LA FERIA, TX
LA FERIA, TEXAS. La Feria is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 83 and Farm Road 506, twenty-four miles northwest of Brownsville in western Cameron County. The area was first settled when the land was assigned by Spain in 1777 to Rosa María Hinojosa de Ballí as part of the La Feria land grant. The Ballí family established several farms with headquarters on the La Feria grant. The family maintained control of the land well into the mid-1800s, and the community that grew up on the grant remained a ranching center into the twentieth century. In 1909 G. J. Schoenberg, a local land developer, developed the town of La Feria. That year the La Feria post office was opened. A railroad stop named Bixby was established a mile from the town when the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway was built through the area in 1911. In July 1912 the founding fathers of La Feria stole the Bixby depot and hauled it to the new townsite. By 1915 La Feria had a population of 200, a bank, two churches, and a weekly newspaper, the La Feria Leader. In 1925 estimates of the population ranged from 236 to 825.
La Feria was incorporated in 1933, when its population was 1,594 and it had ninety businesses. In 1936 the community had three schools and two churches. The population was estimated at 2,630 in 1948. In 1960 the town supported the La Feria News, three elementary schools, a junior high, a high school, and a population of 3,000. During the 1960s La Feria was home to the Mexico Border Bible Institute (World Gospel Mission) and had Baptist, Church of Christ, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, and United Pentecostal churches. The town reported ninety industries in 1967, including fruit and vegetable canneries, manufacturers of carnival equipment, cotton trailers, and liquid fertilizer, and three cotton gins. The tourist trade had expanded considerably, and tourist facilities were available at the community center park. The Rosita Longoria house, built in 1909, was still standing in 1976 and served as the La Feria Museum. That year the sixty-fourth annual fair was celebrated. In 1990 La Feria had 4,360 inhabitants and thirty-five businesses, and in 2000 the community had a population of 6,115 and 179 businesses. Feria is Spanish for "fair."
Herminia Ballí de Chavana, The History of the Prestigious Ballí Family: Story of the First Pioneer Settlers of the Rio Grande Valley (Austin: Eakin Press, 1989). Miriam Chatelle, For We Love Our Valley Home (San Antonio: Naylor, 1948). Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. Valley By-Liners, Roots by the River: A Story of Texas Tropical Borderland (Mission, Texas: Border Kingdom Press, 1978).