El Paso County Poor Farm

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El Paso County Poor Farm
Opened 1915
Closed 1984
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Socorro, TX
Alternate Names
  • Rio Vista Farm


Established in 1915 as El Paso’s second poor farm, Rio Vista Farm flourished through the Great Depression in 1929 and began hosting an array of public welfare programs shortly afterward. It served as a temporary base for a Civilian Conservation Corps unit in 1936 and as the reception and processing center for the Bracero Program from 1951 to 1964, when it closed. Unlike most Texas poor farms of the time, Rio Vista’s familial model welcomed and accepted neglected children in addition to the indigent adult population, sheltering hundreds of them throughout its operating years.

From the early 1980s until the mid-1990s, part of the site was used by El Paso County Sheriff's Office as a training academy. Today, a few of the historic buildings are occupied by the City of Socorro’s Administration Offices and Rio Vista Community Center. Of the remaining 18 buildings, only 5 have been maintained and are in use. The remaining sit empty and are severely deteriorating, with the building built specifically for the Bracero Program being the most dilapidated.