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SAN JUAN, TEXAS

Hidalgo County, South Texas

FM 1426 and Highway Spur 374 (off Highway 281)
About 6 Miles S of Edinburg
6 Miles NE of McAllen
Population: 35,123 (2010) 26,229 (2000)

Book Hotel Here > McAllen Hotels
San Juan TX Lions Park
Lions Park
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008

History in a Pecan Shell

Originally, San Juan was part of two Spanish grants dating from 1767. The heirs retained the lands until the 1850s, ranching and farming.

In 1909 the town was formed by one John Closner, who was supposedly the namesake of the community. A school was built in 1918 and became part of the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD when it formed in early 1919.

A waterworks was installed in 1922 and by the middle of that decade the estimated population was just over 1,200.

The demand for cement irrigation pipe in the Rio Grande Valley was high and San Juan decided to fulfill the need. After WWII the town was said to have had the largest plant for that purpose in the entire state.

The community became known as the start of the “Bougainvillea Trail” – an inspired project that failed to generate a statewide interest. The population in 1945 was over 2,200 and by 1960 it had doubled to 4,400.

In the mid 50s the Virgen de San Juan del Valle Shrine was constructed here. The population went over 5,000 in the early 1970s. In late 1970, a deranged pilot rented a plane and crashed it into the shrine, the engine coming to within inches of the statue of the Virgin. The pilot had radioed a warning, preventing a greater loss of life. The shrine was re-dedicated in 1980 after raising nearly 1.5 million dollars for the restoration.

The 1992 population of 10,815 more than doubled to 26,229 for the 2000 census.

San Juan Hotel,  San Juan TX
San Juan Hotel
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
San Juan Hotel,  San Juan TX
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
More Rooms with a Past
San Juan Hotel Tom Mayfield historical marker,  San Juan TX
Tom Mayfield historical marker
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
San JuanTX Liberty Park
San Juan Liberty Park
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
San JuanTX funny sign
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
More Signs | See Funny Signs
San JuanTX funny sign
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
More Signs | See Funny Signs

San Juan, Texas Chronicles

  • One church, 23 denominations History cartoon by Roger T. Moore

  • San Juan, Texas Area Destinations:
    See Hidalgo County | Edinburg | McAllen
    See South Texas Towns
    Book Hotel Here > McAllen Hotels | More Hotels


    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.




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