Founded in 1765 around a mission that was established 16 years earlier, it was part of José de Escandón's Colony. On the banks of the Rio Grande, the town was an important riverboat shipping point until the coming of railroads and highways. The Rio Grande is no longer navigable. Homes, stores and an ancient mission resemble an interior Mexican town. Producers of the film "Viva Zapata" chose Roma for outdoor scenes.
The Roma National Historic Landmark District encompasses most of the original town site and highlights 38 identified historical structures that date between 1848 and 1928. The Conservation Fund, representing The Meadows Foundation, was joined by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to form the Roma Restoration Project to restore historical buildings and to accomplish as much of the work as possible with local craftspeople. Although not open to the public, the buildings and restoration work can be viewed from the city's plaza.
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