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Texas Pecos Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Del Rio


THE GROUND BELOW AND THE SKY ABOVE

Del Rio, Val Verde County seat, is located near the confluence of the Rio Grande River and San Felipe Creek, a strategic spot in the dry environment of the southwest Texas desert. The community arose around San Felipe Springs, an artesian water source that expels tens of thousands of gallons per minute through a fault in the rock. Today, Del Rians enjoy the abundance of water, particularly during the summertime, when a drive past the San Felipe Creek crossing east of downtown will find dozens of children diving into the clear water and families enjoying picnics under shady oaks in Horseshoe Park. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, the military played a key role in Del Rio’s development, a tradition that continues today. Frontier military camps were first established here, followed by the construction of Fort Clark in nearby Brackettville. World War II brought Laughlin Field (now Laughlin Air Force Base) to this Texas Pecos Trail community, providing an ongoing pilot training program. The Laughlin Heritage Foundation Museum helps tell the Laughlin story. Nearby Amistad Dam and Reservoir, built along the Rio Grande just southwest of the community, has helped transformed this arid city into an angler’s destination. Downtown, heritage travelers start at the restored 1887 Val Verde County Courthouse to explore the Downtown or Italian Stonemasons of Del Rio Walking Tours. The many repurposed turn-of-the-century buildings validate Del Rio’s status as a Texas Main Street City. A favorite is the Firehouse Gallery where art and history combine to provide a vibrant and active downtown art scene.


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