Pharr (population 46,660) was platted in 1909, one of the new towns that developed along the Rio Grande River as the introduction of mechanized irrigation revolutionized agriculture in the region. During the past three years, the city has put in place key components to promote the preservation and reuse of its historic assets, particularly its historic downtown.
In 2001, the city passed a preservation ordinance and initiated its Main Street program. Successful projects followed, including rehabilitation of the first Pharr School (1911) using "sweat equity" from half-way house volunteers living on-site, and commercial façade rehabilitations through the city's Façade Restoration Assistance Program. The first Pharr Fire Station (1928), originally slated for demolition, will also be rehabilitated.
The groundwork for future success is being laid through initiatives currently underway, including development of a preservation plan, design guidelines, and historic resources survey. To promote heritage tourism, Pharr is participating in the initiatives of the Los Caminos del Rio Heritage Corridor.
Designated a Preserve America Community in May 2004.