Last June I visited the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse in Hidalgo, Texas, a town that lies right on the border of Mexico in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley. Reynosa sits just on the other side of the Rio Grande River. Hidalgo was founded in 1852 and was first named Edinburgh, after the birthplace of Hidalgo’s founder. It became the county seat and the name was later changed to Hidalgo, which literally translates to “son of something” or loosely, “gentleman,” because it referred to someone of noble rank. The Hidalgo Pumphouse dates back to 1909, when it was built to service over 40,000 acres of land that needed irrigation, and was in operation until 1983 when a newer pump plant was opened nearby.
I went to visit the Old Pumphouse on a hot Thursday afternoon. It has been converted to a museum, and like the other parts of the lower valley, attracts birds because of the tropical climate, so it also functions as a birding center. I was the only visitor there, so it was quiet and peaceful, and I was surprised by just how beautiful it was. History and nature are two of my favorite things, and being able to combine the two is even better!