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Duval County Seat, South Texas

Hwy 359, FM 1329
Hwy 44
52 miles W of Corpus Christi
10 miles W of Alice
Population: 4,498 (2010) 5,077 (2000)

San Diego, Texas Area Hotels
Alice Hotels | Corpus Christi Hotels

San Diego, Texas Topics:

  • History in a Pecan Shell
  • San Diego Landmarks/Attractions
  • San Diego Vintage Photos
  • San Diego Forum
  • Duval County Towns & Ghost Towns
  • San Diego, Texas - Duval County Courthouse
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, July 2010
    Duval County Courthouse
    History in a Pecan Shell

    Early travelers between Goliad and Mier stopped to use the springs that fed San Diego Creek in what was to become San Diego.

    Around 1800 Julián and Ventura Flores (father and son) received two land grants known as San Diego de Arriba and San Diego de Abajo. The grants were surveyed in 1806 and they received their deed in 1812.

    In 1828 the first birth was recorded and the population was estimated at 25 families by 1844. In 1846 Gen. Zachary Taylor and his troops briefly occupied the town during the Mexican War.

    In 1848 Ventura Flores sold land to Pablo Pérez, who built houses and named the town Perezville.

    The Casa Blanca
    The town's first post office was opened in 1852 in a small white building known as the Casa Blanca. It is said that Perezville was renamed San Diego at this time. Another story claims 1867 as the year the post office opened.

    This building was occupied by Confederate forces during the Civil War and it later served as a store, a speakeasy, a residence and a bar. It remains standing today.
    Casa Blanca Bar
    Photo courtesy Rudy Torres, May 2007

    In 1875 the population was about 550 people.

    In 1867 the only church between Corpus Christi and the Mexican border was built by Father Claude Jaillet. When Duval County was organized in 1868 San Diego was chosen as the county seat.

    After the Civil War (1878) 2,000 federal troops were stationed in San Diego to protect the townspeople from Mexican raiders. During a drought - a fight erupted over a waterhole and five men were shot dead in the street.

    In 1879 the Corpus Christi, San Diego and Rio Grande Railroad reached the town, making the all-important connection with the port at Corpus Christi. Then in 1881 the Texas-Mexican Railway took over the Corpus Christi, San Diego and Rio Grande and completed the road to Laredo.

    The town's first newsaper opened in 1882 and the population was 1,000 by 1884. In 1890 it had risen to 1,500.

    In 1907, John Cleary, the county tax assessor was assassinated and Archer "Archie" Parr came to power - establishing the illegal (but familiar) "Patron" system of government. Archer was the father of George Parr who would later become known as "The Duke of Duval".

    In 1915 Basilio Ramos, Jr. was arrested in McAllen. Ramos was carrying a copy of what became known as the Plan of San Diego - a scheme that was to link Mexico and Germany in WWI and after the defeat of the U.S. - give back all former Mexican lands to Mexico.

    More San Diego Texas History

    San Diego Landmarks/Attractions

    San Diego TX - Hoffman Block Building, San Diego Library
    San Diego Public Library
    The 1909 Hoffman-Block Building
    Hwy 359 and E. St. Peters Ave.
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, July 2010
    San Diego Texas Church
    TE Photo, 2001
    San Diego Churches
    San Diego TX - Hoffman Block Building details
    Hoffman Block Building
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, July 2010
    San Diego TX - 1909 Hoffman Block Building
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, July 2010
    More Pitted Dates
    San Diego TX - Hoffman Block Building architectural building
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, July 2010
    San Diego Texas residence
    San Diego Architecture
    TE Photo, 2001
    San Diego Texas Ruins
    TE Photo, 2001
    San Diego Museum, Texas
    San Diego Museum
    Photo courtesy Rudy Torres, May 2007
    More Texas Museums
    San Diego TX - RC Ghost Sign
    "An old RC Cola sign as a layer along with "Fruits and Vegetables" on an apparent former grocery store in San Diego, on the north side of Gravis just west of Perez." - Gary L. Oldham, December 2010 photo
    More Texas Ghost Signs
    Oldest home in San Diego Texasd
    The oldest home in San Diego
    Photo courtesy Rudy Torres, May 2007
    San Diego Texas scene
    "I think that is the former Bruno Rios drugstore downtown." - Tom Garcia
    Photo courtesy Rudy Torres, May 2007
    San Diego Texas water tower
    The sun-drenched water tower
    TE Photo
    More Texas Water Towers

    San Diego Vintage Photos

    Duval County Courthouses
    San Diego, Texas Forum
  • Subject: San Diego Texas History
    During the Mexican revolution, the wealthy landowners, the Garcias, were forced to escape Zacatecas to the United States and settled in San Diego, Texas. Pilar Garcia, a Garcia descendant, lived in the outskirts of town and owned a movie theater in Hebbronville, Texas, during the early 1900's. Garcia Street is named in their honor. Cixto Garcia, a Garcia descendant born in Texas, was one of the first hispanic lawyers in the San Diego/Hebbronville area. Jesus Soto and Manuel Olivares, relatives of the Garcias, opened a grocery store in San Diego in the early 1900's. In the 1930's, there was a private elementary school run by nuns.
    Source: Maria Guadalupe Zuniga, descendant of the Garcia family; oral history conveyed to and written by Zandra Zuniga, Corpus Christi, Texas; March 2013.
    - Zandra Zuniga, March 09, 2013

  • Subject: The Church in San Diego
    I happen to grow up in San Diego Texas and came across your website today. The information was interesting except for a photo of the church. The church you placed under San Diego , TX is the wrong Church. The church you have pictured is actually the church of a near by town, Benavides, TX. Their church's name is Santa Rosa de Lima Catholic Church.

    The church in San Diego is Saint Francis de Paula Catholic Church. You can find it on Victoria St. in San Diego. It is a really beautiful church with lots of history itself. Thank you, Elaine Montemayor-Gonzalez, April 17, 2006

  • Subject: San Diego, TX
    Most of the entire side of my family, the Vela's, lives in and around San Diego Texas. They own a small ranch home, 15 min. outside of any major road or intersection. I haven't visited their home in many years, but what I remember of San Diego was the miles of Mesquite trees on the land. There was so much Mesquite that my relatives could easily supply all the fire wood they needed for cooking their hunt from the ranch which was usually deer, quail, or wild pig even.

    The downtown area of the town is very small. We would go into it for grain for chickens and such items. There was an annual event in the downtown called "Pan De Campo", held with dancing, booths with Mexican crafts and foods, and live Tejano music. The only other cloest town was Alice, where we could go for the movie theater or groceries. The Vela family lives strong in San Diego, Texas. - Jimmy Vela, April 21, 2005
  • San Diego, Texas
    Area Destinations:

    Corpus Christi
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