According to a statement from the Rio Grande Valley Civil War Trail project, a locally produced documentary about the history of Rio Grande City's Fort Ringgold has been accepted into this year's Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase.
The documentary titled; And Then the Soldiers Were Gone: Rio Grande City and Fort Ringgold is a 28 minute film highlighting Fort Ringgold and offers an insight on what happened when it stopped serving as a military base in the 1940s. It also explores the debate on the future of the Fort, and features interviews with local historians and people who actually worked within the Fort during its heyday.
According to one of the film's producers, the documentary was funded by the University of Texas RGV's Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools (CHAPS) program. “When this project started [CHAPS] came to me and said, ‘there’s a really neat story in Rio Grande City and we have some money an artistic project. We would like to make a documentary,' ” said Dr. Nick Taylor in one interview. “We wanted to go in and look at what happened when the base closed. How did the businesses rebound and stuff like that? But we found that that wasn’t really the story. The Real story dealt with political intrigue. It dealt with a City trying to fight amongst themselves, but eventually all coming together in the end.”
According to one description, the Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase is an international, peer reviewed, competitive film festival. A panel of film professionals reviewed the documentary and decided it was worth showing to their audience.
PHOTO: Documentary film crew on location in Rio Grande City.
VIDEO: Documentary about the documentary's original screening at the UTRGV campus, produced by UTRGV Students Wendy Moctezuma, Aisha Palma, Carolina Rocha y Annette Villaseñor.
The following is a description of Fort Ringgold published on the Texas Tropical Trail Website; For 96 years, Fort Ringgold watched over Rio Grande City and its Rio Grande River crossing. Built just after the end of the war with Mexico and named for Samuel Ringgold, who died from injuries he received in the battle of Palo Alto, Fort Ringgold served as garrison against border violence as well as economic driver for the river town of Rio Grande City.
Although occupancy began in 1848, the fort wouldn't see well-built permanent structures until after the Civil War, gaining wood-frame and brick buildings along a palm-lined parade ground. Fort Ringgold was considered one of the best looking posts along the border and hosted leading military figures in its heyday, including Robert E. Lee and John J. Pershing. The fort's service ended in 1944 and five years later the Rio Grande Independent School District purchased the property.
Today, visitors may drive or walk the campus to enjoy a number of the surviving, and handsome, barracks along with the hospital, armory, and mortuary buildings. The restored R.E. Lee House is a must-see. Stop at the gate for visitor information and drive the site or park and walk, but, just in case you see your math teacher traversing the promenade, you'd better bring your homework along, too.