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Del Rio, Texas
—  City  —
Entrance sign to Del Rio
Location of Del Rio, Texas
Coordinates: 29°22′15″N 100°53′45″W / 29.37083°N 100.89583°W / 29.37083; -100.89583Coordinates: 29°22′15″N 100°53′45″W / 29.37083°N 100.89583°W / 29.37083; -100.89583
Country United States
State Texas
County Val Verde
 - Mayor Efrain V. Valdez
 - City Manager Frances Rodriguez
 - Total 15.4 sq mi (40.0 km2)
 - Land 15.4 sq mi (40.0 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 968 ft (295 m)
Population (2008)
 - Total 46,682
 Density 2,194.0/sq mi (846.9/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 78840-78843, 78847
Area code(s) 830/ 432
FIPS code 48-19792[1]
GNIS feature ID 1334233[2]
Amistad Reservoir, popular for water sports, is located west of Del Rio

Del Rio is a border city in and the county seat of Val Verde County, Texas, United States.[3]. Del Rio is connected with Ciudad Acuña via the Lake Amistad Dam International Crossing and Del Río-Ciudad Acuña International Bridge. Del Rio is also home to Laughlin Air Force Base, the busiest pilot training base in the United States Air Force. Del Rio's population is 46,682 as of 2008.


Micropolitan area

Del Rio is the principal city of the Del Rio Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Val Verde County;[4] the micropolitan area had an estimated population of 50,000 in 2007.[5] Located across from Del Rio, in the Mexican state of Coahuila, is the city of Ciudad Acuña.

Del Rio is known as the American address of legendary Mexican radio stations XERA and XERF just over the U.S.-Mexico border in Ciudad Acuña; their 500,000 watt signals could be heard at night as far away as Canada. Legendary deejay Wolfman Jack operated XERF in the 1960s, using a Del Rio address to sell various products advertised on the station.[6]


The Spanish established a small settlement south of the Rio Grande in present day Mexico and some Spaniards settled on what became the United States side of the Rio Grande as early as the 18th century. However, true development of the U.S. side of the Rio Grande did not begin until after the American Civil War.

The San Felipe Springs, about seven miles (11 km) east of the Rio Grande on the U.S. side of the border, produces 90 millions of gallons of water a day. Developers acquired several thousand acres of land adjacent to the springs, and the San Felipe Creek formed by the springs, from the State of Texas in exchange for building a canal system to irrigate the area. The developers sold tracts of land surrounding the canals to recover their investment and show a profit. These investors formed the San Felipe Agricultural, Manufacturing, and Irrigation Company in 1868. The organization completed construction of a network of irrigation canals in 1871. Residents referred to the slowly developing town as San Felipe Del Rio because local lore said the name came from early Spanish explorers who offered a Mass at the site on St. Philip's Day, 1635.

In 1883 local residents requested a post office be established. The United States Postal Department shortened "San Felipe del Rio" to "Del Rio" to avoid confusion with San Felipe de Austin. In 1885 Val Verde County was organized and Del Rio became the county seat. The City of Del Rio was incorporated on November 15, 1911.

An exhibit at the Whitehead Memorial Museum in Del Rio

The history of Del Rio is preserved, particularly the 19th century at the Whitehead Memorial Museum downtown.

In 1942, the Army Air Corps opened Laughlin Field nine miles (14 km) east of Del Rio as a training base for the Martin B-26, but it was deactivated in 1945. As the Cold War pressures built, Laughlin Field was rebuilt and renamed Laughlin Air Force Base (LAFB). It was again used as a home for flying training. In the mid-1950s, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) noted Laughlin's remoteness that allowed for secret operations, and opened its strategic reconnaissance program there with the RB-57, a bomber modified for high altitude reconnaissance. SAC soon transitioned to the high altitude U-2 Dragonlady and based all of them in Laughlin AFB. In 1962, it was Laughlin-based U-2s that took the first photographs of land-based nuclear missile (Medium Range Ballistic Missiles, or MRBMs) sites being constructed in Cuba. This was the photo intelligence that started the Cuban Missile Crisis. The U-2s were relocated to Davis-Monthan AFB near Tucson, AZ in July 1963 and Laughlin's mission transitioned to the Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) mission in the T-37 and T-38 aircraft. Laughlin AFB also provides training in the T-1A Jayhawk and the T-6A Texan II. Laughlin plays a large part in the Del Rio community as the area's largest employer. The Border Patrol is probably one of the town's largest employers (with two large stations in the city) along with the local school district.

Geography and climate

Del Rio is located at 29°22′15″N 100°53′45″W / 29.37083°N 100.89583°W / 29.37083; -100.89583 (29.370716, -100.895839).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.4 square miles (40.0 km²), of which, 15.4 square miles (40.0 km²) of it is land and 0.06% is water.

Del Rio lies on the northwestern edges of the Tamulipan Thornscrub, also called the south Texas brush country. It is also near the southwestern corner of the Edwards Plateau, which is the western fringe of the famous, oak savanna-covered Texas Hill Country; that area is dotted with numerous small springs; one of these is the San Felipe Springs, which provide a constant flow of water to San Felipe Creek. The creek supplied fresh water for drinking and irrigation to early settlers of Del Rio and the springs are still the town's water supply.

Del Rio, west to about the Pecos River, has a mix of desert shrub and steppe vegetation, depending on soil type, with the gray-leafed Ceniza (Leucophyllum spp.), Acacia, and Grama grasses dominant members of local flora. The terrain is mostly level, but some areas are dissected with substantial canyons and drainages, though none of the upland areas are high or large enough in areas to be considered mountains.

Cactus grows in the semi-arid climate of Del Rio.

The climate is semi-arid in moisture and subtropical in temperature. Humidity is more often high than low, with periodic morning fog due to Gulf of Mexico airmasses moving northeast into the area. This gives Del Rio and adjacent areas the effect of being in a coastal dryland area, even though the Gulf of Mexico is over 300 miles (480 km) away. Such humid periods alternate with periods of hot and dry desert airmasses in the spring and fall, or cold and dry great plains airmasses during winter months. Moisture rarely lasts long enough for weather systems to react with it to create much precipitation, as happens more frequently not far to the north and east of the area; there are exceptions during some autumns (tropical weather systems) and spring months (stalled fronts to the north).

Summers are long, hot, and frequently humid; winter months vary between sunny, warm, cloudy, and cool weather, depending on the wind direction and jet stream location. Snow or freezing rain is rare, about every 7 to 10 years, and such wintry precipitation does not occur most winters, or last long enough to be of consequence.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 90 99 101 106 109 112 108 109 110 106 96 90
Norm High °F 62.8 68 76 82.7 88.7 93.7 96.2 96 90.6 81.7 70.9 63.5
Norm Low °F 39.7 44.1 51.6 58.5 66.7 72.1 74.3 74.1 69.4 60.5 49.2 41.2
Rec Low °F 15 14 21 33 45 55 64 64 48 28 22 10
Precip (in) 0.57 0.96 0.96 1.71 2.31 2.34 2.02 2.16 2.06 2 0.96 0.75
Source: [1]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 33,867 people, 10,778 households, and 8,514 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,194.0 people per square mile (846.9/km²). There were 11,895 housing units at an average density of 770.6/sq mi (297.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.78% White, 1.21% African American, 0.70% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 17.79% from other races, and 2.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 81.04% of the population.

There were 10,778 households out of which 42.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.3% were married couples living together, 15.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.0% were non-families. 18.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.09 and the average family size was 3.56.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.7% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,387, and the median income for a family was $30,788. Males had a median income of $27,255 versus $17,460 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,199. About 22.9% of families and 27.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.8% of those under age 18 and 26.4% of those age 65 or over.


Del Rio International Airport serves the city.

Continental Airlines provides commercial airline service from Del Rio to Houston.

Amtrak provides passenger rail service on the Sunset Limited route via the Del Rio station, which travels eastbound to San Antonio and continues to New Orleans, and westbound to El Paso, continuing to Los Angeles.




The city is served by the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District. There are around 10,450 students and 637 teachers at 14 campuses.[8]

Higher education

Famous residents

  • Jessica Alba, an American actress, Was a resident when her father was stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base.
  • Judge Roy Bean, though associated with Langtry to the west, Bean is interred in at the Whitehead Memorial Museum.
  • Lance Blanks, retired NBA player. Drafted in the first round by the Detroit Pistons.
  • Larvell Blanks, a Major League Baseball infielder. Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians and the Texas Rangers
  • Sid Blanks, retired AFL football player. Played for the Houston Oilers.
  • John R. Brinkley, a controversial medical doctor who experimented with goat glands as a means of curing male impotence.
  • Radney Foster, an American country music singer/songwriter.
  • Todd Hays, an American bobsledder, who won the silver medal in the four-man event at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.
  • Wolfman Jack, a disc jockey who became world famous in the 1960s and 1970s, first began his career in radio on the clear-channel AM station XERF.
  • Jay Kerr, born November 16, 1952) is an American born actor from Del Rio, Texas, USA. He was raised on a ranch in Texas. Growing up, he raced horses. He has appeared in various movies and television series including his longest role as Con Madigan in the series Five Mile Creek for three years
  • Shawn Michaels, a professional wrestler, was a resident when his father was stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base.
  • Jim Miller, a nationally known sportscaster for Westwood One Broadcasting, and celebrity wedding photographer
  • Jerry Edwin Smith, judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
  • Byron Velvick, Bassmasters pro fisherman and reality show contestant on The Bachelor.
  • Hoke Hayden "Hooks" Warner (May 22, 1894 – February 19, 1947) was a baseball player for the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was 170 pounds and batted left and threw right. He started his career on August 21, 1916. His final game was on June 17, 1921. He was born on May 22, 1894 in Del Rio, Texas. He died on February 19, 1947 in San Francisco, California.
  • Robert Leon Gruber Jr. (born June 7, 1958 in Del Rio, Texas) is a former American football offensive tackle in the National Football League who played for the Green Bay Packers.[1] Gruber played collegiate ball for the University of Pittsburgh before being drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 10th round of the 1980 NFL. He played professionally for the following teams USFL Jacksonville Bulls (1984–1985, NFL Cleveland Browns (1986),NFL Green Bay Packers (1987),NFL Miami Dolphins (1987) and the NFL Washington Redskins (1987).

Del Rio Culture and Film

The 1994 movie Texas (James A. Michener's Texas)[12] had some scenes filmed in Del Rio.[citation needed] The movie, which took place in the beginning of the 19th century as many Anglo-Saxons were settling in the Mexican province of Texas, featured Randy Travis and Anthony Michael Hall.

  • 1951 Arrowhead - Charlton Heston
  • 1955 The Last Command - Ernest Borgnine
  • 1958 Five Bold Women - Irish McCalla
  • 1959 John Wayne's The Alamo
  • 1960 The Spirit of the Alamo (TV) - NBC
  • 1960 Roy Rogers Show (TV)
  • 1960 John Ford's - Two Rode Together - Jimmy Stewart
  • 1966 Top Hand (TV)
  • 1967 Aye, That Pancho Villa (TV)
  • 1967 Bandolero - Dean Martin
  • 1968 Children's West (Lon Chaney, Jr.) (TV)
  • 1973 A Death in Tombstone
  • 1974 The Sugarland Express - Goldie Hawn
  • 1974 The Texas Ballad (KLRN-TV)
  • 1978 Adventures of Jody Shanan
  • 1983 Call to Glory - Craig T. Nelson, Elizabeth Shue (TV)
  • 1986 Houston - Legend of Texas (TV) - Sam Elliott
  • 1986 The Alamo - Thirteen Days To Glory (TV) - Alec Baldwin
  • 1986 No Safe Haven - Wings Hauser
  • 1987 Alamo: Price of Freedom - Caser Biggs
  • 1988 Lonesome Dove (TV) - Robert Duvall
  • 1989 Gunsmoke - The Last Apache (TV) - James Arness
  • 1991 JCV Japanese Quiz Show (TV)
  • 1991 American Movie Classics (TV - Bob Dorian
  • 1992 Rio Diablo (TV) - Travis Tritt
  • 1992 Travis Smith (direct to video)
  • 1993 Bad Girls - Madeleine Stowe
  • 1993 Like Water for Chocolate
  • 1993 El Mariachi, Robert Rodriguez
  • 1994 8 Seconds - Luke Perry
  • 1994 Gambler V: Playing for Keeps (TV) - Kenny Rogers
  • 1994 James A. Michener's, Texas (TV) - John Schneider
  • 1994 Good Old Boys (TV) - Sam Shephard
  • 1995 Streets of Laredo (TV) - James Garner
  • 1995 A&E History Channel's The Alamo (TV)
  • 1995 Discovery Channel's - The Battes of the Alamo (TV)
  • 1995 PBS - Ken Burns The West (TV)
  • 1995 A&E Biography - Davy Crockett: American Frontier Legend (TV)
  • 1995 The Learning Channel's - Famous Battles - Alamo Segment (TV)
  • 1995 Discovery Channel's - Buffalo Soldiers (TV)
  • 1995 Desparado, Robert Rodriguez, Antonio Banderas, Selma Hayek
  • 1996 From Dusk Till Dawn is a 1996 action/horror film directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino. The movie stars George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis, and Cheech Marin.
  • 1996 Once upon A Time In China and America - Sammo Hung
  • 1996 Lone Star - by director John Sayles
  • 1999 Alamo... The New Defenders (direct to video)
  • 1999 The Bullfighter - Domenica Scorsese
  • 1999 The History Channel's - Haunted San Antonio (TV)
  • 2000 Jericho Mark Valley - Leon Coffee - Buck Taylor
  • 2001 The History Channel's History vs Hollywood (TV)
  • 2002 Westown Sturghill Productions
  • 2004 Bandido, Carlos Gallardo, Scott Duncan
  • 2006 Blue Eyes - Walker Cable Productions
  • 2006 Mexican Gold - Walker Cable Productions
  • 2007 The Man Who Came Back - Walker Cable Productions - Eric Braden - Billy Zane
  • 2007 Friend of The Devil (TV Pilot)
  • 2007 No Country for Old Men
  • 2009 Not Forgotten

Urban Neighborhoods

Barrio Chihuahua: In the southern part of the city, the neighborhood is named after the Chihuahua Soccer Field, located in between to the north West Gibbs, to the west Texas State Spur 29, to the southeast Garfield Ave., West Garfield, and to the far east S. Ave F.

Buena Vista: One of the highest income neighborhoods in Del Rio, Buena Vista is located near Buena Vista Park.

Cienegas Terraces: Technically outside the city limits, but considered a neighborhood nonetheless, Cienegas Terraces is also home to the "Duck Pond" and various ranches, on the west side of the city.

Eastside: Named that by locals after the school on the corner of Bedell & 7th Street, the neighborhood is also home to Star Park. Surrounded by Veterans Boulevard to the west and E. Gibbs to the south, the neighborhood is home to the Val Verde Regional Medical Center.

San Felipe: The original neighborhood in Del Rio, the city originally got it name from it as in "San Felipe del rio",south of chihuahua and the Northside. Note: Anywhere south of Chihuahua but not past San Felipe Creek is known as The Winery, due to its close proximity to The Winery, the oldest privately owned winery still operating in the United States.

Westside: Home to Del Rio International Airport, the neighborhood is surrounded to the north by W. 15th, 18th, and 17th streets, to the east by Veterans Blvd., and to the south by W. Gibbs bordering Chihuahua.

Comalia: A neighborhood isolated by the Woodlawn cemetery and a bridge that leads to the U.S.-Mexico border crossing. It can be found by traveling down W. 2nd Street.

Music Videos

  • 1980 Willie Nelson - Tougher Than Leather
  • 1995 Brooks & Dunn - You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone
  • 1996 Gary Hobbs - Corazon de la Ardiente
  • 1996 La Tropa F - The Sheriff
  • 1996 Los Palominos
  • 1999 Shade of Red - Revolution

Post Offices

Del Rio Post Office, 2001 North Bedell Avenue, Del Rio, Texas 78840-9998

Pecan Post Office, 114 East Broadway, Del Rio, Texas 78840-9997

See also


External links

Simple English

Del Rio is a border city in and the county seat of Val Verde County, Texas, United States. It is near the Laughlin Air Force Base.


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