Climb aboard the charter bus, your destination: Harlingen, Texas.
This is a pretty place, full of the old, along with the new.
Standing in downtown Harlingen today, the 20th century stretches out before you. Here the community began to take shape about 100 years ago. Anglo settlers came by wagon, rail, and high-wheeled stagecoach to join Hispanic pioneers in a landscape thick with mesquite, coyotes, and cactus. In 1902, land developer Lon C. Hill, a lawyer from Beeville, Texas, bought 11,000 acres of fertile Rio Grande delta lands from the King Ranch and the Cameron County Court.
This town invites you and all on board your charter bus, to tour Harlingen today and discover its many historic and contemporary charms. Take a closer look at some remarkable old buildings that have been restored to new life as homes and offices, shops, banks, and cafes. Appreciate the city's unique blending of Mexican and south Texas cultures and understand why our rich history has become a source of pride and joy.
There is a great walking tour you and the gang from the charter bus can take. It goes through the whole downtown. The people of Harlingen, have done a great job, making their downtown very delightful and friendly.
There is Villarreal Grocery/Jorge's Shoe Shop. Julian Villarreal, descendent of a Spanish land grant family, built a frame store on this site in the early days of Harlingen. In 1936, the frame store was replaced by this Spanish colonial style building. Julian’s widow, Emma, ran a grocery store and meat market here for many years. This is just one of many small family run businesses that built this great city.
La Placita Diaz/Gutierrez Park is a neat place to go. You and the gang from your charter bus will appreciate this remarkable past. Harlingen is one of many Texas towns that incorporated plazas from the Hispanic tradition into its layout. Lon C. Hill marked Plaza Porfirio Diaz on his 1911 plot of the city, in honor of the Mexican ruler. The plaza was renamed Gutierrez Park in 1980, in memory of Lt. George Gutierrez, Jr., who died in Vietnam. The gazebo dates to 1984 and is modeled after public bandstands in Mexico and Spain.
Another interesting stop for your charter bus group is The Heritage Park along the tracks. The Early Days is the first of several murals that will surround a Heritage Park being created by the city on land west of the railroad tracks. The 80’ mural, painted by Jermain Steed in 2001, depicts aspects of Harlingen’s founding and early years. You and everyone riding on the charter bus will love this mural.
There is a wonderful museum that has lots of history. The Marine Military Academy Museum/Gift Shop alongside the beautiful Iwo Jima Monument, has become one of the true success stories of the Marine Military Academy. The Iwo Jima Monument, is the original full-sized creation of the renowned artist and sculptor, Dr. Felix de Weldon, and was used for the casting of the monument erected at Arlington Cemetery outside Washington, D.C. After completion of the monument this sculpture was placed in storage until the early 1980's when its creator donated it to the Academy. Donations were collected to fund the transport and resembling of the monument, which was supervised by its creator and on 16 April 1982 the monument, was officially dedicated. History buffs in your charter bus group will be buzzing about that stop.
Harlingen holds a lot of promise for a good time for your next charter bus excursion, see you there!