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Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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Preserve America Community:
Castroville, Texas

With a population of less than 3,000 citizens, Castroville is a rural town 25 miles west of San Antonio on the Medina River. It was founded in 1844 by a group of immigrants recruited by French entrepreneur Henri Castro to settle a land grant he obtained from the Texas Republic.

Alsatian dancers  pose for the picture during a St. Louis Day  celebration. Castroville's Alsatian Dancers contribute to their town's distinctive heritage during St. Louis Day, a celebration that has been held for more than 100 years. (Photo courtesy of the Castroville Chamber of Commerce)

Most of the settlers hailed from the Alsace-Lorraine region of France, and to this day Castroville is known as "the Little Alsace of Texas" because it preserves the distinctive architectural styles and cultural traditions of that region.

Castroville boasts nearly 100 historic structures in the village and a local population exceptionally involved in protecting and sharing its distinctive heritage. The citizens of Castroville recently spent more than two years developing a preservation plan to guide future use of their historic assets for economic development and community revitalization.

The community promotes heritage tourism through a visitors' guide and walking tour map, and has celebrated its heritage annually for more than 100 years through St. Louis Day festivities. Castroville has also developed creative educational programs for its youth, including plays that focus on local African American and Hispanic history.

Castroville is a Certified Local Government and was a model community in the Texas Historical Commission's Visionaries in Preservation Program.

Updated May 13, 2009

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