South Texas Plains
2010 Census - 77,058
2000 Census - 45,408
Mission, Texas
Mission Texas History:
For over 250 years descendants of the original Spanish settlers have maintained ranches on the huge porciones which are tracks of land 9/13 of a mile wide and extending from the Rio Grande River for 16 miles north. Community based settlement began in the area in 1865 when French merchant Rene Guyard built a chapel on the Lomita ranchland he purchased in 1845. He named the chapel “La Lomita” which means “little hill” in Spanish. A small community grew up on the land. In 1871 Guyard willed the chapel and 17,000 acres of land to the Oblate of Mary Immaculate priests. The priests established their mission headquarters and farm on this land. In 1904 the Missouri Pacific Railway built a line from Brownsville to the community of Mamie, 5.5 miles from La Lomita via a terrible mud road. The town of Mission was established in 1907 when John J. Conway and J. W. Holt purchased the 17,000 acre La Lomita Ranch from the Oblate fathers. They began selling tracts of land to new settlers. They donated a new station and railroad siding, and 20 acres of irrigated land to the railway. The Missouri Pacific moved its agent from Sam Fordyce to the new station; Conway’s new settlement also moved to the railway station. In December 2008 the post office also moved to the station community; it was renamed Mission because there was already a Texas post office named Lomita. A school and pharmacy were established in 1908, and a newspaper and hotel were established by 1909. Mission incorporated in 1910. Farmers were attracted to the Mission area because irrigation allowed fields to produce three crops a year. Around 1910 citrus farming began in the area. John H. Shary rebuilt the local irrigation system, established the community of Sharyland, and sold small irrigated farms to potential citrus growers. The Shary home was later the home of Texas Governor Allan Shivers. No tours are offered, the Shary Shivers Estate may be viewed 4 miles north of town on Shary Road (FM 494).In 1915 Mission had 2,000 residents. The 1930s discovery of oil contributed to the area’s growth. In 1941 Shary and other business men purchased land northwest of Mission and sold it to the U.S. government for the establishment of Moore Air Force Base. From 1941 to 1946 approximately 3,000 men trained each year at the base. By 1970 Mission had 13,043 residents. The growth in tourism and the large numbers of Winter Texans contributed to Mission’s population of 22,589 by 1980. Mission is the childhood home of the late Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry. The town was immortalized in Larry McMurtry’s novel, “Lonesome Dove.” Water from the Rio Grande River allows agriculture to be the town’s primary industry. The area is known for its Ruby Red Grapefruits and other citrus. Two wineries are located in the area; they do not offer tastings or tours to the public. Mission is renowned for its many butterflies. Birding is excellent in the Mission area; the town is located 3.5 miles north of the Rio Grande River, 4 miles northeast of Anzalduas County Park, 5 miles northeast of the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley WBC, and 23 miles northwest of the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Mission is extremely popular with Winter Texans who almost double the town’s population each year. Mission is located 3.5 miles north of the Rio Grande River at the intersection of U.S. 83 and SH 107, 46.5 miles southeast of Roma, 34 miles southeast of Rio Grande City, 18.8 miles southwest of Edinburg, 43 miles west of Harlingen, 28.7 miles west of Mercedes, 13 miles west of San Juan, 10 miles west of Pharr, 6 miles west of McAllen, 30 miles northwest of Progreso, and 12.8 miles northwest of Hidalgo, Texas.
Mission Veterans Memorial:
This memorial is dedicated to veterans of World Wars I and II, the Korean War and Vietnam. A monolith type monument is topped with a large eagle, and bears the names of Mission residents killed in action. The memorial is located in the 1.2 acre Rotary Park (8th Street & Conway Avenue).
Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery:
The Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery is located on 75 acres purchased by the City of Mission from Bentsen Palm; Mission donated the land to the Texas Veterans Land Board. The Groundbreaking Ceremony for the second Texas State Veterans Cemetery was held September 27, 2005. The first internment was December 4, 2006. The cemetery is located just off U.S. Highway 83 on South Inspiration Road near its junction with Military Road. It is approximately 2.5 miles south of the exit, just past Seven Oaks Golf and Country Club. Open daily, 8am-5pm. (956) 583-7227. 2520 South Inspiration Road, 78572, Mission, Texas.
Tom Landry Mural:
Mission was legendary Dallas Cowboys Coach Tom Landry’s childhood home. In honor of his memory Mission residents Bill and Gen Long commissioned Manuel Hinojosa to create the Tom Landry Mural. The mural is located at the corner of North Conway Avenue and East Tom Landry Street, 78572. Tom Landry’s gravesite is located at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.