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    MERCEDES, TEXAS

    Hidalgo County, South Texas
    Highway 83
    25 Miles E of McAllen

    Population: 13,649 (2000)

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    Mercedes Hotels

    History in a Pecan Shell

    First settled by Spanish ranchers in the late 1770s, the land was granted in 1789 to Juan José Ynojosa de Ballí. It was later acquired by Ramón and Manuel Cavazos, who founded the Anacuitas ranch in 1850. The land continued to be owned by the Cavazos family until developer Lon C. Hill, Jr. appeared around 1900. Hill bought 45,000 acres that extended sixteen miles from the Rio Grande, including property that would become Mercedes.

    Hill constructed the Estarito Canal and in 1904 he developed a town (one mile east of present-day Mercedes). Hill modestly renamed the town Lonsboro and after developing it, sold it to new owners who renamed it Diaz (perhaps after the Mexican head of state Porfirio Diaz). The community underwent several more changes of name until Mercedes was (mercifully) agreed upon. Some sources say that Mercedes was the wife of Porfirio Díaz, but no documentation backs up the claim.

    In July of 1904, Mercedes became a stop on the Sam Fordyce spur of the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railroad.

    Northern settlers were brought down by an aggressive promotional campaign. After 1907 large-scale citrus fruits and vegetable crops were introduced. Around that time the town had a enviable population of 1,000 residents.

    The Rio Grande flooded in 1908 and Mercedes was one of the towns hardest hit. The population reached 2,000 by 1915.

    Border incursions and unrest caused by the Mexican Revolution required a military presence on the border and Camp Mercedes and Camp Llano Grande were laid out – just outside the Mercedes city limits. The two camps had a combined population of 15,000 soldiers, dwarfing the town. By 1925 the population had increased to 3,414 in 1925.

    The 1940 population grew to 7,600, bolstered by an oil discovery in 1935. In 1952 the B&P Bridge Company was formed by local businessmen and a contract was signed for a new international bridge. Construction was begun in the fall of 1952 and the bridge was completed in one year.

    Mercedes’ population reached 10,065 in 1952, increasing to 10,943 by the early 1960s. The 1980 census reported 10,354 residents, growing to 12,694 for 1990.

    Green Parrots
  • Green Parrots by Ken Rudine
    Mercedes is where we see the most parrots. Groups often roost there in or near the same place... more
  • Mercedes, Texas Images

    Mercedes TX Arroyo Colorado view from 491 Bridge
    Arroyo Colorado viewed from 491 bridge S of Mercedes city limits sign.
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, April 2008
    See Texas Rivers
    First bale of cotton in US ginned at Mercedes TX
    First bale of cotton in U.S. Ginned at Mercedes, Texas
    Postcard ca1910s courtesy Will Beauchamp
    Mercedes TX - Mercedes Ginning Co
    Mercedes Ginning Co
    Postcard circa 1910 courtesy Will Beauchamp
    More Texas Cotton & Cotton Gins
    Mision Luterana Emanuel ,  Mercedes Texas
    Mision Luterana Emanuel in Mercedes
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
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    Mercedes City Hall & Fire Station, Mercedes Texas
    Mercedes City Hall & Fire Station
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
    Mercedes City Hall plaqueTexas
    Mercedes City Hall Historical Marker
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
    Mercedes Texas mural
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
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    Mercedes Texas mural
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
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    Brain Freeze
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
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    Mercedes Texas gas station
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2008
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    Mercedes Texas water tower
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, March 2008
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    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic photos of their town, please contact us.
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