Rabb Plantation House
Now referred to as the Rabb Plantation, this property was originally known as Rancho San Tomas. It encompasses over 20,000 acres stretching north from the banks of the Rio Grande to the Arroyo Colorado. In 1885, Miffin Kenedy conveyed San Tomas to his stepdaughter, Maria Vicenta Starck. In 1892, after the marriage of Frank Rabb to her daughter, Lillian, Maria Vicenta Starck transferred 1/2 undivided interest in San Tomas to Frank Rabb. That same year, the Rabb and Starck families built a Queen Anne style house that served as the working headquarters of the plantation. It represented the living style and upward mobility of the entrepreneurs and political elite of South Texas at the end of the 19th century. Its Victorian architecture signified a shift from the sprawling southwest ranches and "border brick" tradition, and is the only example of its type in Cameron County.
In the 1970s, the acreage around the house was conveyed to the National Audubon Society and established as a sanctuary for wildlife. In 2010, after the two years, the Gorgas Science Foundation entered into an agreement with Audubon to take over management and reopen the Sanctuary. In 2013, Gorgas completed restoration of the Rabb Plantation house which now serves as visitors center and headquarters from the Sanctuary.
Built in 1892, the Rabb Plantation house sits in the center of the Sabal Palm Sanctuary wildlife refuge. Guests have access to over 3 miles of walking trails, bird viewing blinds, feeding station, butterfly garden and river observation deck.
All guest accommodations are upstairs. One bedroom with its own private bathroom. In the common area there is a mini fridge, microwave and coffee machine available for use. No meals of any type are provided and there is no kitchen/cooking area availab