Friona, on U.S. Highway 60 in northern Parmer County, was originally known as Frio when it was established in 1898 by the Capitol Freehold Land and Investment Company as a shipping station on the Pecos Valley and Northern Texas Railway. Although the name was undoubtedly derived from that of Frio Draw, which runs just south of town, legend relates that local inhabitants named the place for its winter weather (frio is Spanish for "cold"). In 1906 George C. Wright, a Kansas City real estate agent hired by the Capitol Syndicate to subdivide and sell some of the XIT Ranch, surveyed the townsite. The name was altered to Friona when the post office was established in March 1907, with Sarah D. Olson as postmistress. Wright built his company headquarters at Friona, sent out circulars, and hired excursion trains to bring in prospective buyers. By 1908 Friona had its first school, a community church, a bank, two grocery stores, a pharmacy, a photograph gallery, and the two-story Friona Hotel, owned by G. P. Owens. Blizzards in 1910–11 and 1918–19, along with droughts, discouraged farmers and interrupted growth. Nevertheless, Friona had a population of 200 by 1915. The town's first grain elevator was constructed in 1916, and S. A. Harris began a weekly newspaper, the Friona Sentinel; it became the Friona Star in 1925.
Friona at a Glance
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Friona by the Numbers
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|3,934||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|4,123||2010||Texas Demographic Center|
|3,854||2000||Texas Demographic Center|
|3,688||1990||Texas Demographic Center|
|3,809||1980||Texas Demographic Center|
|3,111||1970||Texas Demographic Center|
|2,048||1960||Texas Demographic Center|
|1,202||1950||Texas Demographic Center|
|803||1940||Texas Demographic Center|
|731||1930||Texas Demographic Center|