5. Yturria Bank (1854)


1255 E. Elizabeth Street
This Border Brick style building was the first privately/locally owned bank south of San Antonio. Built for Francisco Yturria, the bank also housed one of the city's first telegraph offices. In 1881 Yturria installed an international telephone line which connected his Brownsville bank to his family mercantile store in Matamoros. It was the first international telephone line in Brownsville. Prior to 1904 trading was done in Mexican money; however for the payment of taxes money was exchanged at this bank for United States silver and gold coins stored in a vault. Employees hid in the building's old earthen cellar during frequent bandit raids.