Ricardo, on U.S. Highway 77 six miles south of Kingsville in Kleberg County, began as a railroad siding on the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway. In 1908 Robert Kleberg, Sr., manager of the King Ranch, asked the railroad to build a depot at the site. The station was given the name Richard, which was later changed to the Spanish form, Ricardo. The land around Ricardo, part of 63,000 acres put up for sale by the King Ranch when the railroad was built, was all sold by 1917. Cotton was the main crop of the first settlers in the Ricardo area. Their major problem was getting their seed cotton to the nearest gin in Kingsville, six or eight miles away, over ungraded roads. Despite this difficulty the production of cotton grew rapidly, and by 1915 the size of the crop made it profitable for J. O. Newton to establish a gin in Ricardo. By 1931 15,000 acres of cotton was planted around Ricardo.
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Ricardo by the Numbers
|1,075||2020||United States Census Bureau|
|1,052||2019||United States Census Bureau|
|1,048||2010||United States Census Bureau|