|City of Donna|
Location of Donna, Texas
|Country||United States of America|
|• Total||5.1 sq mi (13.1 km2)|
|• Land||5.0 sq mi (13.1 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||92 ft (28 m)|
|• Density||2,929.5/sq mi (1,131.1/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1334485|
- 1 History
- 2 T. J. Hooks
- 3 Home of the Texas State Football Champions - Conference AA
- 4 Business
- 5 Motto
- 6 Geography
- 7 Demographics
- 8 Government and infrastructure
- 9 Education
- 10 Recreation
- 11 Media and Journalism
- 12 References
- 13 External links
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2010)|
Donna is named for Donna Hooks, daughter of T. J. Hooks who, beginning in 1900, did significant land development work in the then frontier world of the Rio Grande Valley.
The region was originally part of the La Blanca Land Grant that was made to Lino Cabazos on May 18, 1834. The first Anglo-American Settler was John F. Webber who, in 1839, moved to escape persecution of his marriage to Sylvia Hector, a former slave.
In 1902, Thomas Jefferson Hooks formed the LaBlanca Agricultural Company, which purchased 23,000 acres (93 km2) (93 km²) in Hidalgo County. Part of this purchase was given to his daughter, Donna Hooks Fletcher, a divorcee. In 1904, The St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico Railway reached the area, and a town was formed that July. In 1907, the town was given a depot station that was named Donna in Hooks' honor.
Donna is off Interstate 2/U.S. Highway 83 and State Spur 374, fourteen miles (21 km) southeast of McAllen in southeastern Hidalgo County. It is in territory that was granted to Lino Cabazos as part of the La Blanca land grant on May 19, 1834, by the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The Cabazos family inhabited the area for at least twenty years after taking possession of the land, and their descendants continued to live in the area into the twentieth century. The first known Anglo-American settler was John F. Webber, who, accompanied by his wife Sylvia (Hector), a former slave, settled in the area in 1839. The Webbers moved to the area in order to escape persecution for their interracial marriage.
Several families from northern states, including the Ruthven, Champion, and Hooks families, settled the area. Thomas Jefferson Hooks arrived in the Lower Rio Grande valley in 1900 and the following year moved his family to Run in southeastern Hidalgo County. In May 1902 he helped to form the La Blanca Agricultural Company, which purchased 23,000 acres (93 km2) fronting the river two miles (3 km) east and two miles (3 km) west of the site of present Donna and extending north eighteen miles (29 km). He gave part of his purchase to his twenty-one-year-old daughter, Donna Hooks Fletcher, a divorcée.
She settled in the area and established the Alameda (Grove) Ranch. Fletcher stocked the ranch with Jersey cattle purchased from the Lassater Ranch in Falfurrias and ran a successful butter business. The Hidalgo and San Miguel Extension (later called the Sam Fordyce Branch) of the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway reached the site in July 1904, when the town was founded. In 1907 the town received a depot and was named Donna in honor of Donna Fletcher, who was postmistress when the Donna post office opened in 1908.
That year the first store in west Donna was established by Ed Ruthven, and the community was recognized as the Texas station that shipped the most produce in a year. A 500-ton-capacity sugar mill was built in Donna that year. The Donna Developer was first printed on December 1, 1910, in Chapin. That year the Community Church was constructed and shared by the town's Protestant groups. The First Presbyterian Church was founded on July 10, and the First Baptist Church was organized on July 24, 1910. The telephone exchange was installed in 1911. Donna incorporated on April 13, 1911. By 1912 the town was divided into Donna and East Donna. East Donna, the Mexican side of town, had a post office named Beatriz, after Beatriz Hooks, from 1912 to 1916. Saint Joseph Catholic Church and a school for Mexican children were located there.
The first teacher in Donna was Ponciano Guerra of Mier, Tamaulipas, hired in 1911 by Severiano Avila, Apolonio Ballí, and Ventura Benitez to instruct their children. In 1913 the first graduating class of four graduated from Donna High School. At that time the Donna school district encompassed all of Weslaco and reached to the Mercedes corporate boundary. A store was moved from Run to Donna in 1914 by Andrew Champion. In 1915 Donna had a population of 1,500, a bank, a hotel, four churches, two cotton gins, the sugar mill, and a weekly newspaper named the Donna Dispatch, published by B. L. Brooks. In 1916 the Donna Light and Power Company was incorporated by A. F. Hester, Sr., T. J. Hooks, Dr. J. B. Roberts, and twenty stockholders. The American Legion Hall, Donna Border Post No. 107, was dedicated in 1920. Donna had an estimated population of 1,579 in 1925. By 1936 it had a population of 4,103, a railroad stop, multiple dwellings, and 110 businesses.
The citizens of Donna first started using the motto "The City with a Heart in the Heart of the Rio Grande Valley" to promote the city in the 1940s. By 1945 the town had a population of 4,712 and seventy-eight businesses and continued to be a citrus and vegetable growing center. In 1953 Donna had three gins, three wholesale groceries, hardware and farm implements dealers, a wholesale distributor for feed mills, and the Donna News. The election of 1954 drew attention to Donna when Bob Jefferys, a newspaperman, requested that a special contingent of Texas Rangersqv be sent to the city by Governor Allan Shivers. He alleged that the election campaign was becoming violent because political bosses were physically threatening voters. The American Legion Hall was designated a historical landmark in 1964. In 1967 Donna reported 110 businesses (including eight manufacturers), ten churches, a bank, a library, and a newspaper.
From 1920 through the mid-1960s Donna had segregated schools. A third school for migrant students was in operation through the 1970s. The justification for its operation was that migrant children needed more attention because of their parents' work. It was opened to children in the third to eighth grade and had a separate campus. Donna had a population of 8,982 and 122 businesses in 1978. After the 1970s the economy in Donna continued to be based on fruits, vegetables, and the tourist trade. In 2000 Donna had a population of 14,768 and 369 businesses. There are five colonias immediately south of the Donna city limits off Farm-to-Market Road 493. Colonia Nueva is on Farm-to-Market Road 493 two miles (3 km) south of Donna; Colonia Algeria is on River Road and Eleventh Street next to the city dump; Colonia Tierra Prieta is on the east side of Farm-to-Market Road 493; Colonia Salinas is south of Donna; and South Donna is a subdivision. Water is provided to the colonias by Colonia Nueva Water Distribution System, a privately owned enterprise that purchases water from the city of Donna and resells it to 400 colonia domiciles. Tierra Prieta also receives water from North Alamo Water Supply Corporation; it had an estimated population of 180 in 1986.
T. J. Hooks
Spurred by the arrival of the railroad a small town had sprung up on a site between McAllen and Weslaco. One of the town sites charter members, Mr. T. J. Hooks, had put all of his resources and energies in making the town self-sufficient. His efforts were not lost on the town folks and at a secret meeting it was decided to show their appreciation with a special gesture. A party was arranged in honor of T. J. Hooks. His daughter Donna, living in Beaumont, was invited to attend. When Mr. Hooks arrived at the little railroad station to pick up his daughter he was amazed to see a sign hung at the side of the rails, reading "Welcome to the town of Donna". The few surviving attendees of this time still swear that they saw tears in the eyes of T. J. Hooks.. Donna Hooks Fletcher was equally surprised and in the coming years she played a prominent part in the towns development.
Today Donna is a favourite spot in the tourism industry and home to thousands of retirees from all over the United States and Canada
Home of the Texas State Football Champions - Conference AA
The story of the 1961 Donna High School Redskins, the only team from the Rio Grande Valley ever to claim a state football championship.
Head Coach: Earl Scott and Assistant Coaches: Bennie La Prade, Verle Cray, Don Cummings; Trainer, Larry Lohr.
|Raul "Chief" de la Garza|
|Fabian "Outlaw" Barrera||DE|
The Donna High School Redskins, and in particular the team's Mexican American players (10 of the 18 were of Mexican descent), battled such perceptions of inadequacy as they took the field in December 1961 against the Quanah High School Indians in a contest for the Class AA state football title.
For the 1960 season Donna administrators hired Earl Scott, who had a proven record of succeeding with border area teams, in hope of winning their long-sought-after district championship. The coach's credentials were impressive as, starting in 1955, he had guided the Eagle Pass (Maverick County) Eagles to a record of seven wins, two losses, and one tie (with a team that was 90 percent Mexican American) before moving on to Laredo (Webb County) in 1956. Prior to his arrival, Laredo school board members actually considered dropping football because, Scott asserts, many of them believed that the town's "kids could not compete in the league."
The Donna Redskins, the unlikely powerhouse from the Rio Grande Valley, marched into (and through) the tournament, defeating Refugio (32 to 0), Devine (12 to 7), Sweeny (32 to 14), and Brady (16 to 14) to reach the state title game with Quanah. In all five contests, they were considered the underdogs and were also the visiting team, which increased the difficulty of success. An examination of the Texas Class AA team polls from the 1961 campaign reveals that Donna never ranked in the top ten of the classification, while for the majority of the season, Sweeny, Brady, and Quanah were all ranked in the top five.
Donna's season had a happy ending, however, although the title game did not start off very well. Donna received the opening kickoff and quickly had to give up possession of the ball and put to Quanah. The Indians marched down the field and scored to take a 7 to 0 lead after only five minutes of play. The scrappy Valley team responded with a drive of its own, although its offense lost possession of the ball near their opponents' goal line. The Redskins' defense then made a gallant stand, lead by Raul ("Chief") de la Garza and Fabian ("Outlaw") Barrera, who combined to sack the opposing quarterback, forcing Quanah to surrender the football. An appalling punt left the Redskins on the Indian's twenty-yard line, from where they quickly drove their offense across the goal line to make the tally 7 to 6 (Donna failed on a two-point conversion attempt). The powerful Indian offense was unable to gain ground on their ensuing possession, and the Pedraza-led offense scored again with less than two minutes left in the second quarter. At halftime, surprisingly, the underdog led by a score of 12 to 7.
The second half began with an exchange of punts until Quanah pushed across the Donna goal line with about four minutes left in the third quarter. Uncharacteristically, the Redskins then turned the ball over on a Pedraza interception, and their opponents scored again to take a 21 to 12 advantage. The championship dream seemed to be slipping from the Redskins' grasp. Team member Joe Gonzalez recalls that this was the only moment of panic for the squad. "Two or three guys started crying in the huddle, but Luz helped get them refocused on the task at hand."
Atoning for his earlier miscue, quarterback Pedraza drove the offense down the field for a score and made a two-point conversion to narrow the deficit to 21 to 20. With less than six minutes to go, the Redskins' defensive unit stopped the Quanah offense and regained possession of the football. The Redskins' drive began on their opponent's 42-yard line and, with pinpoint passing and the hard running of Fred Edwards, scored a touchdown with about three minutes left. The Indians, in a final attempt to salvage victory, took the ensuing kickoff and drove down the field to make a tying score. Their last-ditch effort ground to a halt when Oscar Avila, one of the five siblings on the Donna squad, sealed the title by intercepting a pass. The final score read 28 to 21 in favor of the Rio Grande Valley's representative. The Laredo Times reported the triumph by stating that "Donna's Redskins were the only team to pull an upset. They brought the first state [football] championship in history to the lower Rio Valley area."The Donna Redskins had done what many prognosticators thought impossible: A Rio Grande Valley team had become football champion of the state of Texas.
A store was moved from Run to Donna in 1914 by Andrew Champion. In 1915 Donna had a population of 1,500, a bank, a hotel, four churches, two cotton gins, the sugar mill, and a weekly newspaper named the Donna Dispatch, published by B. L. Brooks. In 1916 the Donna Light and Power Company was incorporated by A. F. Hester, Sr., T. J. Hooks, Dr. J. B. Roberts, and twenty stockholders. The American Legion Hall, Donna Border Post No. 107, was dedicated in 1920. Donna had an estimated population of 1,579 in 1925. By 1936 it had a population of 4,103, a railroad stop, multiple dwellings, and 110 businesses.
The citizens of Donna first started using the motto "The City with a Heart in the Heart of the Rio Grande Valley" to promote the city in the 1940s. By 1945 the town had a population of 4,712 and seventy-eight businesses and continued to be a citrus and vegetable growing center. In 1953 Donna had three gins, three wholesale groceries, hardware and farm implements dealers, a wholesale distributor for feed mills, and the Donna News. The election of 1954 drew attention to Donna when Bob Jefferys, a newspaperman, requested that a special contingent of Texas Rangersqv be sent to the city by Governor Allan Shivers.qv He alleged that the election campaign was becoming violent because political bosses were physically threatening voters. The American Legion Hall was designated a historical landmark in 1964. In 1967 Donna reported 110 businesses (including eight manufacturers), ten churches, a bank, a library, and a newspaper.
Donna is located at (26.170336, -98.049037).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.1 square miles (13.1 km²), of which 5.0 square miles (13.1 km²) is land and 0.20% is water.
Donna is bordered on the east by Weslaco, Texas and on the west by Alamo. The southern boundary of the town is a few miles north of the Rio Grande, the international border between the United States and Mexico.
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,768 people, 4,167 households, and 3,525 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,929.5 people per square mile (1,131.3/km²). There were 5,734 housing units at an average density of 1,137.5 per square mile (439.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.06% White, 0.37% African American, 0.60% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 20.40% from other races, and 2.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 87.26% of the population.
There were 4,167 households out of which 43.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.0% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.4% were non-families. 13.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.54 and the average family size was 3.91.
In the city the population was spread out with 34.1% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,800, and the median income for a family was $23,892. Males had a median income of $19,815 versus $17,009 for females. The per capita income for the city is about $10,000. About 32.6% of families and 37.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 48.1% of those under age 18 and 25.5% of those age 65 or over.
Government and infrastructure
The first teacher in Donna was Paciana Guerra of Mier, Tamaulipas, hired in 1911 by Severiano Avila, Apolonio Ballí, and Bentura Bentiz to instruct their children. In 1913 the first graduating class of four graduated from Donna High School. At that time the Donna school district encompassed all of Weslaco and reached to the Mercedes corporate boundary.
Primary and secondary schools
Donna is served by the Donna Independent School District. On January 1, 2014 the president of the Donna ISD school board, Alfredo Lugo took his own life amid FBI investigations of corruption. The mission of Donna ISD is to ensure academic excellence for all students through a rigorous and supportive learning environment that provides a quality education in accordance with state and national standards. Donna ISD is the proud recipient of the 2010 - 2012 Connections Grant in the amount of $850,000 awarded by the Texas Education Agency. This grant will provide technology staff development, as well as introduce a 1:1 laptop initiative to grant specific campuses.
In addition, South Texas Independent School District operates magnet schools that serve the community in the area.
In 1998, IDEA Academy & College Preparatory opened their doors in Donna as a public charter school. IDEA Donna is the flagship of the IDEA Public Schools network that continues to grow and operate throughout the RGV 
The Donna Public Library is located in Donna.
- The Rio Grande Valley, which encompasses Donna, is recognized as one of the best Birding areas in the United States. Some locations near Donna include:
- "Winter Texans", or seasonal Texas residents, flock to the area during winter months to enjoy the generally mild weather.
- An international bridge across the Rio Grande is being constructed to link Donna to the city of Río Bravo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, a city with a population of approximately 150,000.
Media and Journalism
Area television stations
- XHFOX (Channel 2, Matamoros, Tamaulipas (Mexico), licensee: Televisa, Fox affiliate)
- XHRIO (Channel 2, licensee: Univision, Fox affiliate)Official Site
- KGBT (Channel 4, Harlingen, Texas, licensee: Raycom Media, CBS affiliate)
- KRGV (Channel 5, Weslaco, Texas, licensee: Mobile Video Tapes, Inc., ABC affiliate)
- KVEO (Channel 23, Brownsville, Texas, licensee: Comcorp of Texas License Corp., NBC affiliate)
- KTLM (Channel 40, Rio Grande City, Texas, licensee: Sunbelt Media Co., Telemundo affiliate)
- KNVO (Channel 48, McAllen, Texas, licensee: Entravision Holdings, LLC., Univision affiliate)Official Site
- KTIZ (Channel 52, Harlingen, Texas, licensee: Orbitz Broadcasting Corp., Ion Television affiliate)
- KMBH (Channel 60, Harlingen, Texas, licensee: RGV Educational Broadcasting, Inc. PBS)
Area radio stations
- KKPS Local Tejano Music Que Pasa 99.5 Official Site
- KNVO-FM Romantica 101.1 Official Site
- KVLY Mix 107.9 (Adult Contemporary)Official Site
- KFRQ The Q 94.5 (Classic/Modern/Hard Rock)Official Site
- KBFM Wild 104.1 (Hip Hop/R&B/Rap) Official Site
- KHKZ KISS 106.3 
- KJAV 104.9 Jack FM (Adult Hits) Official Site
- KURV 710 KURV: The Valley's News, Weather & Talk Station Official Site
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Post Office Location - DONNA." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 9, 2010.
- "Address." Donna Public Library. Retrieved on May 7, 2010.