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McAllen’s history pages begin with the Coahulitecan Indian tribe and the influence of Spanish conquistadors tramping the valley in their endless search for gold. It wasn’t until the mid 1700s when European settlers first realized the treasure lay within the fertile ranching acres along the Rio Grande River. Irrigation encouraged sugar cane, followed by the citrus fruit that eventually made South Texas famous, and the agricultural value increased. Railroads to haul the produce soon appeared, and one station along the path was named after Scots-Irishman John McAllen – who purchased 80,000 acres in Hidalgo County just after the Civil War. The city itself was founded in his name in 1904.

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