Harlingen's strategic location at the intersection of U.S. highways 77 and 83 in northwestern Cameron County fostered its development as a distribution, shipping, and industrial center. In 1904 Lon C. Hill envisioned the Arroyo Colorado as a commercial waterway. He named the town he founded on the north bank after a city in Holland. The town's post office was established that year. The first school opened with fifteen pupils in 1905 near the Hill home, the first residence built in Harlingen. Harlingen was incorporated on April 15, 1910, when the population totaled 1,126. In 1920 the census listed 1,748. The local economy at first was almost entirely agricultural. Major crops were vegetables and cotton.

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

Belongs to

Harlingen is part of or belongs to the following places.

Adopt a Town

The Texas Almanac's Land Rush program lets you adopt the town, county, or lake of your choice and share your message with the world. 100% of the proceeds benefit education in Texas.

Great Texas Land Rush logo
Adoption Status: ⭐
This place has been adopted and will not be available until September 5, 2023
Adopted by:
Liza M. Saldana
Dedication Message:
In honor of my Saldana family. Especially to my 3rd Great Grandfather Francisco Saldana making a home in this city, before it was a city, for our families at La Providencia Ranch, in May 26, 1873.

Currently Exists


Place type

Harlingen is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Lon Hill's Town)
  • (Six-Shooter Junction)


  • Latitude

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Proud to call Texas home?

Put your name on the town, county, or lake of your choice.

Search Places »

Harlingen by the Numbers

This is some placeholder text that we should either remove or replace with a brief summary about this particular metric. For example, "We update population counts once per year..."

Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
71,829 2020 United States Census Bureau
68,328 2019 Texas Demographic Center
64,849 2010 United States Census Bureau
57,564 2000 United States Census Bureau
48,746 1990 United States Census Bureau
43,543 1980 United States Census Bureau
33,503 1970 United States Census Bureau
41,207 1960 United States Census Bureau
23,229 1950 United States Census Bureau
13,306 1940 United States Census Bureau
12,124 1930 United States Census Bureau
1,784 1920 United States Census Bureau