About quintamazatlan

QUINTA MAZATLAN IS A MANSION WITH A MISSION... RESTORING ONE BACKYARD AT A TIME! Our Mission The urban sanctuary works to enrich people's lives by sharing knowledge about birds, plants, and environmental stewardship in South Texas. Our Vision Quinta Mazatlan, cherished locally and recognized internationally, is a sanctuary connecting people to the history, beauty and wonder of our natural world.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Matthews!!

Young Mr. Matthews

Jason Matthews

Born November 20, 1884 in Charlottsville Virginia, Mr. Jason Chilton Matthews was considered a renaissance man for his eccentric ways and world travels. “A world explorer, writer, author and traveler – from the Amazon to the Ganges – he gave people credit from what they are regardless of race, color or creed, without discredit for what they were not or should have been.” exert from Mr. Jason Matthews obituary published in the American Mercury Magazine.

One of his greatest accomplishments was building the largest adobe structure in Texas, Quinta Mazatlan. Armed with a secret adobe block making recipe, true grit and heart, he and his wife Marcia completed the mansion in 1944. Quinta Mazatlan became the headquarters, laboratory and studio for the many endeavors they embarked on.

He was a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He penned “Flame and Melody”, a collection of poems while at Quinta Mazatlan and was credited for composing “Maria”, which was often performed by Fred Waring. Other music classics were, “Moon Over London”, “An Orchid from Hawaii” and “At the Last World’s Fair” to name a few. Mr. Matthews also conducted the Air Force Band out of Moore Air Field Base in McCook.

Owner of the American Mercury, an anti-communist magazine, and founder of “Legions for the Survival of Freedom”, nationalists and populists interested in pro- individual liberty and pro-patriotic, Mr. Matthews patriotism to his country was incomparable to no other. He fought in 11 battles around the globe. His devotion to this country led him to create the ideal nutritional mixture to grow vegetables quickly and efficiently through the use of hydroponics. This concoction was used by our military in the Philippines and Guam after World War II to provide our soldiers abroad healthy and nutritious vegetables.

One can only imagine the life that Mr. Jason Matthews lived. An extraordinary life fulfilling his dreams as an adventurer, author, composer and most of all a true patriot.

Tours have begun and will continue weekly through April 2018. All public tours are included in admission fee: $2 Children under 12, $2 Senior Citizens and $3 Adults. Free admission to members and children ages 2 years & under. Private bookings are available.

For groups with 10 or more are required to call in advance and schedule a Private Tour.

Older Mr. MattewsMatthews with cadet


White-tailed deer

White-Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer standing at alert!

The white-tailed deer can be found in southern Canada and most of the United States. The white-tailed deer is tan or brown in the summer and grayish brown in winter. It has white on its throat, around its eyes and nose, on its stomach and on the underside of its tail. White-tailed deer graze for food at dawn and dusk. A deer’s diet changes depending on its habitat and the season. It eats green plants in the spring and summer. In the fall, it eats corn, acorns and other nuts. In the winter, it eats the buds and twigs of woody plants. White-tailed deer have good eyesight and hearing. Only male deer grow antlers, which are shed and grow back each year. White-tail deer are good swimmers and will use large streams and lakes to escape predators. An adult male deer is called a buck, while an adult female is called a doe and young deer is called a fawn. White-tailed deer are the most popular large game animal in the United States.

Join us for our one-of-a-kind outdoor Sculpture Trail Tour on Thursdays at 10am and develop an appreciation for the vast variety of creatures that call our region home. Each sculpture provides insight into the natural history of the Rio Grande Valley. At each turn of a trail, there’s a new creature to discover.

Admission Fee:

$2 Children under 12, $2 Senior Citizens and $3 Adults

Free admission to members and children ages 2 years & under.

For groups of 10 or more, please call to reserve a private tour.

Call us at 956-681-3370 for more information.

Come visit us at 600 Sunset Drive in McAllen.

Eagle Scout Goes Batty at Quinta Mazatlan

Seventeen-year-old Amado Moreno III resident of Edinburg, recently completed an Eagle Scout bat house project at Quinta Mazatlán World Birding Center. Moreno was joined by family and friends to complete the installation of twelve bat houses at the urban sanctuary in McAllen. Moreno attends school at South Texas High School for Health Professions in Mercedes, Texas.bathouse-project-eagle-scout

Amado Moreno III is a member of troop 41 he was first introduced to the Scouts Program in kindergarten and has been an active member ever since. As his last project on his journey to become an Eagle, Moreno chose to construct and install bat houses to serve as a shelter for bats to roost. Twelve houses were constructed and placed in strategic locations around Quinta Mazatlán. These houses had to meet specific guidelines established by Bat Conservation International.  Guidelines were specific in the size, materials used, and the color and paint needed to promote a healthy bat population. As the head of the project, Moreno was responsible for organizing the helpers and the work detail.  When asked what he found interesting about the project Moreno had this to say “What interested me was that bats are a natural pest control and are better than man made pesticides. A single bat can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes or 60 medium-size moths in a single hour. Most bats are not dangerous at all. They are actually very beneficial to humans. The fruit–eating and nectar-eating bats pollinate many plants.” Moreno invites all to Quinta Mazatlán to view these important contributors to the environment.


TBT: National Painted Clay Folk Art week

clay-animals-3Once humans discovered that clay could be dug up and formed into objects by mixing with water and then firing, the crafting of figurines from clay was born. Animal and human figurines were made from clay and other materials, then fired in kilns partially dug into the ground. Many of these clay animal figures were cheerfully and whimsically painted. The colorfully painted clay creations represent Mexico’s proud folk art history and each has its own unique character. Animals have always been a favorite subject matter of the folk artists in Mexico. No two pieces are alike, and they come in a variety of colors with hand-painted design embellishments. Some clay artists even step out of the norm and create architectural pieces.

clay-churchWith this week being National Painted Clay Folk Art week, Quinta Mazatlan invites you to explore folk art through the eyes of Ann Maddox Moore. The Folk Art Room features over 1,400 pieces of art from Moore’s private collection. Long-time McAllen native, art collector, enthusiast, and community supporter, Ann Moore has accumulated Mexican folk art for over 40 years! Her generous gift underscores the cross-cultural nature of the Valley’s relationship with Mexico, and provides a dazzling experience of color and handiwork that is fast disappearing. The collection is from all over Mexico, coming from as far away as Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacán. There are also other pieces sprinkled in from Africa, Indonesia, Peru, Guatemala, and other countries. Moore’s collection creates a bridge to various cultures, traditions, and ways of life through folk art.

Quinta Mazatlan is the City of McAllen’s urban sanctuary that continuously works to enrich people’s lives by sharing knowledge about birds, plants, and environmental stewardship in South Texas. Bring your friends and tour one of the largest adobe homes in the state of Texas. Hear about the tales of the families that built and lived at Quinta Mazatlan for a total of 60 years before the City of McAllen purchased the estate and opened in in 2006 as a Mansion with a Mission. Visit our website at www.quintamazatlan.com for more details.clay-animals-4

TBT: The Thornforest

Quinta Mazatlan has gone through many changes throughout its existence. The estate grounds are no exception. The Matthews family cleared surrounding land to grow a variety of fruit trees and plants for food. The Schultz family continued that practice by purchasing more property surrounding the mansion and growing citrus.

The archway to the thorn forest gives you a visual to what the estate grounds use to look like previous to 1935. Many guests have passed through the doorway to the thorn forest that was recreated in February 2008. Countless families and nature lovers have passed through on their way to explore the plant life, look for birds, search out butterflies, and spend time outdoors. archway

A variety of trees, shrubs, and plants makeup the thorn forest at Quinta Mazatlan. The assortment of vegetation attracts a variety of birds and butterflies to the estate. The gate keepers for the estate are none other than the Plain Chachalacas, which are bountiful. Buff-bellied Hummingbirds will entertain you with their aerial acrobatics. Green Parakeets chatter to you from their condo homes in the palms. Butterflies are also bountiful within the thorn forest. Monarch, Large Orange Sulphur, Giant Swallowtail, Red-bordered Pixie and many others types of butterflies flutter around the thorn forest searching for flowering plants to get a meal.

Though many trails meander around the estate, they all lead back to the historical mansion. Quinta Mazatlan provides the community with an urban sanctuary working to enrich people’s lives by sharing knowledge about birds, plants, and environmental stewardship in South Texas.

Want to learn more about Quinta Mazatlan? All public tours are included in admission fee: Songbird Strolls on Tuesdays and Saturdays 8:30-10:00 am, Garden Walk & Talk on Wednesdays 10:00-11:00 am, Forest Sculpture Trail Tours on Thursdays 10:00-11:00 am, and History of Quinta Mazatlan Tours on Fridays 10:00-11:00 am. Groups of 10 or more are required to book a private tour.

Admission Fee:
$2 Children under 12, $2 Senior Citizens and $3 Adults
Free admission to members and children ages 2 years & under.
Come visit us at 600 Sunset Drive in McAllen, give us a call at 956-681-3370, or visit our website atwww.quintamazatlan.com for more information.

TBT: The Iron Gate

dfhgzdfIt was no mystery that the Matthews expressed strong Pro-American views and were anti-Communist. They edited and published the American Mercury magazine from Quinta Mazatlan, and Mrs. Matthews was known to do a radio broadcast promoting pro-American views. The design and construction of Quinta Mazatlan was meticulously done in Spanish Colonial Revival architecture to secure and seclude the family from the outside world if need be.

iron-gates-5-27-16-1One of the architectural features of the Spanish Revival is a courtyard. Quinta Mazatlan is designed in a U-shape with a courtyard. The courtyard’s gates are of ornamental and decorative wrought iron design. Finely crafted iron gates are either straight or single arch top with vertical bars and scroll designs. The ornamental iron work has withstood the test of time. Two of the gates stand an imposing 6’ by 8’ and another stands a modest 4’ by 4’. A crude but efficient sliding bolt system is used to secure and lock the gates. These gates have seen many a person enter and exit the courtyard. One can only imagine the many interesting guests that have passed through these gates.

rggfThe courtyard gates are always open these days at Quinta Mazatlan, allowing our guests to explore the estate. Quinta Mazatlan is one of the City of McAllen’s urban sanctuaries that continuously work to enrich people’s lives by sharing knowledge about birds, plants, and environmental stewardship in South Texas.

Want to know more about the history of Quinta Mazatlan? Guided history tours will start up in October and are held every Friday at 10am. The tour is included with general admission ($3). Come visit us at 600 Sunset Drive in McAllen. For more information, Visit our website atwww.quintamazatlan.com.iron-gates-5-27-16-8

TBT: Beware the Agapanthus

Agapanthus SignThe odd but mysterious home built in the thorn forest was always a curiosity for those who did not have the privilege of visiting it. Quinta Mazatlan’s builders and owners, Jason and Marcia Matthews, selected this piece of property for its geological and geographical location: geological because they had access to natural gas and a water well, and geographical since it sits on a knoll and is way out of town but close to the airport.

Needless to say, they liked their privacy and didn’t welcome unwanted guests. At the entrance of the gated property sat a sign that read, “WARNING: BEWARE OF AGAPANTHUS. IF ATTACKED, BACK AWAY SLOWLY.” Many would-be intruders would be deterred, not knowing what Agapanthus really was. Was it a vicious animal or some kind of deranged person? With a little research they would have realized that Agapanthus is the scientific name for the stunning – and innocent – Lily of the Nile plant. Agapanthus is an easy-to-grow perennial which produces colorful spheres of blue or white trumpet-shape flowers in summer and fall.

agapanthus.2Though the sign still exists at Quinta Mazatlan, we extend a warm welcome to everyone. Quinta Mazatlan is the City of McAllen’s urban sanctuary that continuously works to enrich people’s lives by sharing knowledge about birds, plants, and environmental stewardship in South Texas.

Do you enjoy reading the Throw Back Thursday posts each week? Mark you calendars for Fridays at 10am October-April. We will soon be starting up our historical tours of the grounds and mansion!