Welcome to Río Grande
As wool baron José Menéndez’ sheep stations developed, Río Grande grew as a makeshift service town. In 1893 the Salesian order, under the guidance of Monseñor Fagnano, set up a mission in an unsuccessful attempt to shelter the Selk’nam from the growing infringement. As a petroleum service center, the town has an industrial feel: even the public artworks look like giant, grim Tinkertoys. Geared to business travelers, Río Grande is pricey for visitors. Duty-free status, meant to foster development, has brought in electronics-manufacturing plants and wholesale appliance stores. During the Falklands War the military played an important role here; memorials pay tribute to fallen soldiers.