Lon Hill's Town

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Map of Cameron County

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.

World War II military installations in Harlingen caused a jump in population from 23,000 in 1950 to 41,000 by 1960. Harlingen Army Air Field preceded Harlingen Air Force Base, which closed in 1962. The city's population fell to 33,603 by 1972, then climbed to 40,824 by 1980. Local enterprise, focused on the purchase and utilization of the abandoned base and related housing, laid the groundwork for continuing progress through a diversified economy. The estimated population in July 1985 was 49,000, of which about 80 percent was Hispanic. In the late 1980s income from tourism ranked second only to citrus fruit production, with grain and cotton next in order. The addition of wholesale and retail trade, light and medium manufacturing, and an array of service industries has broadened the economic base. Large-scale construction for multifaceted retirement communities is a new phase of industrial development.

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Minnie Gilbert | © TSHA

Handbook of Texas Logo

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

Belongs to

Lon Hill's Town is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists

No

Place type

Lon Hill's Town is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Harlingen)

Has Post Office

No

Is Incorporated

No