Heinrich Portscheller

Heinrich Portscheller
Heinrich (Henry) Portscheller, architect and builder. Portscheller, who was born in Germany, lived in Roma, Texas, and in Laredo, Texas, from 1894 until his death. Source: 100-0798, Roma Historical Museum. General Photograph Collection, UTSA Special Collections.

Heinrich Portscheller (1840–1915) was a German architect and builder. He moved to Mexico and later Texas between 1865 and 1866 and soon joined the Mexican Army, participating in the battle of Santa Gertrudis on June 15, 1866. Following his military service, Portscheller worked as a brick mason at Fort Ringgold and Starr County and Mier, Mexico.

In 1879, he married Leonarda Campos, and the family lived in Mier before relocating to Roma. There Portscheller established a brickyard to manufacture the unique salmon buff, sand struck, large bricks, which were pressed and molded. In addition to the Manuel Guerra residence and store, Portscheller built the Pablo Ramírez house, Antonia Sáenz house and Nestor Sáenz store, and the Silverio de la Peña Building (Rio Grande City). Portscheller and his craftsmen also constructed many of the tombs and vaults in Roma's cemetery.

In 1894, Portscheller and his family followed the subsequent building boom in Laredo. He is credited for several more structures in Laredo, including the St. Peter's Catholic Church (1898).

Manuel Guerra Store & Residence

Additional Resources

Gerald Moorhead et al., "Silverio de la Peña Building", [Rio Grande CityTexas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—.

Heinrich Portscheller. Society of Architectural Historians (website).

Historic American Buildings Survey, C. & Portscheller, H. (1933) Silverio De La Pena Drugstore & Post Office, Main & Lopez Streets, Rio Grande City, Starr County, TX. Rio Grande City Starr County Texas, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress.

National Park Service. American Latino Heritage: Roma Historic District, Roma, Texas.

Silverio de la Peña Building. (2022). Historical Marker Database.

Texas Historical Commission. [Historic Marker Application: Manuel Guerra Home and Store]text1973; University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History; crediting Texas Historical Commission.

Tipton-Wilson, B. "The Architecture of Heinrich Portscheller in South Texas." Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, 2015, Volume 4periodical2015; Austin, Texas. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.

Heinrich Portscheller