Rio Vista Farm

Socorro (El Paso County)

Established in 1915 as El Paso’s second poor farm, Rio Vista Farm flourished through the Great Depression in 1929 and began hosting an array of public welfare programs shortly afterward. It served as a temporary base for a Civilian Conservation Corps unit in 1936 and as the reception and processing center for the Bracero Program from 1951 to 1964, when it closed. Unlike most Texas poor farms of the time, Rio Vista’s familial model welcomed and accepted neglected children in addition to the indigent adult population, sheltering hundreds of them throughout its operating years.

Rio Vista Farm is one of many adobe structures in west Texas that will benefit from hands-on training in adobe construction and restoration.  Relatively simple in construction, the structures at Rio Vista Farm can be used as a living classroom to train Texans young and old in the skills required to work with adobe.  The lessons learned at Rio Vista Farm can then be applied to historic sites throughout west Texas, where adobe structures await preservation.

UPDATE: In 2015, the City of Socorro allocated $1.1 million towards the restoration of the Farm. In 2016, Rio Vista Farms was declared a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

National Trust of Historic Places – Rio Vista Farms

El Paso Times – Socorro’s Rio Vista Farm named National Treasure

El Paso Inc. – Rio Vista Farm declared National Treasure