El Corazon Sagrado de la Iglesia de Jesus (the Sacred Heart of the church of Jesus) was completed in 1915 using sun-dried adobe bricks made by the citizens of Ruidosa under the guidance of the town's priest, Father Mariano.
Designed by Father Manuel Cuadrado, the completed structure was a scaled down frontier version of a traditional Catholic church floor plan featuring two pyramidal-roofed towers flanking a central arched vestibule entryway. Significantly, the four interior adobe arches (the vestibule, nave, and flanking towers) are believed to be the largest traditional adobe arches in the state.
Used for decades by its congregation for weddings, funerals, and Sunday mass, by the mid-1950s as the population of Ruidosa declined, the church began to fall into disrepair. By the early 1990s, the church had reached an advanced state of decay and the El Paso Diocese announced plans to demolish it. Although those plans were dropped due to local opposition, the church continued to deteriorate.
In 2004, funding for the church's restoration was secured through the Texas Historical Commission in conjunction with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Presidio County Historical Commission. Over the course of the following six years the building was stabilized and partially restored. Positive drainage was established through re-grading, eroded adobes were replaced, a corrugated metal roof was added, the lower portion of exterior walls were mud plastered, the arches were restored and the left tower was partially rebuilt. However, as a result of concerns about the structural integrity of the left tower, the project was terminated in 2010. The church’s deterioration resumed.
After years of negotiation with the Presidio County Historical Commission and county officials, in August of 2019, the Catholic Diocese deeded the property to Presidio County to allow for its restoration. The Friends of the Ruidosa Church was formed to assume ownership of the property, raise money, oversee the church’s restoration, and to manage the property as a community center for both religious and secular events.
P. O. Box 2191
Alpine, TX 79831
Friends of the Ruidosa Church is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.