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Map of Kleberg County

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.

Dairying also became an important source of income for the farm families. Beginning in 1913 farmers bought Jersey cows and began selling milk and cream to the Dairy Products Company in Kingsville. The number of dairy cows increased in the 1920s, and by 1930 there was hardly a farm without a herd of high-grade dairy cows. The growing of vegetables developed slowly, but by 1930 several carloads of cabbage, beets, and onions were being produced annually. Farmers also earned money from the sale of eggs. In 1912 a general mercantile store was opened, and the following year a grocery and meat market was added. By 1920 Ricardo had around eight stores. Local businesses experienced a setback in the 1920s, when farmers acquired automobiles and began driving to Kingsville to shop.

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George O. Coalson | © TSHA

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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

Ricardo is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Ricardo is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [Richard]


Latitude: 27.42142750
Longitude: -97.85110880

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


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