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CHAPS presents “And Then the Soldiers Were Gone”

February 12 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

For first time at the Museum of South Texas History, the Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools (CHAPS) will host a presentation and film screening of “And Then the Soldiers Were Gone.”

“And Then the Soldiers Were Gone” is a half-hour documentary film, produced by CHAPS at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, that focuses on the history of Fort Ringgold, the former military base in Rio Grande City, and stories from the city residents. Roseann Bacha-Garza, the program manager for CHAPS, will be available to discuss and answer questions about the film.

Fort Ringgold was established before the Civil War to protect the people of South Texas. It served as a military base for many years until the 1940s, when the fort closed, and the soldiers left Rio Grande City. Upon closure, the question that circulated within the city was what to do with the vacant base. Friction arose between those who wanted it to be a tuberculosis hospital and others who wanted it to be used as a center for education.

Eventually, in 1949, the Rio Grande City Consolidated School District bought Fort Ringgold and it served as a school for decades. However, the divide between the people of Rio Grande City lingers.

The documentary film was produced by students Valerie Guerra and Jaime Trevino under the direction of UTRGV professor Dr. Russell Skowronek and Nick Taylor. The students earned the “Engaged Scholars” scholarship to develop the film and has won several awards, including a Bronze Telly Award. It was nominated in the Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase under the Best Domestic Feature/Featurette Documentary Category.

Roseann Bacha-Garza co-edited several books including “War and Peace on the Rio Grande, 1846-1876” with Russell Skowronek and Christopher Miller in 2018, “The Native American Peoples of South Texas,” and “From Porciones to Colonias: The Power of Place and Community-Based Learning in K-12 Education.” In 2010, she also authored, with the help of the San Juan Economic Development Corporation, “Images of America: San Juan,” through the Arcadia Publishing Company. The book won the Preservation Texas’ Heritage Education Award.

This documentary is included in the fee for regular museum admission. FRIENDS of MOSTHistory are admitted free as a benefit of FRIENDship and must present their FRIENDship card at the Admissions Desk.


February 12
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm