South Texas Plains
2010 Census - 5,507
2000 Census - 4,851
Progreso, Texas
Progreso Texas History:
In 1790, Juan Jose Hinojosa received a land grant from the Spanish Crown. The land grant area was occupied by small ranches and family farms until 1903 when it was sold to developers. The largest ranch was the Toluca Ranch. In 1880, a post office was requested under the name Toluca, but the postal authorities issued the name Progreso. The post office closed in 1916. The town of Progreso developed two miles north of the Rio Grande River. In 1920, the Llano Grand Plantation Company purchased 6,217 acres for planting sugarcane. This land included the town of Progresso and Progresso Lakes. The Borderland Sugar Company began establishing sugar plantations in the area during World War I. The sugar industry did exceedingly well until the cane crop froze in 1925 and farmers decided that citrus would be a more suitable crop for the area. In 1926, the San Benito and Rio Grande Valley Railway built a mission style train depot; it closed in 1931. The Progreso post office was established in 1930. In 1949 and 1951, freezes wiped out the citrus orchards and the area reverted to growing sugarcane. Progreso incorporated in 1991. The Progreso City Hall is located in the former train depot on FM 1015. The town is probably best known for being the gateway to Nuevo Progreso, Mexico. Progreso is located at the intersection of U.S. 281 and FM 1015, 2 miles north of the Rio Grande River and Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, 20 miles east of Hidalgo, 27.4 miles southeast of Edinburg, 22.7 miles southeast of McAllen, 6.5miles southeast of Weslaco, 25 miles southwest of San Benito, 22 miles southwest of Harlingen, 58 miles west of South Padre Island, and 35 miles northwest of Brownsville, Texas.
Toluca Ranch and St. Joseph's Church:
The ranch complex includes three ranch buildings, the Florencio Saenz homestead, the store, and the church. The buildings were built between 1899 and 1908. The homestead served as the headquarters for the Toluca Ranch, which once stretched 17 miles north from the Rio Grande River. This building was built with many secret rooms and passages to protect the residents from Mexican Banditos. The church (family chapel) was built in 1899 in Gothic Revival style by Father Pierre Yves Keralum. The interior ceiling vaults’ surfaces are painted a deep blue. Marker located three miles east of Progreso on FM 1015. Private Ranch; open to the public by appointment. The ranch is located just east of the International Bridge.
Father Pierre Yves Keralum:
Father Pierre was an architect in France before coming to the U.S. and serving with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate which was charged by the Catholic Church with serving the Laredo area, and later, the eight southernmost counties of Texas. He built chapels and churches up and down the Rio Grande River, including the Chapel on the Toluca Ranch in Progresso, and the former 1854 church in Roma. In 1856 he had begun construction on the parish church in Roma, Texas when the Oblate superior in charge of building the cathedral in Brownsville drowned at sea. Father Keralum took over the building and design of Brownsville’s Gothic Revival Immaculate Conception Cathedral, and designed and built Our Lady of Visitation Church in Santa Maria, and Laredo’s San Agustin Cathedral. A marker is located at a knoll behind Compass Bank at 201 Starr Street, Mercedes.
Valley Transit Company Shuttle Services -Valley International Airport Harlingen:
This company provides shuttle services from the Harlingen Airport, the Brownsville Airport and McAllen Miller International Airport to South Padre Island, Brownsville, Rancho Viejo, McAllen and all other cities within the Rio Grande Valley. Reservations are strongly recommended; a fee applies. Vehicles used include vans and 33, 52 and 57 passenger buses. To request an airport shuttle quote, fill out their quotation request form, or call or email them. (956) 423-5467. (866) 934-6882. Email  
Nuevo Progreso, Mexico:
Progreso has a small downtown shopping area with some very good stores, and is a favorite of tourists crossing into Mexico; many South Padre Island residents and visitors favor Nuevo Progreso. From south Harlingen, take the Rio Hondo exit, then go west on SH 509 South. At the intersection with U.S. 281, go west (right). Going straight on 509 at this intersection takes you to a trade bridge. From U.S. 281 West, go left on FM 1015 to the bridge. Parking lots on the U.S. side are located on both sides of FM 1015, just before entering the bridge. The favored parking lot in the one on the west side (right) side of the highway; a manned parking booth collects the $2 vehicle fee. A store adjacent to the pay booth sells groceries and cold water. Park, then head for the southeast corner of the parking lot where you will find a covered seating area, and a store selling Lime Aid and other items; between, and slightly behind, the seating area and store is a walkway leading up to restrooms and the entrance to the pedestrian walkway. You enter Mexico through a turnstile, and leave Mexico through a turnstile, passing the customs desk. The Mexico turnstile costs a quarter, and the U.S. turnstile costs 30 or 35 cents, so bring change. The Canada Store, a favorite shopping destination, closed due to lack of tourists because of the drug war. Arturo’s Restaurant, a favorite of tourists and locals, is still open. Only pitted avocados may be brought into the U.S. You can purchase avocados and other fresh fruits and vegetables at a very nice farm stand on the U.S. side of the border on the west side of FM 1015. Nuevo Progreso is located across the Rio Grande River from Progresso, 7 miles south of Weslaco, and 21.5 miles slightly southwest of Harlingen, Texas.
Mexico Travel Warning
Duty Free Information
Border Bridge Wait Times
Progreso International Bridge to Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, 2003:
The original bridge was built in 1952. The new bridge was beautifully constructed; it consists of vehicle lanes and covered pedestrian lanes. Pedestrian and vehicle traffic is usually fairly light crossing from the U.S. Side; there are sometimes long vehicle and pedestrian lines crossing from the Mexico side. A truck bridge is located on the east side of the main bridge; this truck bridge removes truckers from the vehicle/pedestrian bridge and allows truckers to bypass downtown Progreso. Progreso has a small downtown shopping area with some very good stores, and is a favorite of tourists crossing into Mexico. The bridge is on FM 1015, off of U.S. 83 in Progreso. Office: (956) 565-6361. Main Office: 251 S. International Boulevard, Weslaco, TX 78596. 
Los Indios-Lucio Blanco International Free Trade Bridge, 1992:
This four lane bridge connecting Los Indios to Matamoros, Mexico was completed in 1992. It is operated by Cameron County. The bridge is open to pedestrians, and passenger and commercial vehicles. Open daily, 6am-Midnight. Office: (956) 361-0070. 100 Los Indios Boulevard, Los Indios, TX 78567. From U.S. 281 (Military Highway) go south on CR 509; it becomes Cantu Road.
Progreso, Texas Farm Stand:
A wonderful fruit and vegetable stand is located on the west side of FM 1015, approximately 0.5 miles north of the Progreso International Bridge.
Birding, Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, Lower Gulf Coast Region:
Estero Llano Grande Loop:Donna, Weslaco, Mercedes, Progresso, Santa Maria
Texas Bird Checklist With Photos
Hidalgo County Bird Checklist with Photos
Progresso City Park:
Amenities include a lighted baseball field, covered picnic tables with BBQ grills, covered swinging benches, a picnic pavilion with restrooms, and gazebos. The park is located at the corner of Malone Drive and FM 1015. (956) 565-0241.
Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge Information:
The Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1979 to connect the remaining existing tracts of natural brush along the Rio Grande River. The unit’s 111 individual land tracts (most are undeveloped) total over 90,000 acres. The refuge units are located in Starr, Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy counties, and are scattered in an area extending 275 miles along the Rio Grande River from Falcon Dam to the Gulf of Mexico. Habitats in this refuge range from Chihuahuan thorn forests to Texas ebony forests, sable palm forests, brushland, tidal wetlands, salt lakes, resacas, riverside woodlands, caliche hillsides and a variety of other habitats. Both the Central and Mississippi bird flyways cross this area. The refuge remains the top priority of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Service continues making acquisitions of land with the ultimate goal being to enlarge the refuge to 132,500 acres. The tracts are home to over 1,100 types of plants, over 700 wildlife species including 484 species of birds, and over 300 species of butterflies. Of immense importance is the protection of the endangered ocelot, Jaguarundi, and Kemp's Ridley sea turtle. The Santa Ana NWR, Laguna Atascosa NWR and the Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR form the South Texas NWR Complex (STNWR) which offices at the Santa Ana NWR. For more complete NWR information, go to the Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR Home Page.
Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area Overview:
This 3,311 acre WMA has 18 units in Cameron, Hidalgo and Presidio Counties in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. The units were purchased to preserve native brush nesting habitat, and some farmland and wetlands for white-winged doves. The tracks range in size from 2 to 604 acres. None of the units have restrooms or drinking water. All are managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The units are open year round except when special permit hunts are scheduled. Hunting is not permitted on the Voshell Unit. Hunting is permitted on Unit #710, Unit #715, Unit #718, the Arroyo Colorado Unit (#739), the Carricitos Unit (#714), the Ebony Unit (719), the Longoria Unit (#741) and the Tucker Unit (#740). Hunting is generally permitted for mourning doves, quail, rabbits and hares. Dove hunting is the main use of the WMA. Public Hunts are scheduled when conditions warrant. Onsite registration is required. Trapping and horses are prohibited. This page does not provide adequate links for most units because the original website used for information is no longer valid. Call (956) 565-1223 for information and directions to the units. For more complete WMA information, go to the Las Palomas WMA Home Page.
Learn to Camp at Texas Parks & Wildlife State Parks' Outdoor Family Camping Workshops:
Theseworkshops are family camping sessions designed to teach camping skills to those who do not know how to camp; everything is provided from tent to broom. Gear includes a coffee pot, dishes, cooking pots, a camp stove, a battery operated fan and lantern, air mattresses, and a tent. Basic skills taught include pitching a tent, making a campfire, cooking on a propane camp stove, geocaching and using a GPS. Wildlife viewing, fishing and kayaking are available depending on the park and its facilities. After making reservations, families will be sent a packet of information which includes a grocery list. Those interested in this program may sign up for E-Mail Updates on Currently Scheduled Workshops. (512) 389-8903. Calendar
Hunt Texas Online Connection:
More than 95% of Texas land is privately owned, making it hard for hunters to find affordable hunting opportunities. The Texas Parks and Wildlife has a huge public hunting program, and has developed a new service to help hunters find hunting places. This new service is provided free by the TPWD. It allows landowners to list available hunting leases or spots that have opened up, and allows hunters to find private hunting leases according to their preferences. 
Hunting, Texas Parks and Wildlife, General Hunting Information
Hunting, Public Hunting on State Lands, TPWD
Hunter Education
Hunting Season by Animal
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Donations