The Big Bend Conservation Alliance is excited to partner with the Presidio County Historical Commission and the Center for Big Bend Studies (CBBS) at Sul Ross State University, among others, to revive the Ruidosa Church restoration project. Boasting perhaps the largest traditional adobe arches in Texas, El Corazon Sagrado de la Iglesia de Jesus, Ruidosa was built by local townspeople in the early 1900s and used for decades for weddings, funerals, and Sunday mass. But as the town’s population began to decline in the 1950s, the church fell into disrepair and began to deteriorate. By 1991, its condition had reached a point that the Catholic Diocese of El Paso slated it for demolition. Fortunately, public outcry forced them to reverse their decision.
In 2006, through grants from the Texas Historical Commission (THC) and others, the church was stabilized and part of the left front tower was rebuilt. However, due to funding shortages, the project was abandoned and the church was, once again, left to the forces of nature.
This year, in an unprecedented development, the Catholic Diocese agreed to deed the church to Presidio County—a critical first step toward creating the “Friends of the Ruidosa Church”—a dedicated 501(c)3 organization to be formed in order to raise funds through tax-deductible donations. In the coming months, the BBCA plans to assist in developing a restoration plan and fundraising strategy to restore and protect this historically and architecturally significant vernacular structure. Stay tuned for future updates!