, water was delivered by barrileros (water vendors) to parts of the city. In 1889, a foot and wagon bridge was constructed across the Río Grande. The Laredo Improvement Company built the first electric street cars west of the Mississippi.

Education in Laredo dates to 1783 when a Spanish order was issued that all children who had reached an age of 12 be sent to school. Reading, writing, arithmetic, and catechism were mandatory subjects. The first city-sponsored school opened in 1821. A later school was La Escuela Amarilla (yellow school), built of sandstone in the 1870’s. In 1882, the Laredo Independent School District was created and administered by the city council. In 1910, the Central School was constructed on the site of Escuela Amarilla retained the original name. The first high school was held at the Casa Consistorial, the old council house. Laredo High School was built on that same site in 1916.

The explosive growth of the city in the 1880’s led to the development of two political factions: Botas (Boots) led by Raymond Martin and C.M. MacDonell, and the Guaraches (Sandals), led by Darío González. Both parties vied for control of the city council. Political speeches, parades, excessive consumption of alcohol, and the shooting of firearms at anvils characterized the campaigns. On April 6 1886, an election was won by the Bota candidates who led a mock funeral parade for the Guaraches the following day. The parade developed into a street battle that left possibly 30 dead. The 1888 election helped to mend differences, and members of the two factions joined the Independent Club in later years.

Webb County Heritage Foundation

500 Flores Avenue, Laredo, Texas

Mailing Address:

Post Office Box 446

Laredo, TX 78042-0446

Phone: 956-727-0977 | Fax: 956-727-0577 | e-mail: heritage@webbheritage.org