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County
Zapata
Region
South Texas Plains
Population
2010 Census - 5,089
2000 Census - 4,856
Nearby
Towns
Zapata, Texas
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Zapata Texas History:
The first European settlers in the area were residents of Revilla (Ciudad Guerrero) which is now submerged in the waters of the Falcon Reservoir. In 1750, the Spanish government commissioned Jose de Escandon to explore and establish settlements along the Rio Grande River. New settlers were promised large land grants. The land grant settlers began moving across the Rio Grande River in 1767 after their land grants were approved. Zapata was originally called Habitacion, Carrizo, and later Bellville after Governor Peter Bell. In 1898 the name Zapata was taken to honor Col. Antonio Zapata, one of the founders of the Republic of the Rio Grande. Men from the Somervell Expedition briefly occupied the town in 1842; it was here that General Somervell received orders from President Sam Houston to abandon their expedition. The military posts Camp Drum and Camp Harney were established in Zapata in the 1850s to combat border disturbances and to prevent Indian attacks. The Zapata area flourished in the 1870s when Mexico declared a duty free zone along the border; the free zone ended in 1903 and border trade declined. During this period Zapata was a ranching and agricultural center. Today oil and gas, and ranching are major industries. In 1953 the town was moved to higher ground when Falcon Dam was built; the 1901 Zapata County Courthouse is now under water. The town is known for its monster sized catfish and black bass caught in Falcon Lake, and perfect weather conditions for hand gliding; many hand gliding world records have been set in Zapata. Zapata is located on the northeast shore of the Falcon International Reservoir at the Intersection of U.S. 83 and SH 16, 50 miles southeast of Laredo, 14.5 miles southeast of San Ygnacio, 51.5 miles southwest of Hebbronville, and 30 miles northwest of Falcon State Park and Falcon Heights, Texas.
 
Somervell Expedition, 1842:
The Somervell Expedition was ordered by Sam Houston as a punitive measure following the Mexican raids on San Antonio. After capturing Laredo, a third of the troops returned home leaving the expedition with insufficient men to continue. Because they were also short of supplies, Somervell ordered his men to disband and return home.
 
Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, Tamaulipas, Mexico:
Old Guerrero City was inundated by the floodwaters of Falcon Lake when the lake was impounded in 1953. The town moved from its original location on the original banks of the Rio Grande to its current location on the shores of Falcon Lake across the dam road from Falcon Heights, Texas. Old Guerrero’s church (26°46′40″N 99°20′21″W?/ ?26.7777°N 99.3391°W?/ 26.7777; -99.3391) is partially above water and may still be viewed on the Salado Arm of the lake or approached on land when the water level in the lake is low. Other towns inundated include old Zapata, Ramireno, Uribeno, Lopeno, Clareno and Falcon. The El Fuente Restaurant servesgreat seafood, appetizers, shrimp cocktails, and garlic shrimp. The Capri Restaurant serves good ponchos, lunch, dinner and mixed drinks; the owners are the parents of Carlos Olivares who owns the Falcon Motel.  
 
Mexico Travel Warning
Mexico & Canada Travel Information
Duty Free Information  
Border Bridge Wait Times
 
Lake Falcon Dam International Crossing, Falcon Heights to Nuevo Guerrero, Mexico:
This two lane road crossing runs above Falcon Dam, and is locally known as Puente San Juan, Falcon Dam, Presa Falcon, and Puente Internacional de la Presa. It was built in 1936 by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC). The road is open daily, 7am-9pm. Before crossing the bridge check current bridge closing times. If you need to return to the U.S. after the bridge is closed you will need to drive to Miguel Aleman, Mexico and cross the bridge into Roma, Texas. The dam road is located on FM 2098, 3 miles from U.S. 83. (956) 849-1678.  
 
Zapata County Courthouse, 2005:
This amazingly beautiful courthouse was designed by architects Morgan Spear Associates. It was constructed by Satterfield & Pontikes. The 2010 Zapata County census was 14,018. 200 E. 7th Avenue, Zapata, Texas 78076.
 
Zapata County Courthouse, 1901:
When the Falcon Reservoir was created, the town was moved to higher ground; this courthouse is now under water.
 
Zapata County Museum of History:
The Colonel Antonio Zapata Museum was closed in 2008 to make way for the construction of the new Zapata County Museum. As of March 2012 the museum website was under construction. Museum exhibits depict the history of Zapata and Zapata County and include arrowheads, antique furniture and clothing and other items. The museum’s butterfly garden features swallowtails, monarch, cabbage, sulphur and other butterflies. The museum’s arboretum is home to 10 species of native trees. The Sesquicentennial Park is located adjacent to the museum. (956) 765-8983. The museum is located at the corner of 6th Street and U.S. 83.
 
Mertens Frontier Ranch Store & Museum:
This funky place features Indian artifacts from South Texas, mounted exhibits of animals, a snake exhibit and historical exhibits. The store sells saw blades, painted lanterns, spoons, pans, bottles and other items. Open Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm. Call first before arriving on Sundays. (956) 765-6825. The museum is located on SH 16, 1/2 block west of the intersection of U.S. 83 and SH 16 in Zapata.    
 
Zapata County Technical and Advanced Education Center:
The school provides workforce development and training in fields such as tourism, healthcare, and oil and gas. ZCTAEC has formed partnerships with Texas A&M, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, Laredo Extension, UT-Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas State Technical College in Harlingen, and the Laredo Community college. The state of the art campus offers a unique experience in distance learning. Classes are taught in real time and are completely interactive. For more information contact the Zapata Chamber of Commerce. (956) 765-4871. (956) 765-9815.  
 
Zapata County Library:
The library offers a children’s section, an adult section, a genealogy department, a computer department and meeting rooms. Programs offered include Spanish lessons, computer classes, a Texas summer reading program, and Distance Learning Programs. White-collared seedeaters may be viewed at the cattail pond located in Zapata County Park behind the library. Open Mon-Tue, 9am-7pm; Wed-Thu, 9am-6pm; Fri, 9am-4pm; Sat, 8am-noon; closed Sundays. (956) 765-5351. 901 Kennedy Street, Zapata, TX 78076.
 
Zapata County Community Center & Pavilion:
The community center and the pavilion are available for event rentals. (956) 765-8600. The center is located at 607 N. U.S. 83, Zapata, Texas 78076.
 
Zapata County Nutrition Center & Senior Center:
The center offers senior programs and activities, and the Elderly Transportation Program that provides rides to those who need them. Operation Lone Star offers student physicals and free health screenings. (956) 765-4590. The center is located on the corner of 7th and Delmar Streets, Zapata, TX 78076.
 
Annual Zapata County Fair, 2nd Weekend in March:
Activities include a breakfast and trail ride, a parade, a 5K run, opening ceremonies, a queen’s contest, a cook-off, car show, a pit bull exhibit, arts and crafts, photography, and quilts judging contest, animal exhibits and judging events, roping, a livestock auction, a jalapeno eating contest, a carnival, live music, and a battle of the bands. (956) 235-6963. The fairgrounds are located at 405 West 23rd Avenue, Zapata, Texas 78076. Email
 
Annual 4th of July Celebration, July:
Activities include a parade, pageants, a BBQ and fish fry cook-off, live music and fireworks.
 
Robert’s Fish n’ Tackle & Restaurant:
The store sells bait and tackle and other fishing supplies, and serves as the lake’s Official ShareLunker Holding Station. The restaurant serves very good lunch and dinner menu items including catfish, shrimp, seafood salad, chicken, seafood wraps, chicken fried chicken, chicken fried ribeye steak, and other menu items. They serve barbeque on Wednesday and Friday. Open daily, 6am-8pm. (956)765-1442. The store is located on the north lake shore at 2425 S. U.S. 83, Zapata, Texas. Reviews
 
El Rincon de los Angeles:
According to the Falcon Lake Tackle Shop they serve awesome specialty plates. (956) 765-8900. 309 S. U.S. 83.  Yelp Reviews  Falcon Lake Tackle Shop Reviews
 
Rex Tortilla Factory:
According to the Falcon Lake Tackle Shop they serve a great breakfast. Open daily at 5:30am; closed Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day. (956) 765-4748. Rex’s is located at 607 SH 16. Falcon Lake Tackle Shop Reviews