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TORNILLO, TEXAS

El Paso County, West Texas

State Highway 20
2 Miles S of I-10
About 35 Miles S of El Paso
2 Miles above the Mexican Border
Population: 1,609 (2000)

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History in a Pecan Shell

Named after a tree related to the Mesquite that was once harvested here for fuel in El Paso, the site was a planned development put together by El Paso businessmen in 1909.

The U.S. Government was planning to dam the Rio Grande and it seemed like a good time to irrigate what had been barren land.

A post office was applied for and granted in 1909. After the completion of the Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir in 1916, the valley lands of El Paso County were officially organized as the Rio Grande Irrigation Project. Although Tornillo was the last to be improved, it became the center of its region and in time, the cotton gin at Torniillo became the largest in the state, processing 90 percent of the cotton produced in the El Paso valley.

The community's population peaked at 280 in the early 1930s, dropping to just 100 in 1933 as the Great Depression took hold. But by 1935 it had risen back to 250 where it has more or less remained for decades

The area has (since 1970) branched out into growing pecans. The proximity to I-10 has had a negative effect on Tornillo's business district and many residents commute to work in El Paso, yet from the 1990 census count of 24, it has grown to 1,609 for the 2000 census.
El Paso County TX 1940s Map
El Paso County 1940s Map Showing Tornillo (near Hudspeth County line)
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
Tornillo, Texas
Area Destinations:
El Paso
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