The Hidalgo Pumphouse Brings Water to the Rio Grande Valley

Prior to 1909, the semi-arid Rio Grande Valley was dotted with cattle ranches, mostly owned by Tejanos, Mexicans who found themselves on the US side of the border at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848. Many of the Tejanos lost their land when droughts in the 1880s and 1890s forced them to sell to Anglo settlers. The railroad arrived in the Valley in 1904 bringing more settlers to buy up cheap land in the “Magic Valley.” A system of steam powered pumphouses constructed along the Rio Grande, including the Hidalgo Pumphouse (also known as the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse) in 1909, transformed the Valley into rich farmland. Hidalgo Pumphouse Museum and World Birding Center In 1993, the Hidalgo County Irrigation District #2 donated the…

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Bloodless Bullfights will Continue in La Gloria, Texas

bull in arena with text overlay: Bloodless Bullfights, Santa Maria Bullring, La Gloria, Texas

Bullfighting is one of the best-known, and also most controversial, traditions of the Spanish culture. Supporters claim the bulls live a better, longer life than other cattle. They see it as art, much like ballet. As bullfighting aficionado Ernest Hemingway famously said in Death in the Afternoon (1932), “Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death.” Critics claim it is nothing more than torture. I have to admit, I attended a bullfight in Mazatlan in the 70s and would never go again. From the stands, it didn’t seem as “real” as I now know it is. When I learned about the bloodless bullfights in La Gloria, Texas, I was curious to see how they are different. A Very Brief…

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Living History Lessons at the Museum of South Texas History

large cracked bell with text overlay: Pioneer & Ranching Crafts Day Museum of South Texas History

Even though south Texas has subtropical weather, that doesn’t always mean sunny, blue skies. Such was the case last week when the event I had scheduled for Saturday’s post was essentially rained out.* Fortunately, I had planned to attend the Pioneer and Ranching Crafts Day at Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg on Saturday. In contrast to last week’s weather, it was a near perfect day. I burned the midnight oil to get that story ready to publish on Sunday morning. *Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter below to get all the behind-the-scenes scoops. Museum of South Texas History The Museum of South Texas History totally surprised and impressed me. It is quite large and gorgeous and I think it is my favorite…

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Discover the Agricultural Side of the Rio Grande Valley on a Farm Tour

green foliage with yellow flowers and text overlay: Discover the agricultural side of the Rio Grande Valley Farm Tour

It surprised me a little bit to learn that the Rio Grande Valley is one of the richest farming areas of Texas. I guess it shouldn’t have because I am literally surrounded by farms. The field next door, during the growing season, has either corn or cabbage planted. Sugar cane is grown down the road and cotton around the corner. The cotton gin is across the street and the sugar cane factory is only about 10 miles away. Although I moved to California from Missouri as a young child, I was born on a farm and I think it is just in my blood. I wanted to know more but I didn’t know where to start. Then I discovered that a couple of local tour…

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Tiny La Lomita Chapel Played an Important Role in the Valley

rustic white chapel with text overlay: La Lomita Chapel La Lomita Historic District

One of the things I love about travel blogging is that it “forces” me to learn so much more about a location or attraction than I otherwise might. That’s the case with La Lomita Chapel in Mission, Texas. I knew it was near the Riverside Dreamer so I wanted to stop by before I left the area. I read some quick reviews on TripAdvisor but, unfortunately, I didn’t delve into the history beforehand. It’s one thing to look at a building and say, “That’s a cool old structure.” But that cool old structure takes on new meaning when you learn about its place in history. A Brief History of La Lomita Chapel and Mission The Earliest Days The La Lomita Chapel is located on property…

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