Weslaco, Texas

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Weslaco, Texas
List of Cities in Texas
City of Weslaco
Downtown Weslaco
Downtown Weslaco
Hidalgo County Weslaco.svg
Coordinates: 26°9′33″N 97°59′15″W / 26.15917°N 97.98750°W / 26.15917; -97.98750Coordinates: 26°9′33″N 97°59′15″W / 26.15917°N 97.98750°W / 26.15917; -97.98750
Country  United States of America
State  Texas
County Hidalgo
 • Type Council-Manager
 • City Council Mayor David Suarez
Gregory P. Kerr
Leo Munoz
Leticia "Letty" Lopez
Gerardo "Jerry" Tafolla
Olga Noriega
Fidel Peña
 • City Manager Mike Perez
 • Total 12.8 sq mi (33.0 km2)
 • Land 12.7 sq mi (32.9 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 79 ft (24 m)
Population (2014)
 • Total 37,601
 • Density 2,123.1/sq mi (819.7/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 78596, 78599
Area code(s) 956
FIPS code 48-77272[1]
GNIS feature ID 1349656[2]
Website www.WeslacoTX.gov

Weslaco /ˈwɛsləˌk/ is a city in Hidalgo County, Texas. The population was estimated to be at 37,601 as of the 2014 United States Census. It is located at the southern tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley and is near the Rio Grande, across the border from the Mexican city of Nuevo Progreso, Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, and is about 59 miles (95 km) west of South Padre Island and the Gulf of Mexico.

Weslaco derives its name from the W.E. Stewart Land Company.[3] It was the hometown of Harlon Block, one of the Marines photographed raising the flag at Iwo Jima, and of film and television actor David Spielberg.

Streets north of the railroad tracks have Spanish names, and streets south of the railroad tracks bear names in English as a consequence of a 1921 municipal ordinance which declared that land north of the tracks be reserved for Hispanic residences and businesses, and land south of the tracks be reserved for “Anglo” residences and businesses. During World War II, sandbag production reached a peak in Weslaco, and the town declared itself the "sandbagging capital of the world."

Weslaco is part of the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission and Reynosa–McAllen metropolitan areas.


The present location of Weslaco was originally part of the Llano Grande land grant to Juan José Ynojosa de Ballí in 1790. After Ynojosa's death the grant was allocated to his children. Manuela and María received the land on which Weslaco is located today. The Ballí family ranched and maintained ownership of the land until 1852. In 1904, the Hidalgo and San Miguel extension of the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway made its way to the site. It was promoted by Uriah Lott, Lon C. Hill, Jr. and others interested in developing the area through farming as opposed to ranching. The American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company of neighboring Mercedes purchased a major portion of the Llano Grande grant and platted the West Tract in 1913. In an effort to control raids from Mexico, the United States government stationed troops along the Rio Grande in 1916. A camp was established at the Llano Grande railroad depot. This camp was located between Mercedes and the current site of Weslaco. A watchtower was constructed at Progreso by these troops.

On December 14, 1917, the irrigation company sold 30,000 acres at ninety dollars an acre to the W. E. Stewart Land Company. The town name Weslaco was derived from this company’s name. The Stewart Company later sold the town site to Ed C. Couch, Dan R. Couch, R. C. Couch, and R. L. Reeves. The site was surveyed and platted on September 18, 1919, by H. E. Bennett, a civil engineer hired by Ed Couch and R. L. Reeves, whose partners, fearing failure, had backed out of the venture. Nearby communities circulated flyers discouraging settlement at the proposed town. Nevertheless, the sale of lots was held on December 8–10, 1919. Prices ranged from $50 to $400 per lot. To make a claim, individuals had to choose a lot and camp on it until the day of the sale. Lots were given away free to church groups. Three cars were also given away as promotion during the sale.[4]


Weslaco is located at 26°9′33″N 97°59′15″W / 26.15917°N 97.98750°W / 26.15917; -97.98750 (26.159130, -97.987374).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.8 square miles (33 km2), of which 12.7 square miles (33 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.55%) is water.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Weslaco has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[6] The average high in January is 71 °F and the average low is 49 °F. The average high is 97 °F and the average low is 76 °F in August. The warm season is extremely long, as average high temperatures from May through September are above 90 °F (32 °C) and average low temperatures are above 70 °F (21 °C), with relatively high dew point values resulting in higher relative humidity values and heat index values. Heat index values can consistently reach over 100 °F during these months.

Average annual precipitation is only 24.89 inches (632 mm). Most precipitation occurs in the warm season, with the least precipitation distinctly occurring in the cooler winter. As September is the peak of the north Atlantic hurricane season and tropical storms and hurricanes occasionally drop copious amounts of rainfall on the region, this month tends to be by far the wettest, averaging 4.92 inches (125 mm) of rain. The driest month is March, with only 1.06 inches (27 mm) of precipitation. Weslaco has had an average annual snowfall of 0.1 inches over the last 30 years. The record snowfall was 3.00 inches (76 mm) on December 25, 2004.[7]

Temperatures are frequently above 100 °F (38 °C), occasionally as early as February and as late as the end of October, the highest temperature ever recorded in Weslaco is 110 °F (43 °C), once in 1998 and once in 1999. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Weslaco is 13 °F (−11 °C), on January 12, 1962.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 4,879
1940 6,883 41.1%
1950 7,514 9.2%
1960 15,649 108.3%
1970 15,313 −2.1%
1980 19,331 26.2%
1990 21,877 13.2%
2000 26,935 23.1%
2010 35,670 32.4%
Est. 2016 40,033 [8] 12.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

According to the census[1] of 2000, there were 26,935 people, 8,295 households, and 6,602 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,123.1 people per square mile (819.5/km²). There were 10,230 housing units at an average density of 806.4 per square mile (311.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 14.92% White, 0.27% African American, 0.49% Native American, 1.14% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 20.93% from other races, and 2.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 83.76% of the population.

There were 8,295 households out of which 41.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.2% were married couples living together, 17.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.4% were non-families. 18.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.21 and the average family size was 3.68.

In the city, the population was spread out with 31.8% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 17.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,573, and the median income for a family was $29,215. Males had a median income of $24,202 versus $19,688 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,235. About 26.5% of families and 30.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.6% of those under age 18 and 23.5% of those age 65 or over.



The focal point of economic activity has shifted from agriculture to international trade, health care, retail and tourism since the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994.

In Hidalgo County, cross-border cargo and vehicular traffic have increased 345% and 36.4% respectively since the beginning of the 1990s, from 228,133 to 1,015,554 cargo trucks in 2008 and from 10.92 million to 14.9 million automobiles. US/Mexico trade crossing the international bridge in Hidalgo County increased from $5.0 billion in 1994, pre-NAFTA, to $12.56 billion in 2000 and $19.9 billion in 2006. From 1995 to 2006 the Rio Grande Valley share of NAFTA trade increased 168% from $11.1 billion to $31.6 billion.[10]

Retail sales[edit]

It is estimated that there are 40 million visits per year from Mexican citizens coming to Texas for vacations and shopping trips. These people contribute greatly to the retail sales volume that occurs in Weslaco and the surrounding communities.

Healthcare services[edit]

Prime Healthcare Services, through its subsidiary Knapp Medical Center,[11] serves Weslaco’s emergency medical needs. The facility is outfitted with a Heli-Pad, Level 3 Trauma Unit and 233 hospital beds. Surrounding Knapp Medical is an unofficial Health care district featuring a concentration of physicians, medical services and pharmacies. This district draws patients from the entire Mid-Valley. There is a double board certified, fellow trained Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Total Joint Replacement and fracture care. Dr. Michael D. Sander is a native of Weslaco, Texas. Weslaco residents can check with local providers for other specialized needs.


The United States Postal Service operates the Weslaco Post Office at 109 N Border Ave. [12]

The Texas Department of Public Safety operates the Region 3 McAllen office in Weslaco.[13]

The United States Border Patrol Weslaco Station is located at 1501 E. Expressway 83.

The Sergeant Tomás Garces Texas Army National Guard Armory located at 1100 Vo Tech Dr, in home for the C Company 3rd Battalion (Mechanised) 141st Infantry and Detachment 1, Company A, 536th Brigade Support Battalion. This armory was dedicated in honor of Weslaco native Sgt. Tomás Garces, the first Texas Army National Guard combat casualty since World War II.



  • I-2.svg Interstate 2 travels through Weslaco.
  • US 83.svg U.S. 83 travels through Weslaco as its major east-west artery.


Private air services are accommodated by the Weslaco Mid Valley Airport.[14] Commercial flights are available at the nearby McAllen Miller International Airport, or the Valley International Airport in Harlingen.


Primary and secondary schools[edit]

Public education in Weslaco is provided by the Weslaco Independent School District, Idea Public Schools,[15] and South Texas Independent School District. There are 4 private schools: San Martin de Porres Catholic School,[16] Valley Grande Adventist Academy,[17] Mid-Valley Christian School,[18] and First Christian Academy.[19] Weslaco also has two Charter schools: Horizon Montessori[20] and Technology Education Charter High School. The city has a Head Start Program, pre-kinder programs as well as several privately owned day care centers.

College and trade schools[edit]

Continuing education facilities located within Weslaco include South Texas College, South Texas Vocational Technical Institute,[21] and Valley Grande Institute for Academic Studies.[22] Texas A&M operates an agricultural research center in Weslaco.[23]

Public Library[edit]

Public Library

The Weslaco Public Library serves Weslaco.[24] In addition to its book collection, the library offers computers classes and various community events. Meeting rooms and an auditorium are available.

Notable people[edit]


The Weslaco Museum [28] has exhibits and hosts events for local residents to maintain pride and appreciation of their history and culture. The museum strives to be an educational and informational resource for the City of Weslaco.


Weslaco is home to one of the nine sites of the World Birding Center[29] in the Rio Grande Valley. The site is located within the Estero Llano Grande State Park.[30] Visitors can enjoy bird walks, butterfly walks, dragonfly walks, and the electric tram nature tour. The park is also available for school programs and field trips.

The Valley Nature Center is a six-acre park and environmental education center that focuses on the plants and animals of the Rio Grande Valley.

City parks[edit]

The City of Weslaco Parks & Recreation Department maintains six city parks, and three public swimming pools.[31] The parks host parades, festivals, holiday programs, special gatherings, and dedications. The department coordinates cultural programs, leisure activities, and events for citizens. Perennial and summer recreation programs are coordinated with residents, athletic organizations, and schools. Weslaco has several baseball and softball leagues as well as little league and soccer.


Weslaco is a popular Winter Texan destination and a gateway between Texas and Mexico. Weslaco offers a great tropical environment with just the right touch of history and culture.[32] In the summer months many travelers come to the area to visit the lower Texas coast and the beaches of South Padre Island. Many Mexican vacationers visit the Texas Valley and stay or maintain homes in Weslaco and surrounding communities.


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Temple, Robert D. Edge Effects: The Border-Name Places, (2nd edition, 2009), iUniverse, ISBN 978-0-595-47758-6, page 324.
  4. ^ "TSHA Texas State Historical Association, Weslaco, TX." Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved on November 1, 2015.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ Climate Summary for Weslaco, Texas Retrieved on November 15, 2015.
  7. ^ "WeatherDB." Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
  8. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "McAllen Overview". McAllen Chamber of Commerce. 2011. Retrieved Nov 3, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Knapp Medical Center." Retrieved on November 13, 2015.
  12. ^ "Post Office Location - WESLACO." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on November 15, 2015.
  13. ^ "Regional Contact Information" (Archive). Texas Department of Public Safety. Retrieved on November 15, 2015.
  14. ^ "Mid Valley Airport." Retrieved on November 15, 2015.
  15. ^ "Idea Public Schools." Retrieved on November 7, 2015.
  16. ^ "San Martin de Porres Catholic School." Retrieved on November 7, 2015.
  17. ^ "Valley Grande Adventist Academy, Weslaco, TX." Retrieved on November 6, 2015.
  18. ^ "Mid-Valley Christian School." Retrieved on November 7, 2015.
  19. ^ "First Christian Academy." Retrieved on November 7, 2015.
  20. ^ "Horizon Montessori." Retrieved on November 7, 2015.
  21. ^ "South Texas Vocational Technical Institute." Retrieved on November 8, 2015.
  22. ^ "Valley Grande Institute for Academic Studies." Retrieved on November 8, 2015.
  23. ^ "Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco." Retrieved on November 8, 2015.
  24. ^ "Welcome to the Library." Weslaco Public Library. Retrieved on November 13, 2015.
  25. ^ "San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce." Retrieved on November 10, 2015.
  26. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/05/arts/05hingle.html?_r=0
  27. ^ http://www.valleymorningstar.com/news/local_news/article_8d72eb48-516a-5128-b5fc-cb0bb9417f80.html
  28. ^ "The Weslaco Museum." Retrieved on November 10, 2015.
  29. ^ "http://theworldbirdingcenter.com/estero.html World Birding Center" Retrieved on November 13, 2015
  30. ^ "Estero Llano Grande State Park." Retrieved on November 13, 2015.
  31. ^ "City of Weslaco, Parks and Recreation." Retrieved on November 10, 2015.
  32. ^ "Winter Texans Online." Retrieved on November 8, 2015.
San Pius X Catholic Church

External links[edit]