Marker location: SH71 S end of Colorado River bridge, Columbus (at the corner of Robson & Fannin)
Marker erected: 1973
Robert Robson (1804-1878), one of many Scotsmen seeking fortune in North America, came to the Texas Republic in 1839. On land he owned at this site, he built a concrete "castle," using native lime and gravel. It had running water, pumped from the Colorado into a tank on th roof, then through wooden pipes to its many rooms. It also had a roof garden and an encircling moat, with drawbridge. From Bastrop to Matagorda, it drew guests to Champagne suppers, card parties, and balls. Undermined by an 1869 flood, it became a ruin and was razed when site was put to new use in 1880s. Columbus, Texas, Meat & Ice Company built its 3-story plant on this site in 1884. It was then one of three packing houses in Texas. Established to process at place of origin, the plant could handle 125 cattle a day. Some of its beef went to Queen Victoria's London. Robert E. Stafford (1834-1890), a wealthy trail driver and rancher, veteran of Civil War service with famous Hood's Texas Brigade, owner of a private bank and extensive Colorado County properties, was president, and major stockholder in the packing house. In the early 1890s, after Stafford died, the plant closed.
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