U.S. Consulate General History

The first U.S. consular office established in Monterrey was a Consular Agency, which opened on February 6, 1892.  For several years prior to and following the establishment of the Consular Agency at Monterrey, consular officers in northern Mexico were under the supervision of the Consulate General in Nuevo Laredo.   Monterrey, however, was more favorably situated as a point for supervisory work since it had better communications facilities with other points in the Republic and it was the most important industrial city and distribution center in northern Mexico.  Therefore, on February 1, 1898, the Department of State authorized the transfer of the Consulate General to Monterrey. The office in Nuevo Laredo was simultaneously made a Consulate.

Since 1892, the U.S. Consulate General offices have occupied twelve locations in Monterrey, including several private homes, a grocery store near Plaza Hidalgo, various office buildings, and the one located at Avenida Constitución that was the first building to be specifically constructed to serve as the Consulate General. Today, the U.S. Consulate General has a new building with modern and bigger facilities and is located in Santa Catarina, N.L.

The first Consular Agent was Ellsworth J. Wiggins, who began his duties on February 6, 1892. The current Consul General, Timothy Zúñiga-Brown, assumed charge of the Consulate General in 2015.  In the intervening 120 years, 40 men and two women served as principal officers of the Consulate General and its predecessor offices.  Some of the more recent Consuls General still remembered in Monterrey include Ruth A. McLendon, Frank M. Tucker Jr., Martin G. Heflin, John E. Bennett, Jake M. Dyels Jr., Eileen Heaphy, Daniel Johnson, Robert B. Nolan, John Ritchie, Luis G. Moreno, Bruce Williamson, Nace Crawford and Joseph Pomper.

Probably the most interesting segment of the Consulate General history took place during Mexico’s struggle between Federal and Constitutionalist forces. On April 21, 1914, word reached Monterrey that U.S. forces had taken Veracruz. There were demonstrations throughout the city against the U.S. intervention in Mexico and many U.S. flags were publicly burned in the streets. The following day, a police lieutenant with a force of men thoroughly searched the Consulate General and took Consul General Philip C. Hanna prisoner. The Consul General was taken before a military court and charged with being in sympathy with the Constitutionalist forces. It was believed by many that the Consul General would be executed or carried to the mountains as a prisoner. However, he was released safely when Constitutionalist forces took the city on April 23.  On June 20, 1916, the Consulate General was closed due to strained relations between the Mexican and the U.S. governments over U.S. attempts to capture General “Pancho” Villa (who incidentally had been the Consul General’s dinner guest in March 1915).

Consul General Hanna opened an office in San Antonio, Texas, for the purpose of keeping the U.S. government informed concerning activities in northern Mexico.

The Consulate General reopened on March 20, 1917, following the inauguration of Emilio Carranza as President of Mexico and the normalization of relations between the two countries.