The City of Hidalgo (population 9110) is in Hidalgo County, in the McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr metro area. The community was named after a Mexican revolutionary leader and is located on lands settled by Spanish colonizers in 1749 and under Spanish rule until 1821. In 1848 the town was founded as a trading post and ferry landing across the Rio Grande from Reynosa, now in the Republic of Mexico.
The frontier community continued to grow as a trade center and steamboat landing, and became the fourth largest port of entry in the United States. Cattle grazing was the mainstay of the desert settlement for some 150 years. A pump house established on the banks of the Rio Grande in 1910 fed a canal system, irrigating thousands of acres which were cleared and sold for growing sugar cane, cotton, citrus and vegetables. The original pump house has now been preserved as an award-winning museum.
Hidalgo recently established the Hidalgo Viejo (Old Hidalgo) Historic District and participates in regional heritage tourism efforts including the Texas Tropical Heritage Trail and Los Caminos del Rio, a unique bi-national promotion of the historical/cultural area along the Texas/Mexico border.
When tourism was threatened by the appearance in Hidalgo of African “killer bees” (their first U.S. appearance) in the 1990s, the citizens took a lemon and made lemonade. They commissioned and proudly displayed a ten-foot tall statue of the feared bee, which has since been visited by no less than 100,000 tourists, locals, and journalists.
Designated a Preserve America Community in March 2006.
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