Starr County Historical

Starr County Historical & Geographical Information

Starr County is the westernmost of the four Rio Grande Valley counties and, as with Cameron and Hidalgo, the Rio Grande forms its southern border and the international boundary between the United States and Mexico. Its western boundary is formed by huge Falcon Lake and Zapata County. It adjoins Hidalgo County on the east, with Jim Hogg and Brooks Counties to the north.

Located on the Rio Grande Plain, almost 90 percent of its surface is upland and rolling, with a small delta strip along the river. The county comprises of  1,214 square miles or 776,960 acres.

The county seat is Rio Grande City, with Roma-Las Saenz the next largest town. In 1990 the county's population was 40,518.

Starr county was created out of Nueces County by an act that was passed on February 10, 1848. It was named after Dr. James Harper Starr of the Republic of Texas. Starr also served as Postmaster General for the Confederacy. Rio Grande City, formerly known as Davis' Landing was designated the County Seat.

Much of Starr County was originally surveyed by Spanish engineers in 1767 and divided into grants called porciones. Consequently, the county is not sectionalized but has the survey lines of the original Spanish grants. It was one of three counties created in the lower valley of the Rio Grande immediately after the end of the Mexican War in 1848. Fort Ringold at Rio Grande City was established in 1848.

In 1929 the first oil well began producing, and since that time several hundred wells have been drilled and several oil and gas fields have been discovered. Throughout the history of the county, livestock has been the stable means of livelihood for most of the people. Much of the county is used for range, with some 80,000 acres planted to crops, of which about 30,000 acres are irrigated. Starr County farms are widely known for their fine cantaloupes and watermelons, and a fertile strip near the river produces high quality vegetables. Some cotton and grain are grown.

Starr County is served by three international bridges to Mexico--at Rio Grande City, Roma, and across long Falcon Dam. Falcon Lake on the border and Sugar Lake nearby in Mexico are favorite spots for fishing enthusiasts, especially known for their largemouth bass, crappie and catfish.

Both Rio Grande City and Roma have many historic sites and buildings. Among these is the restored La Borde House in Rio Grande City, long known as the Hotel Ringgold. Roma's old Spanish style plaza has been transformed into a park-like center with a walkway overlooking the Rio Grande.

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New Photos of Ft. Ringgold and Rio Grande City

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This page was last updated on -01/01/2013

Compilation Copyright 2004-Present

 by Linda Blum-Barton