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FALCON, TX

FALCON, TEXAS. Falcon is on U.S. Highway 83 two miles west of the Starr-Zapata county line. It was moved from an original Falcon at the junction of Medio Creek and the Rio Grande in southeast Zapata County during the flood in August 1953, which was caused by the completion of Falcon Dam in December 1952. Settlers had been brought to the area by Col. José de Escandón in the 1750s. The Spanish crown set the land aside for the colonists of Revilla, known as Guerrero, after Mexican independence. In the mid-1700s the king of Spain granted 6,123 acres to José Clemente Gutiérrez, who later sold the land to José Clemente Ramírez. In 1780 Ramírez married Margarita de la Garza Falcón, thus uniting two of the area's most distinguished families, and moved to the old site of Falcón. The place was called Ramireño de Abajo. In the early 1900s Ildefonso Ramírez opened a general store there. In 1915 a post office was established, and the village changed its name to Falcon, in honor of the wife of the founder. This was done because there was already a post office a few miles away called Ramireño, at Ramireño de Arriba, and the post office needed a different name. Old Falcon had 4.01 acres in common riverfront and 12.27 acres in its town tract. The government offered to move the settlement of families to Zapata, the county seat, where good schools, parks, water, sewage disposal, and paved and curbed streets would be available; but the families, whose ancestors had come to the area, settled it and opted to keep their site. The government closed the dam before paying for the land and improvements, figuring they had several years before the water would rise—there had been six years of drought. But in August 1953 the rains came, and the 500-year floodplain was quickly reached. In a pouring rain, as the waters slowly swallowed up the village, the refugees fled, and some left behind their life's possessions. Rafaela Ramos de Serna marked off fifty acres of her nearby land into town lots, and sold them for $100 each to the villagers. Later, the government refused to pay them the full price for their homes and belongings because they were no longer usable.

The new Falcon has Santa Ana Catholic Church, an older community building, a new large community hall, three north-south paved and curbed streets, and three east-west curbed streets. It also has a combination general store with gas station, general supplies, a feed and seed store, a pool hall, and 500 residents. The government also picked out a common site for all of the local cemeteries, but all of the villages affected by Falcon Dam voted to buy their own separate sites. A total of 162 graves was moved from the old Falcon cemetery, only ten of them unidentified. The population of Falcon was recorded from 1960 to 1990 as fifty, but grew to 376 by 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Patsy Jeanne Byfield, Falcon Dam and the Lost Towns of Zapata (Austin: Texas Memorial Museum, 1971). Jean Y. Fish, Zapata County Roots Revisited (Edinburg, Texas: New Santander Press, 1990). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982).

Dick D. Heller, Jr.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Dick D. Heller, Jr., "FALCON, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnf06), accessed April 18, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.