Hidalgo is on the Rio Grande at the junction of State Highway 336 and U.S. Highway 281, five miles south of McAllen in southern Hidalgo County. The first settlers were members of the José de Escandón colony, who settled the area in 1749. At the time the community was known variously as La Habitación, as Rancho San Luis, and as San Luisito. In 1852 John Young, a native Scotsman, settled in the area and renamed the town Edinburgh. It became the county seat. A post office was established there in 1876, and in 1885 the office name was changed to Hidalgo. In 1908 the county seat was moved to Chapin, which was then renamed Edinburg. Texas Rangers and United States troops were quartered at Hidalgo as late as 1915. The population in Hidalgo was 250 by 1920. Around this time a flood and the changing course of the river forced residents to move the town's buildings inland. A ferry operated to Reynosa until an international toll suspension bridge was constructed in 1926. The community's population was reported as 630 in 1930 and as 675 in 1940. Hidalgo was incorporated by 1931, and by 1940 the original townsite had been inundated by the shifting waters of the Rio Grande. The community's population steadily increased, and by 1980 it was estimated at 1,627. The Mexican peso devaluations in 1976 and in the mid-1980s caused economic problems for the small port of entry; the continuing growth of neighboring McAllen, however, helped development in Hidalgo. In 1990 its population was estimated at 3,292. The population was 7,322 in 2000. Its local businesses were primarily brokerage houses.
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