- Old Falcon was submerged
Photo courtesy TXDoT
a Pecan Shell
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
New (but not
necessarily improved) 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.
Photo courtesy TXDoT
|The 1901 Zapata
County Courthouse now under Falcon Reservoir
Click on image to enlarge
1939 photo courtesy TXDoT
|Falcon - near
Starr / Zapata
(From 1940 Texas state map #4335 showing Zapata
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
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