Back in the 1850's, a young Scott by the name of John McAllen settled in what is now the town of Hidalgo. His good friend, John Young, also settled in this area and soon married into a wealthy local family. Young soon thereafter died and John McAllen married Young's widow in 1862. John McAllen was no poor man to start with; however, with the combined wealth of his newfound bride he became one of the richest man in the area. Over the next few years, he continuously increased his land holdings to about 80,000 acres by 1904. It was at this time that he founded a town which he called West McAllen. At the same time another land developer, James Briggs purchased from Sheriff Closner 8000 acres at the price of $ 3 an acre and founded East McAllen. At this time the area was still being plagued by bandits and cattle rustlers but Sheriff Closner reportedly soon established law and order without the use of a gun.
McAllen, spurred on by the arrival of the Railroad in 1905, continued to grow and was finally incorporated in 1911. By 1916 McAllen's population totaled about 1000. The local economy got an incredible boost when 12,000 Soldiers where sent here to protect the local population from Revolutionary and Counterrevolutionary activities in Mexico.
In 1936 McAllen became the first city in the world to deliver mail across an International border by rocket. The project soon came to a halt when rockets started to crash in the streets of Reynosa;, however, of over 1500 pieces of mail which were sent in this manner 952 made it across the Rio Grande intact.
McAllen is one of the most important Gateway Cities
to Mexico and ranks among the top ten of the fastest growing
areas in the United States with it's reputation of
eternal springtime, easy
living and tons of entertainment. Called the "City of Palms", McAllen
not only attracts foreign businesses and retirees
who spend the winter here, but also tourists from the northern
part of the United States and Canada who make McAllen their last
stop before entering Mexico. However, McAllen is not only a Gateway city
to Mexico but also a very popular destination for Tour groups
from both sides of the border who continuously come to visit the
many interesting sites the Rio Grande Valley has to offer.