McNary, formerly called Nulo, is at the intersection of Interstate Highway 10 and State Highway 20, two miles from the Rio Grande and twenty-three miles west of Sierra Blanca in southwestern Hudspeth County. Nulo was settled in 1921, and the name was changed to McNary in September 1923, when it was made an agency station on the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway. The town was named for James G. McNary, a businessman, and was a cotton-shipping point for the Algodon Plantation. A cotton gin, a service-station garage, and a general store soon opened. A post office opened in 1926. In 1936 the estimated population of McNary was seventy-five. The water supply from Elephant Butte Dam and the Lower Rio Grande irrigation project made for rich farmland in the area. Crops besides cotton included alfalfa, grain feed, and cantaloupes. By 1948 the town had a factory, four other businesses, a number of scattered dwellings, and a population of 300. In 1961 McNary had only two businesses, the post office, and an estimated population of 250. Drought in later years hurt the town, and eventually the loading platform was torn down and the depot was moved to Sierra Blanca. The post office was closed in June 1979. Two businesses closed the next year, and the population was estimated to be less than fifty. In 1990 and 2000 the population was reported at 250.
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McNary by the Numbers
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