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Weslaco, Texas

History

Weslaco.  Located on part of a Spanish land grant known as Llano Grande, Weslaco was founded in 1919 by a partnership composed of R. C., Dan, and Ed Couch and Robert L. Reeves. The city's name is take from the initials of the W. E. Stewart Land Co., which held title to the site from 1917 to 1919. Weslaco had a post office by 1920 and was incorporated in 1921. Founded nearly ten years after most other valley cities in the area, Weslaco depends on a wide variety of businesses for its economic base. Descendants of some of the early settlers still live here. Historical Marker text, 1985.  Marker location: Weslaco City Hall, 500 S. Kansas Ave., Weslaco.

Weslaco City Hall. Erected in 1928, this structure replaced a frame community building at this site. City founder Ed Couch (1879-1944) and Mayor David E. Kirgan (1877-1936) led ceremonies marking the building's completion. Prominent Weslaco architect R. Newell Waters designed the City Hall with Spanish colonial style detailing. Intricate cast stone sculpture adorns the entryway and cupola. Spanish tiles with colorful geometric patterns decorate the interior stairway. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1978.  Marker location:  Weslaco City Hall, 500 S. Kansas Ave., Weslaco.

Weslaco Water Tower. This ground level water storage reservoir was constructed in 1928, nine years after Weslaco was founded. Built through the efforts of Mayor David E. Kirgan and City Water Commissioner William Detlef, it was a symbol of Kirgan's municipal reforms. The facility was used until 1928 when work was begun on the adjacent overhead tank. A project of the Works Progress Administration, it was completed in 1941 during the mayoralty of John L. Compere, Jr. The site now serves as a reminder of Weslaco's early development as a progressive city. Historical Marker text, 1982.  Marker location: 118-120 N. Kansas Avenue, Weslaco.

Weslaco High School. Weslaco Independent School District formed in 1921, when residents petitioned the Texas Legislature to separate from Donna ISD. Upon the district's creation, board members planned for the first school building, designed by San Antonio architect Harvey P. Smith and completed by Brownsville's H.L. Fitch and Co. by Feb. 1923. The one-story school building with raised basement is built of reinforced concrete and hollow tile, faced with dark Butler brick and lighter bands near the floorline. The recessed central entry has a prominent door surround and pediment. The structure and adjacent Weslaco Junior High were threatened with demolition before being rehabilitated for the 2006-07 school year. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 2009.  Marker location: S. Iowa St. at 7th St., Weslaco.

Cortez Hotel. Three years after Edwin C. Couch and Robert Reeves founded the city of Weslaco in 1919, Couch deeded this block as a city park. In 1928, city officials hired architect Paul G. Silber and his San Antonio Argentum Development Corporation to build a hotel here. The four-story Spanish Colonial Revival structure became a social center when it opened December 31, 1928. Groups such as the city's Camarillo Dance Club and local service clubs met in the hotel ballroom, which also served as the site of graduations and political rallies. The business changed hands throughout the 20th century, and today the hotel remains a symbol of an era in Valley history marked by civic pride and community progress. Historical Marker text, 2005.   Marker location: 260 S Texas Ave, Weslaco.

First Christian Church of Weslaco. When the Weslaco Townsite Company platted the new town in 1919, it offered city lots to representatives of Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist and Christian denominations. They held services in a community house, with each responsible for one Sunday a month. Members of each denomination soon formed separate churches. On December 16, 1921, First Christian Church organized with 44 charter members. Over the years, it has remained on its original site but grown in service and facilties. Programs have included leadership in a federation of church women to establish a well-baby clinic. Today, the church continues to reflect the ideals of its founding in service to its members and the community. Historical marker text, 2005.  Marker location: 205 W Sixth St, Weslaco.

Resources

Weslaco Public Library
525 S Kansas Ave
Weslaco, TX 78596
Phone: (956) 968-4533  Website

Location

Weslaco, TX 26° 9' 34.2684" N, 97° 59' 27.0132" W