Natalia is on the main line of the Missouri Pacific Railroad and Interstate Highway 35, sixteen miles southeast of Hondo in southeastern Medina County. It was founded by the Medina Irrigation Company in 1912 and named after Natalie Pearson, daughter of Fred Stark Pearson, prime motivator of the irrigation project and builder of the Medina Dam. The community has had a post office since 1913; Natalie's name was spelled wrong. After the deaths of Pearson and his wife, who were passengers on the Lusitania when it went down in 1915, the Medina Irrigation Company was forced into receivership. It was subsequently incorporated under the name of Medina Irrigated Farms in 1931 after several failed attempts at refinancing. Bonds in the amount of $2.5 million were issued to pay for Medina valley irrigation and to provide a loan fund for prospective land purchasers. Charles F. C. Ladd acted as chief sales agent for the developers. His campaign was successful, and the town grew with the prosperity of the surrounding agricultural venture. In 1939 it had 400 residents, as compared with 150 in 1933. In 1931 the Griggs Canning plant was established in Natalia. In peak seasons this plant employed 500 people to can the many varieties of vegetables grown in the surrounding irrigated valley. In 1950 Medina Irrigated Farms was sold for a token fee to a group of local residents and now operates as a virtual public utility under the name of Bexar-Medina-Atascosa Counties Water Control and Improvement District No. 1. In 1976 the canning company was sold and converted into the Gold Bond Manufacturing Company, which produces carpet padding. Natalia was incorporated in 1968 under an aldermanic type of government with a mayor and four aldermen elected by the residents. Natalia Independent School District maintains an accredited public school system for grades K-12. The town continued to increase in population, despite a downturn in the late 1960s. In 1988 it had 1,514 residents and twelve businesses. The population in 1990 was 1,545. By 2000 the population was 1,663.