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Zapata County TX
Zapata County

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LOPEÑO, TEXAS

Zapata County, South Texas

26°42'36"N 99°6'34"W (26.709987, -99.109457)
Highway 83
20 miles SE of Zapata the county seat
69 miles SE of Laredo
20 miles NW of Roma
65 miles NW of McAllan
Population: 174 (2010) 140 (2000)

Book Hotel Here › Zapata Hotels
Church in Lopeno Texas
The Lopeño Church
TE photo
History in a Pecan Shell

There had been an "Old" Lopeño that was covered by water when the Falcon Dam was built in the early 1950s. Five other small communities - Falcon, San Pedro, San José, Santa Fé and El Tigre - were also covered by the reservoir.

The towns dated back to 1749 when the settlers were brought to the area by Col. José de Escandón.

The government had offered to move the towns to Zapata, but the locals wanted to be near the land they had been on for generations. After four days of rain in August 1953 - 450 families of Lopeño and Falcon were hurriedly evacuated from the flooded communities.

The land had been given as a grant by the king of Spain in July of 1767. Part of this grant came to be owned by the Ramírez family, who founded Falcon.

In 1821 at the Lopeño crossing of the river - Benito Ramírez constructed a home/fort, later known as Ft. Lopeño.

During the Cortina War, Company K, of the 5th Infantry regiment, occupied "Camp Lopeño" for twelve days in 1856, before returning to Ringgold Barracks in Rio Grande City.

In 1934, the first producing well in the Lopeño gas field was brought in. Many are still producing today.

A gas pipeline carried the gas to Monterrey, Neuvo León.

When Old Lopeño was about to be moved, the International Boundary and Water Commission announced that all communities would have to move their cemeteries to a single location but the people insisted on separate cemeteries.

Historical Marker on US 83

OLD LOPEÑO

Development of this area began about 1749 when Col. Jose de Escandon began bringing colonists to establish permanent settlements along Mexico's northern frontier. When parcels of land were granted to the colonists by the Spanish government in 1767, Ysabel Maria Sanchez, widow of early settler and rancher Joseph Lopez, was allotted more than 6,000 acres. The village of Lopeno that later developed on part of the land was named in honor of the Lopez family.

During the early 1800s, part of the Lopez land passed to the ownership of the Ramirez family, founders of the nearby village of Falcon. In 1821 Benito Ramirez built a combination home, fort, and chapel that later came to be called Fort Lopeno. Federal troops briefly occupied the fort during 1856 while in the area helping to ease border disturbances.

The general store established in Lopeno in the early 1900s by Serafin Benavides served as the area's only supply point at the time. A post office was established in 1920, and in 1934 oil and gas wells were successfully drilled just outside the village.

When Falcon Reservoir was created in 1952, residents relocated their village to this site.
(1984)
TX Zapata County 1920s Map
1920s Zapata County map showing Lopeño and Falcon
near Starr County line
From 1920 Texas state map
#10749

Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Take a road trip

Lopeño, Texas Nearby Towns:
Zapata the county seat
Laredo | Roma | McAllan
See Zapata County | South Texas

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Zapata Hotels | More Hotels
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