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Zapata County TX
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FALCON, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town - Submerged
Zapata County, South Texas

(New) Falcon

Highway 83
2 miles West of the Starr - Zapata county line
Population: 184 est (2000, 2010) 50 (1960-1990)

Book Hotel Here > Zapata Hotels
TX - Falcon Reservoir
Falcon Reservoir - Old Falcon was submerged
Photo courtesy TXDoT

History in a Pecan Shell

Old Falcon

Col. José de Escandón of Spain escorted the first Europeans here in the 1750s. The original community had been where Medio Creek joined the Rio Grande. The king of Spain granted over 6,000 acres of land to the original grantee José Clemente Gutiérrez. He sold it to José Clemente Ramírez and when Ramírez married Margarita de la Garza Falcón, it created a partnership of the region's most powerful families. Several small villages came into being - many of them formed by expanding families.

In the early 1900s Ildefonso Ramírez opened a general store at the site and a post office was granted in 1915 under the name of Falcon. There had been an existing post office named Ramireño, a few miles away.

When a dam was planned here to alleviate a six year drought in the early 1950s, Old Falcon consisted of about 12 acres - with four acres fronting the river. There was an offer to relocate families to the county seat of Zapata, but many of the residents were direct descendants of the original owners and balked at resettlement.

The government went ahead with its plan prior to paying compensation and closed the dam. Everyone was expecting the drought to continue. There was time to settle matters - so everyone thought. But in August of 1953, heavy rains fell and the water rose faster than residents could evacuate. Old Falcon was submerged.

The people left with little more than they could carry and the town was inundated. In an emergency action, a woman named Rafaela Ramos de Serna parceled out fifty acres of her land, selling the lots for a mere $100 each.

The government then refused to pay full price for the now-flooded properties.

New (but not necessarily improved) Falcon

"New Falcon" today has residents situated on several curbed and paved streets with several stores and other businesses.

The government had decided on a specific site to relocate the former cemetery plots, but mistrust of the government led to each affected village to buy their own gravesites. One hundred and fifty graves from the inundated Falcon cemetery were moved.
TX - goats
Goats (at a roadside park?)
Photo courtesy TXDoT
See Goats in Texas
TX - Cormorants in Falcon Reservoir
Cormorants in Falcon Reservoir
Photo courtesy TXDoT
See Birds in Texas
TX - Falcon Reservoir
Falcon Reservoir
Photo courtesy TXDoT

Falcon TX Zapata County 1932 Postmark
Falcon TX Zapata County 1932 Postmark
Postcard cancelled with 1932 Falcon TX postmark
Courtesy The John J. Germann Collection

TX Zapata  County 1940s Map
Falcon - near Starr / Zapata county line
(From 1940 Texas state map #4335 showing Zapata County)

Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Take a road trip

Falcon, Texas Nearby Towns:
Zapata the county seat
Laredo
See Zapata County | Starr County | South Texas

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Zapata Hotels | More Hotels
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