photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
born of the railroad,
Harlingen was named after a Dutch town with a very good system of
canals. At the time of its founding (1910), founder Lon C. Hill
considered commerce to be a new town's lifeblood. Tourism per se
was unknown except for the Holyland and Mecca.
Although today the highways have replaced the planned canal system,
the beautiful Arroyo Colorado is still a town attraction,
if only for the migratory birds (the first Winter Texans). We hope
the city will keep the old Iron Bridge over the Arroyo.
asset is space. Streets are wide and driving is easier on visitors
who must slow down while looking for certain attractions. Even so,
the city through its Historic Society has arranged to put many of
the towns earliest buildings in one place.
The Rio Grande Valley Museum and Hospital Museum is at
Boxwood and Raintree Streets. For a city map, go by the Chamber
of Commerce at 311 Tyler Street. Harlingen is also a site for
a Texas Travel Information Center. Here one can pick up brochures
for all Valley destinations including Harlingen. Then you'll know
where to find the Chamber. This center is announced in advance on
Hwy 77 and is at the Intersection of US 83 and 77.
Six Flags of Texas
Photo courtesy Ken
Rudine, March 2008
has a lot of good places to eat, and finding
a good hotel is easy. Everyone in the Valley is aware of the tropical
vegetation, and Harlingen businesses believe in showing it off,
whether it's a hotel patio or the landscaping of a fast food restaurant.
Many restaurants are family owned and not just by the current generation.
In addition to above average service, many feature specialties you
can't get anywhere else. There are several extremely scenic neighborhoods,
and we usually don't recommend sightseeing in residential areas. We
don't recommend them for the houses, but once again for the vegetation.
We noticed the benches at a downtown park were reminiscent
of the ones in Mexico.
Closer examination showed that they were from Mexico and had the City
Crest included in the design. Someone went to some trouble and we've
tried to find out where, who, and how. Whoever you are, we appreciate
your efforts. It's a subtle detail that a lot of towns
in Texas would enjoy having.
Harlingen makes an excellent "base camp" for explorations around the
Eastern Valley. As you travel further west, to examine the charms
of Rio Grande
City and Roma,
you might consider avoiding a long drive back, but it's very tempting
to stay in Harlingen.
1918-1920 photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
(City Hall, Commerce Street and Tyler Street, Harlingen)
Platted 1904; incorporated
1910. Named for town in Holland, by founder Lon C. Hill, Sr. (1862-1935),
promoter of railroad and early business enterprises. Here were organized
the first irrigation district and first navigation district in Rio
Grande Valley. Center for finance, wholesale business, commerce and
medical services. Site of Harlingen State Tuberculosis Hospital, Rio
Grande State Center for Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Valley
Baptist Hospital. Home of Marine Military Academy, "Confederate Air
Force" Museum and the lower valley historical museum.
Queen - This is a very nice tour (four times daily) Thursday
through Sunday. Reservations are required. Do not confuse this tour
with the well known Mexican crossdressing actor Anthony Queen.
National Wildlife Refuge - FM 106-25 miles East of Harlingen
you'll find this 45,000 acre sanctuary. Best times are early or
late in the day. Year round there's something to be remembered for
beside the previously mentioned Rio Grande Valley Museum
and Hospital Museum include the Port Isabel Historical
Hotels > Book Here
Iwo Jima Memorial Statue
near the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen
Gibson, June 2014
Cemetery Historical Marker
1501 South F Street
More Texas Cemeteries
The Harlingen Cemetery
came into legal existence in 1912. In that year, Lon C. Hill (1862-1935),
founder of the city of Harlingen and president of the Harlingen land
and water company, sold 7.6 acres of land at this site for one dollar
to trustees of the Harlingen Cemetery. Burials, however, had taken
place here since the death of Robert Keen Weems (1893-1909), a teenager
who had come to this area in a freight car from Houston.
Although weems was the first to be buried at the graveyard, others
who had died earlier, such as George Dorough (1868-1904), were reinterred
This cemetery originally was divided into sections for babies, blacks,
Anglos and Hispanics. These divisions have not been utilized since
the cemetery was deeded to the city of Harlingen in 1947, but tombstone
designs and grave decorations still reflect diverse cultural influences.
Leaders of the community that have been buried here include James
Lockhart (d. 1947), the town's first postmaster; Horace Johnson (d.
1928), a Cameron
County deputy sheriff; and David L. Hinojosa (d. 1932), a Texas
The cemetery serves as a reminder of the surrounding community's rich
Fleeting Fame and Lasting Legacy of Bobby Morrow by Clay Coppedge
"By the time he died on May 30 of this year  in Harlingen
at age 84, few knew who he was and what he did in 1956. He was a
forgotten hero. In the end, he seems to have preferred it that way.
"He was elected to the Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1975
and the Texas Track and Field Coaching Hall of Fame in 2016."
Take Hwy 77
South 26 miles to Brownsville
and cross over to Matamoros.
Or, take Hwy
83 West 30 miles to McAllen,
another 45 miles will take you to Roma,
Grande City and the ferry at Los
Chamber of Commerce
311 East Tyler, Harlingen, Texas 78550
956-423-5440 or 1-800-531-7346
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact