The Gem, between E Levee St and E Elizabeth St, was one of the city's first brick commercial structures when it was built in 1848. Its projecting balconies once sheltered a saloon – or as the historical association would have it, a 'drinking house boutique'.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Galeria 409

0.02 MILES

Founded by artist Mark Clark to showcase local talent, this small gallery hosts rotating exhibits on important local issues (border communities,…

2. Brownsville Heritage Complex

0.09 MILES

The 1851 home of Brownsville founder Charles Stillman, and later the Mexican Consulate in Brownsville, is part of the Brownsville Heritage Complex. Next…

3. V Fernandez Complex

0.19 MILES

The old trade links to New Orleans are clearly visible in this dilapidated 1877 building.

4. Immaculate Conception Cathedral


An 1859 Gothic Revival example of the artistry of local brick masons, this was the first Texas seminary of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

5. Russell-Cocke House

0.46 MILES

An 1877 Victorian house that shows the wealth of the local traders. Like many downtown buildings, it has an interesting historical marker, but the…

6. Alonso Building

0.49 MILES

This two-story 1877 structure was home to the popular Los Dos Cañones mercantile store, and the cast-iron balcony upstairs is one of several around…

7. Fort Brown

0.51 MILES

This former US army outpost, dating from 1846, is named for Jacob Brown, who died here that year fighting the Mexicans. Flooding forced an 1868 relocation…

8. Historic Brownsville Museum

0.53 MILES

Housed in the grand Spanish Colonial–style 1928 Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, this small museum houses historical artifacts and photography. In the…