PEÑA STATION. Peña Station, at the eastern edge of the site of present Hebbronville in northern Jim Hogg County, was a crossroads freight station frequented by ox-drawn carts and wagons that traveled roads which had been in use since mid-eighteenth-century Spanish colonial days. In May 1875 Lazarro Peña bought with land scrip a total of 1,920 acres in five surveys in the Noriecitas grant, extending for thirteen miles along "the water of Santa Rosalia and Panilla," tributaries of Los Olmos Creek, southwest of San Diego in what was then Duval County. Though Governor Richard Coke signed the transaction in October 1876, apparently Peña Station was built in 1875, for El Mesquite Rancho, the original crossroads freight station for José de Escandón's settlements, began to disappear from maps by this time. Peña Station was well known by 1879 and was found on official railroad station lists and on at least one map.
Freight was brought by light draft boats up the Rio Grande to Rio Grande City, then known as Clay Davis, until a yellow fever epidemic closed the port in 1882. Because of the area's well-established trade route the Texas-Mexican Railway curved southward to pass near the ranch, and Peña Station became an official stop by 1881. This was also the year both the Texas-Mexican and the International–Great Northern railroads reached Laredo. Clay Davis was the supply base and trade headquarters for most of Tamaulipas, Mexico, between 1882 and 1905, when the Mexican National completed its line from Matamoros to Laredo and Laredo became the trade center. Nearly all freight to Clay Davis and Ringgold Barracks from San Antonio and Corpus Christi went overland through Peña Station during these years.
Soon after the railroad was built near Peña Station in early 1881, James R. Hebbron built a station nearer to the railroad, about one-half mile west of the tracks, and laid out a townsite. The new town, Hebbronville, became an official station and post office, and Peña no longer appeared on the census or railroad lists or state maps. However, freight hauled overland by oxen and mules continued to pass through Peña Station until 1917, as did stagecoaches and military detachments, since this was the shortest route to Ringgold Barracks and Rio Grande City from Corpus Christi and San Antonio. Freight destined to or from Laredo and to other places south and west along the Rio Grande was also usually routed overland through Peña Station because of the arroyos, hills, and thorny plant growth nearer the river. Peña Station continued to be referred to in news stories, books, and locally as long as the route was traveled by freighters.
Hebbronville Chamber of Commerce, Fiftieth Anniversary, Jim Hogg County (Hebbronville, Texas, 1963).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Agnes G. Grimm, "PENA STATION," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvp32), accessed November 30, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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