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Donna, Texas

History

Donna.  Two East Texas men, T. J. Hooks and A. F. Hester, began developing this area for settlement in the late 1890s. Through formation of the La Blanca Agricultural Company, they set up farms and irrigation systems and advertised the area's favorable climate and resources. In 1904, when a rail line was built here, they founded the town of Donna, named for T. J. Hooks daughter. Ed Ruthven opened the first store and, in 1908, the town incorporated with R. P. Boeye as mayor. Since the earliest days of the 20th century, Donna has developed as one of the leading cities of the Rio Grande Valley. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 - 1986 Marker.  Marker location: Town square, Bus. Route US 83 (Hooks St.) at S. 8th, Donna.

Donna Public Schools. The present school system for the town of Donna can be traced to a 1904 school in the Runn community (6 mi. S). Classes were first held in the home of A. F. Hester, a founder of Donna. The earliest school for the new town opened in 1908. Teachers held classes in a one-room structure and a store building until completion of the first schoolhouse in 1911. The Donna School District was set up in 1919. Since then, several early area schools, including Runn in 1972, have merged with Donna. It is now one of Hidalgo County's leading educational systems. Historical Marker text, 1986.  Marker location: at Runn School, 0.5 mile west of FM 493 on US 281, Runn.

Donna Central Elementary School. Built as the result of a special bond election in 1925, this is the oldest existing structure in the Donna Independent School District. Initially an elementary school, it served as a junior high facility from 1965 to 1983. Designed by the architectural firm of Elwing & Mulhausen, it is a highly significant part of Donna's built environment. The school building features a two-story central block with a Tudor-arched entry and two large square towers. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1990. Marker location: Main Street at Scobey Avenue, Donna.

The Donna News. In 1904, T.J. Hooks and A.F. Hester, Sr. founded towns on the StLB&M Rail Line. Railroad president Uriah Lott chose the names of Hooks' daughters for two towns, Donna and Beatrice (East Donna). In 1910, Garland Buck built a two-story brick building at this site for the Donna Developer. It changed hands several times, known also as the Donna Dispatch, the Donna News and the Donna News-Advocate until its run ended in the 1960s. In 1969, the Donna Chamber of Commerce bought the building and later shared it with the Donna Hooks Fletcher Museum, created in 1974. A fire damaged the structure in 1988, but its restoration and use as part of the museum helps preserve the history of the paper and the community it served. Historical marker text, 2005.  Marker location: 127 S 8th St, Donna.

Resources

Donna Public Library
301 S Main St
Donna, TX 78537
Phone: (956) 464-2221 Website

Donna Hooks Fletcher Museum
129 S. 8th
Donna, Texas  78537
Phone: (956) 464-9989 website
Wed-Friday 10:00 am - 1:00 pm, Sat 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Location

Donna, TX 26° 10' 13.2708" N, 98° 3' 7.02" W