The year was 1909. Half way around the world, the RMS Titanic was being built. Joan of Arc was beatified in Rome. In Detroit, the Hudson Motor Car Company was founded. And in the small border town of Hidalgo, Texas…the first pumphouse for the Louisiana-Rio Grande Canal Company was built, transforming the area from an arid ranchland to the fertile agricultural powerhouse of the South.
Today we invite you to celebrate the past 100 years, to join the City of Hidalgo for the Centennial Celebration of Hidalgo’s Historic Pumphouse Museum on Saturday, April 4th from 10 am until 9 p.m. at 900 S. 2nd Street in Hidalgo. This day-long celebration is free to the public.
Come and learn how the pumphouse changed the course of history for the Rio Grande Valley by taking a guided tour of the pumphouse. This hidden gem is nestled on the banks of the Rio Grande, surrounded by mother nature’s finest works of art. Explore the native plants and flowers, and discover the birds and butterflies that make this site a renowned Nature Park and part of the World Birding Center as well.
There will be music, food, and entertainment all day, including arts and crafts activities for the entire family, and nature fun and education. Travel through the past 100 years as you enjoy an antique car show and antique tractors, hop on board a stage coach or wagon for a ride through historic Hidalgo, and see an old-fashioned chuckwagon up close. Stroll through a farmer’s market and pick up some fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers to take home, and don’t forget to check out the Rio Grande Rails model train display inside the pumphouse before making your way to the outdoor amphitheatre for a special concert and performance that will top off the evening.
As the grand finale of the Historic Hidalgo Pumhouse Museum’s Centennial Celebration, the history of the grand old pumphouse will be revisited in music, pictures and the spoken word. This free outdoor concert by the McAllen Symphonic Band under the direction of David Isadore will present the premier, open-air production of “Tapping the River,” the story of the building of the massive irrigation system of canals and ditches that drew water from the Rio Grande and directed it to over 70 thousand acres of farm land in the Rio Grande Valley and the installation of the huge steam-driven pumps that were the heart and soul of the system. The music for this production was composed especially for this occasion by Carl Seale of McAllen with a commission from the City of Hidalgo.
Seale recruited noted McAllen photographers Vernon and Paul Denman to assemble a series of historical photographs to accompany the musical score. These historical photos are on loan from the Museum of South Texas History. The father-son team has also photographed modern images of the river and the land that it fed. The visual component of this performance will be viewed from a large screen mounted on the pumphouse wall. The program will also include a guest appearance by the mayor of Hidalgo, John David Franz, who will narrate the story, adding the spoken word to this audio / visual celebration of the past 100 years.
The museum is located at 900 S. 2nd street in Hidalgo. From Texano Drive, turn South on to 2nd Street and continue South to the pumphouse parking lot.