United States / Pharr, TX

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Buell School. Constructed in 1927-28 to serve Mexican-American children in the Pharr-San Juan School District, this school replaced an earlier facility at this site. The new school was named in honor of educator Helen W. Buell (1861-1949), principal of the Pharr Mexican Ward School from 1924 to 1932. Designed by noted San Antonio architect Harvey Smith, the building's entry features modest classical revival detailing in its roof line scrollwork and bas-relief medallion over the entry. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1990 #558

218 E. Juarez, Pharr, TX, United States

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Pharr Volunteer Fire Department. In July 1916, the same year voters incorporated the city of Pharr, a large fire laid waste to an entire downtown city block. As a result of the blaze, the community lost Pharr Lumber Co., Pharr Mercantile Co., Folsum Hardware Co., National Theatre and several other businesses. During that same era, National Guard troops were stationed in the area to combat incursions from revolutionary forces in Mexico. When the troops left at the beginning of World War I, they left behind hose reels that the community adopted as its first fire equipment. Judge L.J. Polk, Sr. and D. "Chief" Simmons led local residents in loosely organizing a group of 10 to 12 volunteers, and they directed citizen efforts in fighting fires. During the winter of 1921, the Pharr Volunteer Fire Department officially formed with J.E. Rogers as chief. During the next 10 years, the number of volunteers grew and the department organized into three companies: engine, chemical and hose. In 1928, the city comissioned assistant fire chief O.C. Brown to build the first fire station; a room in the rear of the building briefly served as city jail. Two years later, the fire department received a state charter. In the 1980s, as population grew in the Pharr, San Juan and Alamo area, a control room in the station enabled volunteers to respond to tri-city fire alarms. Citizens worked to preserve the original fire station when it faced demolition in 2001, and the city later built new facilities for the fire department. (2006) #13233

114 W Cherokee, Pharr, TX, United States

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Jackson Ranch Church. This fellowship was founded in 1874 by the Rev. Alexander H. Sutherland (1848-1911), an early Methodist missionary, on Juan Manuel de La Vina's El Capote Ranch. In 1883 the congregation began meeting near this site on the Jackson Ranch when owner Martin Jackson donated the land. He later built a small chapel for their use. In 1910 most of the church members moved to the new city of McAllen, and only a few families continued to worship here. As one of the first Protestant congregations in Hidalgo County, this church has continued to serve area residents. (1983) #2706

?, Pharr, TX, United States

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Kiwanis Club of Pharr. This Mission style building was the first meeting place in the Kiwanis International organization owned by a local club. It was built in 1928, 13 years after the formation of the first Kiwanis club in Detroit, Michigan, and one year after the Pharr club was chartered. Designed to serve as a community center, it has been used for a variety of civic functions and meetings and has housed offices of the city Chamber of Commerce. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1981 #2961

302 W. Park, Pharr, TX, United States

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Guadalupe Cemetery. This cemetery, named for Mexico's Patron Saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe, was established in 1913 as a public burial ground for residents of the Pharr Community. The Pharr townsite was laid out in 1909, and though ranch graveyards existed south of here, there were unavailable to newcomers. The earliest interment here, of Roberto de Leal, an infant, dates to 1913. Other burials include civic leaders, area pioneers and military veterans. The burial ground features religious statuary, curbing and interior fencing. The city of Pharr is the caretaker of the cemetery, and in 2003 joined volunteers of the Texas Main Street Program for a project to improve the burial ground. Historic Texas Cemetery-2007 #14165

?, Pharr, TX, United States

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First Baptist Church of Pharr. This church was established by seven charter members in 1913. The Rev. A. J. Seale served as first pastor. Early worship services were held in a school building until 1916 when a sanctuary was built on land set aside by the Pharr Townsite Company. A Sunday School, youth organization, and Women's Missionary Society were organized. The congregation, which helped establish two local Hispanic churches, has added several facilities over the years. A new sanctuary was built here in 1994. First Baptist Church of Pharr continues to serve the area with a variety of outreach programs. (1995) #1663

?, Pharr, TX, United States

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City of Pharr. For many centuries, nomadic Coahuiltecans lived in the Lower Rio Grande area. In the 1500s, Spanish explorers came through the region, and the Spanish government began to colonize both sides of the river by the late 1700s. At the close of the U.S.-Mexico War in 1848, the Rio Grande was established as the official boundary. In 1909, John C. Kelly, Henry N. Pharr, W.E. Cage and R.C. Briggs formed the Pharr Townsite Company, platting and registering the new town. Kelly donated lots in the original plat for early churches, including the Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal and Presbyterian denominations. Pharr schools began in 1911, and the community later joined with San Juan and Alamo to create the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District. The city founders were also involved with the Louisiana-Rio Grande Canal Co., organized in 1910 to furnish irrigation and domestic water to 40,000 acres in the Pharr area by means of a Rio Grande pumping plant. The water system led the economy to shift from ranching to crop production, and the railroad, which came through the area in 1905, made it possible to ship produce around the country. The city of Pharr was incorporated in 1916. Given its location at the intersection of two major developing highways and the growth of commercial transportation, Pharr became known as the "Hub City of the Valley." Agricultural shipping and packing businesses were mainstays in the city economy. With the continued growth of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Pharr remains a vital business center, and an international bridge now provides an important commercial link to Mexico. (2004) #13003

118 S Cage Blvd, Pharr, TX, United States

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First Pharr School Erected in 1911 as a one-story structure, this building housed the first school in Pharr. John Bales, the contractor, built a number of the town's early structures. Classes were held here until 1915, when enrollment had grown from nine students to almost 80. During that time, the building also served as a community church. In 1915 Pharr and San Juan joined to construct a two-story school on the east edge of Pharr. This structure was used for many years as a residence. It was remodeled as a convalescent center in 1949. #1809

?, Pharr, TX, United States

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First Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School The common school district of Pharr and San Juan began construction of this school in 1915. First used for the 1916-17 school year, its enrollment was 143, with twelve teachers and a graduating class of nine. The name was changed in 1919 to Pharr-San Juan Independent School District. Although the town of Alamo was also founded that year and contributed students to the school, the Alamo name was not officially added until 1959. In 1961 this became Jefferson Junior High. It was named Memorial Junior High in 1979 in honor of all Pharr-San Juan-Alamo veterans. #1810

?, Pharr, TX, United States

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La Trinidad United Methodist Church of Pharr. #16792

101 East Warren Street, Pharr, TX, United States

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Old Pharr City Hall. This structure was completed in 1911 by the Pharr Townsite Company, operated by John C. Kelly (1862-1937), a co-founder of Pharr. It housed the first bank, the post office, a confectionary, a drugstore, and the first irrigation and canal company. The building became the first City Hall in 1916, when Pharr was incorporated. Due to a shortage of policemen during the depression, an electric light was placed on top of the building to alert officers to trouble. When the city government moved in 1951, the Old Pharr City Hall housed businesses and offices and was used for civic meetings. (1984) #3779

?, Pharr, TX, United States

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Louisiana-Rio Grande Canal Company. Wisconsin native John Closner established the first steam-powered irrigation system in the lower Rio Grande Valley in 1895. Closner successfully grew sugar cane and entered a sample for judging at the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904. The award-winning sugar cane and Closner's promotion of the lower Rio Grande convinced a number of financiers and agriculturists to invest in the region's irrigation and development possibilities. In 1909 H. N. Pharr, J. C. Kelly, John C. Conway, and A. W. Roth formed the Louisiana-Rio Grande (LRG) Canal Company to transform about 40,000 acres of arid land in Hidalgo County into productive farmland. To do this the company built two pumping stations to divert water from the Rio Grande through an elaborate irrigation system to a planned community of small farmsteads. The agricultural success of the LRG Canal Company, its successor the Hidalgo County Water Improvement District #2, and other similar operations in the region resulted in an influx of Anglo farmers and settlers from the midwestern U.S. into this mainly Hispanic region of Texas. The bountiful harvests propelled the Rio Grande Valley to the forefront of Texas agriculture by the mid-20th century and earned the region a reputation as the "winter garden" of Texas. (1995) Sesquicentennial of Texas Statehood 1845 - 1995 Sesquicentennial of Texas Statehood 1845-1995. #3140

?, Pharr, TX, United States