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Mercedes, Texas
Downtown Mercedes in August 2010
Downtown Mercedes in August 2010
The Queen City
"It Starts Here!"
Location of Mercedes, Texas
Location of Mercedes, Texas
Hidalgo County Mercedes.svg
Country  United States
State  Texas
County Flag of Hidalgo County, Texas.png Hidalgo
 • Total 11.86 sq mi (30.72 km2)
 • Land 11.80 sq mi (30.56 km2)
 • Water 0.06 sq mi (0.17 km2)
69 ft (21 m)
 • Total 15,570
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,407.24/sq mi (543.34/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 956
FIPS code 48-47700
GNIS feature ID 1341366

Mercedes is a U.S. city in Hidalgo County, Texas. The population was 15,570 at the 2010 census. It is part of the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission and Reynosa–McAllen metropolitan areas.


Mercedes is located at 26°8′58″N 97°55′7″W / 26.14944°N 97.91861°W / 26.14944; -97.91861 (26.149315, -97.918675).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22 km2), of which 8.6 square miles (22 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.69%) is water.


Downtown Mercedes in 1915.
Mercedes Firehouse.

Mercedes is known as "The Queen City of the Valley" or "La Reina del Valle". The city of Mercedes was founded September 15, 1907, by the American Rio Grande Land & Irrigation Company, and was incorporated March 8, 1909. It is one of the oldest towns in the Rio Grande Valley, and the city celebrated its centennial in 2007.

The city was located in Capisallo Pasture, part of Capisallo Ranch owned by Jim Welles. This location was known as the Pear Orchard because of the vast numbers of prickly pear cactus growing there at that time.

Some sources state that the original name given to the city was Diaz in honor of Porfirio Diaz, then president of Mexico. Later it was renamed Mercedes Diaz in honor of the president's wife and from that, Mercedes became the Queen City. This story, however, is historically inaccurate, given that neither of Diaz's two wives were named Mercedes.

General Zachary Taylor's headquarters was to the southeast of Mercedes near the river. There the old Rabb Ranch was famous for its stagecoach stop and riverboat landing for the riverboats that plied the Rio Grande carrying supplies to the settlements and military installations.

The old Toluca Ranch still stands east of the International Bridge at Progreso, the sister city to the south. This ranch was close to the river and a prized target for the bandidos during the days of Pancho Villa. It was built with many secret rooms and passages and heavy wooden shutters on the windows to protect its residents.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 1,209
1920 3,414 182.4%
1930 6,608 93.6%
1940 7,624 15.4%
1950 10,081 32.2%
1960 10,943 8.6%
1970 9,355 −14.5%
1980 11,851 26.7%
1990 12,694 7.1%
2000 13,649 7.5%
2010 15,570 14.1%
2019 (est.) 16,604 6.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

At the 2000 census, there were 13,649 people, 4,170 households and 3,348 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,591.2 per square mile (614.2/km2). There were 5,455 housing units at an average density of 636.0 per square mile (245.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 79.42% White, 0.36% African American, 0.89% Native American, 0.07% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 16.95% from other races, and 2.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 90.01% of the population.

There were 4,170 households, of which 41.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 21.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.7% were non-families. 18.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.27 and the average family size was 3.75.

32.9% of the population were under the age of 18, 11.5% from 18 to 24, 22.8% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.

The median household income was $23,064 and the median family income was $25,339. Males had a median income of $19,945 versus $18,387 for females. The per capita income for the city was $8,658. About 30.4% of families and 36.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 49.4% of those under age 18 and 30.3% of those age 65 or over.

Public Arts

Mercedes tx 2016-08-29-
One of many cowboy boots displayed throughout Mercedes

Mercedes is home to the most unique Public Art project in the state of Texas. There are 30 handcrafted 5 1/2 foot tall cowboy boots dispersed throughout the city, each beautifully painted with different colleges from around the state, country and even Mexico. People who are passionate about their alma mater come from all over to take a picture with their boot.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Mercedes has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.


Mercedes is divided between two school districts: eastern Mercedes is in the Mercedes Independent School District, zoned to Mercedes High School, while western Mercedes is in the Weslaco Independent School District, zoned to Weslaco East High School

In addition, South Texas Independent School District, which is headquartered in Mercedes, serves magnet students in many Rio Grande Valley communities, including Mercedes.

The Science Academy of South Texas and South Texas High School for Health Professions, schools of STISD, are in Mercedes.

In 2015, the city joined other cities in south Texas in support of the newly formed University of Texas Rio Grande Valley by adopting a resolution declaring August 31 as UTRGV day. Also, they recognized the university by installing a boot with the university logos right across the municipal city hall.

Public libraries

Dr Hector P Garcia Library serves Mercedes.

Notable people

  • Natalia Anciso, artist and educator
  • Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, author and professor of English
  • Billy Gene Pemelton, Olympic pole vaulter (1964)
  • Elida Reyna, Tejano musician
  • Jeff Wentworth, state senator
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