Candelaria is a ranching community at the end of Farm Road 170, across the Rio Grande from San Antonio El Bravo, Chihuahua, Mexico, and forty-two miles southwest of Marfa in western Presidio County. The Candelaria community was originally known as Gallina. The town lies in an area of rugged mountain terrain in the Chihuahuan Desert, where scrub, sotol, cacti, and sparse grasses grow. The post office at Candelaria was established in 1901. By 1910 the town reported a population of 543, a general merchandise store, a church, and a school. A cotton gin and flour mill were constructed there in 1913, after the introduction of cotton to the area. The United States Army built a cavalry outpost overlooking Candelaria shortly after the mobilization of National Guard troops along the border in May 1916. On August 19, 1919, troopers of the Eighth Cavalry crossed into Chihuahua at Candelaria on the last American punitive expedition into Mexico during the Mexican Revolution. The army outpost was closed after the cavalry withdrew from the upper Big Bend area in September 1919. After the army camp at Candelaria closed, the community's population began to decline: it fell to 250 in 1925 and to seventy-five by 1940. By 1985 Farm Road 170 to Candelaria had been completed, providing the first paved access to the remote community. In the late 1980s Candelaria comprised a two-room elementary school, a store, a Catholic church, and a cluster of adobe houses. The community had an estimated population of fifty-five in 1990 and in 2000.
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Candelaria by the Numbers
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