Pharr, TX History
Located in south central Hidalgo County, Pharr, Texas is a city with a rich, rural history that led to its success in the present day. It is considered a hub for Rio Grande Valley, since all travelers must pass through the city to reach where they are going. Originally, the land was part of a Spanish land grant given to Juan José Hinojosa; the Hinojosa family slowly sold off the land and remained as occupants there until 1882. From there, the land grew into a town, and the town grew into the city that stands there today.
The Namesake of Pharr, TX
In 1909, a Louisiana sugar-cane grower named Henry N. Pharr acquired 16,000 acres of the land that would soon become Pharr, TX. Henry and his partner, John Connally Kelly co-owned the land, which included two miles of land on the river, and eventually founded organizations that would lay the foundation for a town to grow. Henry was the founder of the Louisiana and Rio Grande Canal Company with the intention of creating an irrigation system that would support a sugar cane plantation. Meanwhile, John formed the Pharr Townsite Company, which would begin the planning and foundational work to create the town. John would later name the town Pharr after his partner.
Pharr, TX Finds a Purpose
As the small community began to grow into a town, more people began to flock to this new place. More people meant more establishments, and by 1911, the town had a fully functional bank, hotel and many small businesses. Henry’s dream of bringing the sugar cane industry to the Texas community fell through due to soil conditions, but John was able to put the irrigation system built for the sugar cane to a productive use. Vegetable and cotton farms replaced the would-be sugar cane industry, and with its new purpose, the town began to increase exponentially in size.
A City is Born
By 1915, the town had a population of 600 and a six-grade school was opened. The school was later named the Pharr Grammar School for Mexican Children. New residents continually moved to the area, and a community was built on the land that once only housed two organizations. A newspaper and theater were established. By 1920, the population had almost tripled. Enough schools were opened to create the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District. Pharr adopted its official government in 1949. By the 1960's, the population was up to 14,106 and clay manufacturing businesses, irrigation equipment developers, harvesting equipment developers and many other organizations had made their way to the Texas city. It had truly been transformed from a small plot of land to a lively, ever-expanding community.
Pharr, TX Today
Since the 1960's, the town of Pharr, TX has continued to grow economically and in its population. The town steadily grew larger through the 70's, 80's and 90's, and experienced a population boom during the 21st century. It was awarded the All-American City award in 2006, and now has a population of over 60,000 people. Over 1,200 businesses operate in the city, and it’s becoming an increasingly popular destination for travelers.