The city of Harlingen operates a busy industrial airpark where bombers used to land. At Valley International Airport the Confederate Air Force (now Commemorative Air Force) occupied hangar and apron space until 1991. The first hospital in Harlingen opened in 1923 and consisted of little more than two barracks as wings. The Valley Baptist Hospital was built nearby a few years later, and eventually the older hospital closed. The Valley Baptist Hospital has grown into the Valley Baptist Medical Center. The city's outstanding network of health care specialists and facilities parallels the growth of the still-expanding center. Also serving regional health needs are the South Texas State Chest Hospital, the State Hospital for Children, and the Rio Grande State Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center.
Besides public and church-affiliated schools, Harlingen students attend the University Preparatory School, the Marine Military Academy, Texas State Technical College, or Rio Grande Vocational and Rehabilitation Classes. Civic and cultural development in Harlingen has kept pace with the growth of the community. Fraternal orders and civic organizations operating in the community include Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Optimist, 20-30, VFW, American Legion, and the Lower Valley Cotillion Club; a woman's building is maintained as a center for the activities of the many woman's clubs active in the city. Development and appreciation of the fine arts are encouraged by organizations such as the Rio Grande Valley Art League, the Art Forum, and the Rio Grande Valley Civic Association, which stages its winter concert series at the 2,300-seat Harlingen Municipal Auditorium. Each March Harlingen is the site of the Rio Grande Valley International Music Festival. The city has two newspapers—the Harlingen Press, a weekly paper established in 1951, and the Valley Morning Star, a daily established in 1911. In 1990 the population was 48,735. In 1992 the city was named an All-America City, cited especially for its volunteer spirit and self-help programs. In 2000 the community had 57,564 inhabitants and 2,549 businesses.
Soils in Harlingen range in texture from fine sandy loam to clay. They are neutral to moderately alkaline with pH of 7.2 to 8.5 (most commonly around 8.2), and are moderately well drained or well drained in most cases. There are small areas of poorly drained, saline clays.
|1920 ||1,784||— |
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Texas Almanac: 1850-2010</center>
As of the census of 2000, there were 57,564 people, 19,021 households, and 14,360 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,689.6 people per square mile (652.4/km²). There were 23,008 housing units at an average density of 675.3 per square mile (260.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.68% White, 0.92% Black or African American, 0.52% Native American, 0.88% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 16.39% from other races, and 2.58% from two or more races. 72.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race; most are of Mexican descent due to the proximity of the border.
As in other cities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, a significant part of Harlingen's transient population and a significant contributor to its economy consists of "Winter Texans." Winter Texans are generally retirees from the northern Midwestern states and Canada who come to escape the northern winter weather between roughly November and March.
There were 19,021 households, out of which 38.6% had children under the age of 18, 55.6% were married couples living together, 16.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 20.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.44.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.7% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,296, and the median income for a family was $34,015. Males had a median income of $27,014 versus $21,795 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,886. About 19.3% of families and 24.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.7% of those under age 18 and 16.2% of those age 65 or over.
Sports and recreation
Harlingen is the home of the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings, a United Baseball League Minor league baseball team. The team has existed from 1994 to 2003 and from 2006 to 2015. In 2000, the WhiteWings won the Texas-Louisiana League championship.
Valley Race Park is a racetrack for Greyhound dogs. Valley Race Park was the first greyhound track in Texas to accept Pari-Mutuel wagering. The facility is fully air-conditioned and the grandstands totals over Script error: No such module "convert".. The grandstand has over 400 monitors to pick up the 50 plus Simulcast Live Racing signals from the top Greyhound and Horse tracks from all around the United States. Valley Race Park shut down in the fall of 1995 but reopened five years later, in the spring of 2000.
The World Birding Center has a location in Harlingen's Hugh Ramsey Nature Park. Work continues on designs for a new Script error: No such module "convert". visitors’ center at Hugh Ramsey Nature Park. The two-story center will include a gift shop, observation tower, meeting rooms and enclosed viewing areas. Meanwhile, visitors at both Ramsey Park and the Thicket will find parking and extensive trails, as well as maps, information and public restrooms.
The city is governed by a Mayor elected at-large and a 5 Member City Commission representing 5 individual Single-Member District. All seats are eligible for election every 3 years. The Current Mayor is Mayor Chris Boswell. The City Commissioners are District 1 Danny Castillo, District 2 Tudor Ulhorn, District 3 Mike Mezmar, District 4 Basilio "Chino" Sanchez, and District 5 Victor Leal.
The City Commission meets on the First and Third Wednesdays of each month at 5:30 pm at City Hall.
The Harlingen Police Department, led by Interim Chief of Police Stephen Scot Mayer, embraces the community policing philosophy. In 2011, the Department boasted a 9% reduction in Uniform Part One Crimes (P1C). In 2012, the Department brought forth a 20% reduction in P1C. 2013 saw another 20% reduction in P1Cs, and within the first three months of 2014, the Department was already reporting a 24% reduction in P1Cs. The Department attributes these successes to its DDACTS implementation and the unwavering cooperation of the citizens of Harlingen. The Harlingen Police Department is a civil service department with 134 police officers. The main objective of these men and women is defined by the department’s Mission Statement: ‘…to provide services with integrity and dedication, to preserve life, to enforce the law, and to work in partnership with the community to enhance the quality of life in the City of Harlingen. The Department mission is in support of our Departmental Vision which is simply: ‘To ensure a safe and proud Community where people live, work, and visit; free from the fear of crime’. The police force consists of one Chief, one Assistant Chief, three Deputy Chiefs, five Commanders, twelve Sergeants, and one hundred and eleven sworn police officers. The personnel are assigned to various divisions for duties, and through teamwork, cover more than 40.31 square miles of City limits, incorporating more than 308.88 miles of paved roadways using 98 police vehicles (marked and unmarked) and serving and protecting a residential population of over 65,000 citizens.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Harlingen Parole Office in Harlingen.
The United States Postal Service operates two post offices in Harlingen, including the Harlingen Post Office and the Downtown Harlingen post office.
U.S. Justice Department
Harlingen is home to the U.S. Immigration Court, one of 52 such courts in the U.S. that adjudicate immigration cases in the United States. The chief function of the Immigration Court is to conduct removal proceedings, which are administrative proceedings to determine the removability of non-citizens present within the United States.
U.S. Homeland Security Agencies
The United States Border Patrol Harlingen Station is located at 3902 S. Expressway 77 Harlingen, Texas.
The Harlingen Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC) is located at 1300 W Teege Ave, Harlingen, TX. This facility host Reserve components of the United States Armed Forces units from the U.S. Army Reserve, the U.S. Navy Reserve Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Harlingen and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve 1st Battalion 23rd Marines Charlie Company. This facility is mostly use for monthly drills. A Military Retiree Activities Office is also at the Harlingen AFRC.
The city is covered by the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District and South Texas Independent School District. Harlingen is home to three high schools - Early College High School, Harlingen High School and Harlingen High School South. Saint Anthony Catholic School is a parochial school for grades K-8 (with a 3 & 4 year old Montessori Program). It is one of the few Catholic school in the city of Harlingen with a current enrollment of 220 students.
The Marine Military Academy, a nationally recognized, private, all male college preparatory school is located in Harlingen.
Universities and colleges
The city has a branch of the Texas State Technical College, a two-year technical school and access to University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College in nearby Brownsville, South Texas College in McAllen, and University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg.
In 2002, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio opened the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in Harlingen. Third and fourth-year medical students from the San Antonio campus can complete their clinical rotations in the Rio Grande Valley based at the RAHC. The RAHC also supports an Internal Medicine Residency Program. The RAHC medical library is open to the public.
Southern Careers Institute has a campus located in Harlingen too.
The Harlingen Public Library serves local residents.
Harlingen Medical Center is a nationally recognized and award-winning general acute care hospital, located in Harlingen, Texas. HMC medical services include: Bariatric (Surgical Weight Loss), Cardiac Surgery, Cardiology, Emergency, Gastroenterology, Imaging Services, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Obstetric & Gynecology, Orthopedic, Orthopedic Surgery, Pediatric, Sleep Apnea Treatment, Vascular & Endovascular Surgery, and Wound Healing Care.
Since opening its doors in October 2002, Harlingen Medical Center has been committed to creating the best possible experience for its patients by nurturing a culture that is focused on patient care and the creation of the HMC experience, making advanced treatment options available, and supporting the health and wellness of the communities it serves.
The state-of-the-art facility opened in October 2002 and features 112 beds, all private suites. Harlingen Medical Center provides the most advanced and up to date medical care in the Rio Grande Valley.
Valley Baptist Medical Center (VBMC) has been the Rio Grande Valley's leader in excellence in health care and medical advancements for more than 85 years. Valley Baptist has pioneered many types of heart and stroke procedures, joint replacement surgeries, women's and children's services, robotic and other minimally-invasive surgeries, and other procedures in the Valley. The full-service hospital, by far the largest hospital in Cameron County with 586 beds, is located at Ed Carey Drive and Pease Street in Harlingen. With a 38-room state-of-the-art Emergency Department, complete with a roof-top heliport, Valley Baptist serves as the lead trauma center in the region - and is the only hospital in the area offering comprehensive stroke services, including advanced endovascular neurology procedures. Patients from across the United States and Canada come to Valley Baptist for orthopedic surgery, including knee and hip replacements. Valley Baptist also offers a complete array of women's and children's services, including the only Newborn Intensive Care Unit in Harlingen; the only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Cameron County; private Labor/Delivery/Recovery Suites; a family-centered maternity care unit; women's surgery suites; Day Surgery; and outpatient services. In addition, Valley Baptist addresses some of the area's most crucial health concerns through the area's only certified diabetes education program, as well as a wound care center and Foot Care Institute; and a Surgical and Medical Weight Loss Program.
Harlingen's third hospital, Solara Hospital is a long-term acute care facility where patients can receive treatment for as long as a month, compared to general hospitals where patients are treated for shorter periods. The 41–bed hospital is owned by Solara Healthcare of Dallas, Valley Baptist Health System and local physicians.
Valley Diagnostic Clinic was a large outpatient facility with both primary care physicians and specialists in fields such as cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology, etc. After 55 years of operation, it closed under somewhat obscure circumstances in October 2009.
The Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) is a teaching hospital that serves as an extension campus of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Su Clinica Familiar offers services tailored to the border region, concentrating in the areas of dentistry, internal medicine, women’s health and pediatrics. Services are mostly tailored for the poor. It has a teaching partnership with the nearby Regional Academic Health Center.
Valley AirCare, Inc. provides emergency medical and critical patient transport helicopter service within Script error: No such module "convert". of its Harlingen base and fixed-wing service throughout North America.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs VA Health Care Center (HCC) at Harlingen is located at 2601 Veterans Drive Harlingen, TX. This is the main Veterans Administration Medical facility under the VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System for veterans in the Rio Grande Valley area. Some of the specialities Ambulatory Surgery, Cardiology, Dental Clinic, ENT, Eye Clinic, Gastroenterology, Laboratory, Behavioral Health, Dermatology, Orthopedics, Physical Medicine & Rehab, Podiatry, Prosthetics/Amputee Clinic, Pulmonary, Rheumatology, Urology, GU Clinic, Infectious Disease, General Surgery, Home Health (includes CCHT, Community Nursing Home, and other Home Health programs). The VA also offers Laboratory, Mental Health, Nutrition, Optometry, Social Work and other primary care services for Harlingen Veterans at The Harlingen VA Outpatient Clinic located at 2106 Treasure Hills Blvd Harlingen, TX. Veterans organizations and elected officials are still lobbying for a full VA hospital in Harlingen to serve veterans in the Río Grande Valley area.
The Harlingen Ambulatory Surgery and Specialty Outpatient Center opened in January 2011 and provides care to veterans. Orthopedics, Urology, Gastroenterology, Otolaryngology (ENT), Infectious Disease, Dermatology, Cardiology, Oncology, Neurology, Rheumatology, Amputee/Prosthetics Clinic and Endoscopy services are offered.
The Rio Grande State Center is the only public provider in the Rio Grande Valley of healthcare, inpatient mental health services and long term services for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The center's psychiatric hospital is a 55-bed in-patient facility and the long-term program is a 75-bed residential facility. The outpatient medical clinic provides primary care services to adults in south Texas.
The Ronald McDonald House on Treasure Hills Boulevard opened in 1998 and is funded by private donations, grants, and fundraising events. It is a "home away from home" for families of children being treated for serious illness or injury. Many families travel to large medical centers to get the best treatment for their children. Ronald McDonald Houses provide a safe, comfortable place for a family to stay as they face the trauma of their child's illness. The family can stay in the House at a very nominal charge while their child is being diagnosed and treated for illness. There are 232 Houses in the United States and 22 other countries, providing approximately 6,000 rooms every night at Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide. Each Ronald McDonald House is run by a local non-profit organization of members of the medical community, business and civic leaders, parents/volunteers, and McDonald's restaurant owners and operators.
The city's airport, Valley International Airport, has a service area that encompasses the lower Rio Grande Valley and northern Mexico, serving more than two million people on both sides of the US-Mexico border. Valley International Airport lies in the northeastern portion of Harlingen and offers a border-crossing option via the Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios. The airport has aligned itself as the Air Cargo Hub of the Rio Grande Valley and works closely with carriers such as DHL, FedEx, BAX Global, Continental Express Cargo, and Southwest Airlines Cargo. In 1975, Southwest Airlines began to fly to the Rio Grande Valley via Valley International Airport with four roundtrips each business day. Southwest currently offers non-stop flights between Harlingen and Austin, Dallas-Love Field, Houston-Hobby, and San Antonio. Additional airlines that serve the airport include United Express to Houston-Intercontinental, Sun Country Airlines with seasonal, non-stop service to Minneapolis-St. Paul and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and Delta Air Lines with seasonal, non-stop service to Minneapolis-St. Paul.
The city of Harlingen is at the confluence of U.S. Route 77 and U.S. Route 83, designated as Interstate 69E and Interstate 2 respectively. Interstate 69E runs through north-south through Harlingen while the city serves as the eastern terminus of Interstate 2. U.S. Route 77 connects the Rio Grande Valley to Interstate 37 at Corpus Christi. U.S. Route 83 connects the Rio Grande Valley with Interstate 35 at Laredo.
International trade bridges
The Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios is a state-of-the-art international bridge located just Script error: No such module "convert". south of Harlingen. With a full U.S. Customs inspection facility that accommodates up to 75 trucks simultaneously, the Free Trade Bridge is acclaimed as the most time-efficient border crossing in the Rio Grande Valley. The Free Trade Bridge accesses a four-lane highway in northern Mexico, offering a fast route to the border cities of Matamoros and Reynosa, as well as the industrial city of Monterrey. With the completion of Mexico's State of Tamaulipas new 'autopista', the Free Trade Bridge will provide a seamless highway connection for more efficient distribution of industrial products to and from interior Mexico.
The Port of Harlingen is located four miles (6 km) east of Harlingen on Highway 106. It is Script error: No such module "convert". West of Mile Marker 646 on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which stretches from the Mexican border at Brownsville, along the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico to St. Marks, Florida. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway provides over Script error: No such module "convert". of protected waterway, 12' deep and 125' wide. The Harlingen Channel is maintained to a width of Script error: No such module "convert". and a depth of Script error: No such module "convert". and is supplied by the Arroyo Colorado, a fresh water river.
Union Pacific Railroad has a local terminal and switching yard in Harlingen. The Harlingen Industrial Parks and Port of Harlingen have direct rail access.
Harlingen has a rich history as a railroad town. The Southern Pacific depot has been razed, however, it was one of four SP depots in the Rio Grande valley (the others are Brownsville, now a museum; McAllen, now a law office; and Edinburg, now the home of the Chamber of Commerce.)
Culture and points of interest
- Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum
- Harlingen Performing Arts Theater
- Iwo Jima Memorial Museum
- Iwo Jima Memorial Monument
Media and journalism
- XHRIO-TV (Channel 2, Matamoros, Tamaulipas (Mexico), licensee: Univision, Fox affiliate)
- KGBT-TV (Channel 4, Harlingen, Texas, licensee: Barrington Broadcasting, CBS affiliate)
- KRGV-TV (Channel 5, Weslaco, Texas, licensee: Mobile Video Tapes, Inc., ABC affiliate)
- XHAB-TV (Channel 7 Televisa/Matamoros Mexico, McAllen, Harlingen-Brownsville)
- XERV-TV (Channel 9 Televisa/Matamoros Mexico, McAllen, Harlingen-Brownsville)
- XHREY-TV (Channel 12 TV AZTECA NORESTE/Reynosa Mexico, Rio Grande City-McAllen-Weslaco)
- XHOR-TV (Channel 14 TV AZTECA NORESTE/Reynosa Mexico, Rio Grande City-McAllen-Weslaco)
- KHGN-TV (Cable Channel 17, Harlingen, Texas, operator: Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, Public Relations Office.)
- KVEO (Channel 23, Brownsville, Texas, licensee: Comcorp of Texas License Corp., NBC affiliate)
- KTLM (Channel 40, Rio Grande City, Texas, licensee: Sunbelt Media Co., Telemundo affiliate)
- KNVO (Channel 48, McAllen, Texas, licensee: Entravision Holdings, LLC., Univision affiliate)
- XHVTV (Channel 54 Multimedios TV/Reynosa/Matamoros Mexico, McAllen-Weslaco/ Harlingen-Brownsville)
- KMBH (Channel 60, Harlingen, Texas, licensee: RGV Educational Broadcasting, Inc. PBS)
- KHID 88.1 FM PBS/NPR
- KBNR 88.3 FM Radio Manantial (Spanish Christian)
- KOIR Radio Esperanza 88.5 (Spanish Christian)
- KJJF 88.9 FM PBS/NPR
- XMLS 91.3 FM (Top-40)
- KTER 90.7 FM (Religious)
- KCAS The New 91.5 / "Know Christ As Savior" (English Traditional Christian & Southern Gospel)
- KESO 92.7 FM (Spanish)
- KFRQ Q94.5 (Classic/Modern/Hard Rock)
- KBTQ Recuerdo 96.1 FM (Mexican Oldies)
- KVMV Family Friendly & Commercial Free 96.9 FM (Adult Contemporary Christian)
- KGBT-FM Solamente Exitos 98.5 FM (Mexican Norteña)
- KKPS Que Pasa 99.5 FM (Puro Trancazos)
- KTEX South Texas Country 100.3 FM (Country)
- KNVO-FM Jose 101.1 FM (Spanish Hits)
- KBUC 102.1 FM Super Tejano (Tejano)
- KBFM Wild 104.1 FM (Hip-Hop/R&B)
- KRIO-FM 104.9 "Jack" FM (Adult Hits)
- KQXX 105.5 FM "The X" (Classic Rock)
- XHNA 105.9 FM (Spanish)
- KBIC 105.7 FM (Spanish)
- KHKZ Kiss 106.3 FM (Hot AC)
- KVLY Mix 107.9 FM (Top 40)
- KURV 710 AM Talk
- KVJY 840 AM Fox Sports
- KRIO 910 AM Spanish
- KUBR 1210 AM Spanish
- KSOX 1240 AM Fox Sports
- KRGE 1290 AM Spanish
- XRDO 1450 AM Spanish Talk
- XEMS 1490 AM Spanish
- KGBT 1530 AM Spanish
- KIRT 1580 AM Spanish
- KVNS 1700 AM Oldies
These people were born or lived in Harlingen:
- Peter Galvan, Good samaritan
- Leo Araguz, American football player.
- Thomas Haden Church, actor.
- Harry Nyquist
- Danielle Doty, Miss Texas Teen USA 2011, Miss Teen USA 2011
- Cayetano Garza, cartoonist.
- Gina Haley, singer-songwriter.
- Jeffrey Thompson, Idaho State representative.
- Kim Young, professional golfer.
- Blanca Vela, first female Mayor of Brownsville, Texas (1999-2003), born and raised in Harlingen.