Zavala County

Zavala County, Texas

Zavala County, Texas

The Zavala County Courthouse is located in Crystal City, the county seat. Photograph by Billy Hathorn.
Physical Features: Southwestern county near Mexican border; rolling plains broken by much brush; Nueces, Leona, other streams; Upper Nueces Reservoir. Economy: Agribusiness, food packaging, leading county in Winter Garden truck-farming area, government/services. History: Coahuiltecan area; Apaches, Comanches arrived later. Ranching developed in late 1860s. County created from Maverick, Uvalde counties 1858; organized 1884; named for Texas Revolutionary leader Lorenzo de Zavala. Race/Ethnicity: (In percent) Anglo, 6.4; Black, 1.2; Hispanic, 92.9; Asian, 0.1; Other, 1.7. Vital Statistics, annual: Births, 215; deaths, 90; marriages, 44; divorces, 0. Recreation: Hunting, shing; spinach festival in November. Minerals: Oil, natural gas. Agriculture: Cattle, grains, vegetables, cotton, pecans. About 30,000 acres irrigated. Market value $72.7 million. Hunting leases important. CRYSTAL CITY (7,454) county seat; agribusiness, food processing, oileld services; site of Japanese detention center. Home of Popeye statue. Other towns include: Batesville (1,115) and La Pryor (1,747).

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County Map of Texas

Zavala County

Highlighted:
  • Zavala County

Currently Exists

Yes

Place type

Zavala County is classified as a County

Pronunciations

  • zuh VoL uh

Altitude Range

540 ft – 956 ft

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Zavala County by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Zavala County
Pop. Year Source
11,840 2019 United States Census Bureau

Civilian Labor Counts

Zavala County
People Year Source
3,225 2019 Texas Workforce Commission

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Per Capita Income (USD) Year Source
$29,202 2019 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

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Property Values

Zavala County
USD ($) Year Source
2,531,093,184 2019 State Property Tax Board

Retail Sales

Zavala County
USD ($) Year Source
60,849,951 2019 State Comptroller of Public Accounts

Wages

Zavala County
USD ($) Year Source
26,211,501 2019 Texas Workforce Commission

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Unemployment Percentage Year Source
17.0 2019 Texas Workforce Commission

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Rainfall (inches) Year Source
19.6 2019 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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Min. (January Average, °F) Max. (July Average, °F) Year Source
43.6 97.2 2019 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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Land Area

Zavala County
Area (square miles) Year Source
1,297.4 2019 United States Census Bureau

Total Area

Zavala County
Area (square miles) Year Source
1,301.7 2019 United States Census Bureau
Handbook of Texas

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas , a digital state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records

Zavala County, in the Winter Garden Region of Southwest Texas, is 170 miles northwest of Corpus Christi. It borders Maverick, Uvalde, Frio, and Dimmit counties. Its center point is at 28°51' north latitude and 99°45' west longitude. Crystal City, the county seat, is in south central Zavala County on U.S. Highway 83. The rectangular county has an area of 1,298 square miles. The Nueces River drains the central and western region, and the Leona and Frio rivers drain the eastern. Comanche Lake, six miles west of Crystal City, is popular with sportsmen and is believed to be the site of the last Indian raid in Texas. The Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, which underlies much of Zavala County, provides water for irrigation and public and industrial uses. Zavala County is in the Rio Grande Plain region, a brushland with dry streams. Most of the county was once a grassland, with numerous perennial streams lined with trees. Changes in the local environment are believed to have been influenced by ranching and farming practices as well as the spread of mesquite and thorny shrubs from northeastern Mexico. The climate is continental, semiarid, and influenced by winds from the Gulf of Mexico; the average annual rainfall is 21.87 inches. Zavala County farmers can expect a growing season of 282 days, with the last freeze in late February and the first freeze in early December. Rainfall, often occurring in the form of thunderstorms in the spring and fall, is impounded in earth reservoirs to supply water for livestock and for irrigation of some crops. The climate is extremely favorable for the cultivation of winter vegetables. Temperatures in winter are generally mild; summers are hot and humid, with temperatures often above 100° F. The topography of the county consists of generally flat land and slightly undulating plains. Elevations range from 580 feet above sea level in the south to 964 feet in the north. The northern part of the county is surfaced by light-colored, well-drained soils, and the southeast and most of the southern section has deep to moderately deep light-colored loamy surfaces over clayey subsoils, with limestone within forty inches of the surface. Marsh life, both of flora and fauna, predominated in prehistoric times. Fauna reported in early historic times that no longer inhabit the region include buffalo, witnessed by the Bosque-Larios expedition in 1675 and by the expedition of Domingo Terán de los Ríos in 1691, and bear and antelope, noted by William Bollaert in northeastern Zavala County in the 1840s. Mesquite, black brush, retama, guayacan, and huisache dominate the vegetation; oak, elm, ash, hackberry, pecan, and persimmon trees grow beside the streams. The native fauna includes whitetail deer, javelinas, coyotes, rabbits, turkeys, quail, hawks and other birds, snakes, lizards, and tortoises. The proliferation of nutritious grasses, including the grama, buffalo, and mesquite species, form the basis for Zavala County's successful ranching industry.

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Ruben E. Ochoa | © Texas State Historical Association