San Diego

San Diego, Texas

San Diego, Texas

Train at San Diego, Texas, Historical photograph 1914. Photograph is a primary source, located at UNT's The Portal of Texas History:
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Promotion: Nearby Map of Duval County
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Map of Jim Wells County

San Diego, the county seat of Duval County, is on San Diego Creek and the Texas-Mexican Railway at the intersection of State highways 44 and 359 and Farm Road 1329, sixteen miles northeast of Benavides, twenty-four miles southeast of Freer, and fifty-two miles west of Corpus Christi on the county line between eastern Duval and western Jim Wells counties. The San Diego Cemetery lies northeast of town. Long before the town itself existed, its site was known to transients. In the eighteenth century travelers between Goliad and Mier used the springs that help feed San Diego Creek and now lie within the city limits as a watering hole. Around 1800 San Diego de Arriba and San Diego de Abajo, two grants totaling eight leagues of land, were granted by the Spanish government to Julián Flores and his son Ventura. The grants were surveyed in 1806 by José Faustino Contreras, the surveyor general of San Luis Potosí. Julián and Ventura Flores arrived in 1809 and received their deed in 1812. The first settlers may have been Julián Flores's herdsmen, who had settled on his ranch there by 1815; four years later the Flores family authorized an agent to found a town "at the place called San Diego." In 1828 Luis Muñiz became the first recorded birth in Duval County; he lived until the mid-1840s. By 1844 a visiting surveyor placed "some twenty-five families" there, and in 1846 Gen. Zachary Taylor and his troops reportedly camped there on their way to occupy Port Isabel, but not until 1848, when Henry L. Kinney and William L. Cazneau cut a road from Corpus Christi to Laredo that passed through the area, was the settlement named. In that year Ventura Flores sold some land along the north bank of San Diego Creek to Pablo Pérez, who built some stone houses and brought some families to live there. The resulting community was known as Perezville.

Some sources report that Perezville was renamed San Diego in 1852, when the town's first post office was established in the Casa Blanca, a blockhouse built of handcut caliche on the west bank of San Diego Creek. During the Civil War the building was reportedly used by Confederate troops under Nathan Bedford Forrest, and it was later reincarnated as a general store, a Prohibition era speakeasy, and a private home. The Casa Blanca Bar was still in operation in 1988. Other sources date the first post office from 1867, with George B. Warden as postmaster. At any rate the community remained virtually completely Mexican American until the latter year, when a boom in the sheep industry began attracting several White settlers, who later rose to local prominence. Among them were James O. Luby, Walter W. Meek, Sr., Norman G. Collins, Capt. E. N. Gray, Frank C. Gravis, Frank W. Shaeffer, and William Hubberd. One other event of lasting significance for the town occurred in 1867: Father Claude Jaillet built a ten-by-thirty-foot wooden church, which became the only public place of worship between Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande.

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Martin Donell Kohout | © 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

San Diego is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

San Diego is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Perezville)


Latitude: 27.76009920
Longitude: -98.23926600

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


San Diego by the Numbers

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Population Counts

San Diego
Pop. Year Source
3,748 2020 United States Census Bureau
4,279 2019 Texas Demographic Center
4,488 2010 United States Census Bureau
4,753 2000 United States Census Bureau
4,983 1990 United States Census Bureau
5,225 1980 United States Census Bureau
4,490 1970 United States Census Bureau
4,351 1960 United States Census Bureau
4,397 1950 United States Census Bureau
2,674 1940 United States Census Bureau