TexasEscapes.com  
HOME : : NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : TEXAS HOTELS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : BUILDINGS : : IMAGES : : ARCHIVE : : SITE MAP
PEOPLE : : PLACES : : THINGS : : HOTELS : : VACATION PACKAGES
TEXAS TOWNS
Texas Escapes
Online Magazine

WESLACO, TEXAS

Hidalgo County, South Texas
State Hwy 83 & FM 88
15 miles East of McAllen
15 miles West of Harlingen
7 miles SE to Nuevo Progresso, Mexico
Population: 37,063 (2010) 26,935 (2000)
Home to an estimated 6,000 Winter Texans

Book Hotel Here > Weslaco Hotels

Weslaco TX - Moon and Water Tower
Moon and Water Tower
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, November 2010
More Texas Water Towers

History in a Pecan Shell

The Spanish Land Grant refers to the area as Llano Grande and date back to 1747. Over the years the huge tract was broken down into smaller parcels.

In 1904, Lon C. Hill, founder of Harlingen and Uriah Lott, brought the railroad through the underpopulated area which was primarily ranchland at this time.

Camp Llano Grande was set up as part of a huge military buildup by the Army to secure the U.S. Border during the turmoil in Mexico and occasional forays into Texas by Mexican banditti. The camp provided training for troops that would later be sent to France in WWI.

W. E. Stewart was a land developer from Kansas City who named the town after his W.E. Stewart Land Co. The first lots of Stewart's 30,000 acres went up for sale on December 10th 1919, but nobody felt like pouring foundations over the holidays, so 1920 was the year things really got started.

The post-war optimism brought an influx of eager pioneers. Weslaco had been relying on its neighbors of Mercedes and Donna for mail delivery and electricity until they got their own power plant and post office.

1920 also gave Weslaco a posting of Texas Rangers. 1924 brought a fire, while 1927 brought a permanent depot. In 1928 the beautifully detailed City Hall was built and the Cortez Hotel opened its doors on the last day of the year with a New Year's Eve Ball.

Weslaco Texas - City Hall
Weslaco City Hall / Fire Department / Jail 1928
R. Newell Waters - Architect

Photo courtesy Weslaco Museum
Weslaco Architecture
historic photo of Cortez Hotel in Weslaco Texas
The Cortez Hotel (Villa de Cortez Today)
Photo courtesy Weslaco Museum
It was a decade of accomplishments and by 1929 they had a lot to show for their 10th anniversary.

During prohibition there was a lot of traffic on the bridge to go have a legal drink in Mexico and watch the dog races. Al Capone was said to have spent some time here looking after his interests (which had nothing to do with citrus).

The people of Weslaco came up with an idea to brighten the gloom of the Great Depression in 1936 by lighting two blocks of Texas Boulevard downtown with neon.
vintage photo of Texas street scene
Before "Main Street Cities" there was Texas Avenue.
From the historic photograph collection of Weslaco Museum
Weslaco Texas street scene
Street Scene, Weslaco, Texas 1926
Photo courtesy of Weslaco Museum
old photo of fell bridge in Weslaco
From the historic photograph collection of Weslaco Museum

Weslaco suffered the natural calamities of flood and hurricane, fire and freeze.

In 1933, forty people were killed in what Floridians refer to as The Labor Day Hurricane and the suspension bridge at Hidalgo fell into the Rio Grande. The bridge at the Mercedes-Rio Rico crossing collapsed in 1941.

A severe freeze in 1951 killed an estimated 12 million grapefruit trees.

Weslaco TX Night Scene
Weslaco Night Scene
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, November 2010

Weslaco Area Attractions:

  • The Weslaco Museum: 515 Kansas Avenue
  • The Harlon Block Memorial: 1100 Vo-Tech Drive (The Texas National Guard Armory) Monument to a local youth who became one of the Marines who raised the flag at Iwo Jima.
  • Valley Nature Center: 301 S. Border at Gibson Park.
    Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 9 to 1
    Nature trail and exhibit hall of local flora including a lily pond and cactus garden. 956-969-2475
  • Weslaco Hotels > Book Here
  • Weslaco Features & Vintage Photos

  • Weslaco People - Faces from the past - on the border.
  • Weslaco Architectural Highlights
  • Weslaco's Unique (and edible) Fashion Show - Weslaco's fruit, vegetable and flower show - Selected women's fashion entries 1936 TO 1950
  • Street Name Trivia by Joe Foster
    A set of avenues in Weslaco were named for mostly NORTHERN states on the north or both sides of town, and a few southern states on the southern side. They run north to south, with a few other Texas nationalistic terms thrown in:
    BORDER, Colorado, REPUBLIC STREET/CALLE DE LA REPUBLICA, Oklahoma, Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Indiana, Nebraska, Missouri, TEXAS BOULEVARD, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Florida (next to ORANGE Ave.), Michigan, Oregon, Utah, and Nevada. more
    Weslaco Tourist Information
  • Weslaco Chamber of Commerce: 1710 E. Pike Blvd. 956-968-2102
    Website: www.weslaco.com
  • Rio Grande Valley Tourist Information Center: US HWY 83 & FM 1015 Mon through Fri 8:30 to 5.
  • Weslaco's unique story has a book of its own.
    Authors:
    Karen Gerhardt and Blanca E. Tamez
    Order here >

    Book Hotel Here:
    Weslaco 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.
    Weslaco, Texas Area Towns:
    Harlingen
    McAllen
    Mercedes
    Roma
    Los Ebanos
    Book Hotel Here:
    Weslaco Hotels
    More Hotels
    More Texas Towns & Hotels:
    Texas Towns
    Texas Ghost Towns
    Texas Counties
    Texas
    Texas Hotels
    John Troesser
    Photos provided by Weslaco Museum and Hidalgo County Historical Museum.
    First published December, 2000
    Custom Search
    Weslaco Hotels
    Find Hotel Deals in Weslaco, Texas
    Book Here
    TEXAS ESCAPES CONTENTS
    HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | HOTELS | SEARCH SITE
    TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES

    Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
    TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | FORTS | MAPS

    Texas Attractions
    TEXAS FEATURES
    People | Ghosts | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Texas Centennial | Black History | Art | Music | Animals | Books | Food
    COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

    TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
    Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Rooms with a Past | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Stores | Banks | Drive-by Architecture | Signs | Ghost Signs | Old Neon | Murals | Then & Now
    Vintage Photos

    TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | USA | MEXICO

    Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
    Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes. All Rights Reserved