The Old Hidalgo Pumphouse is one of the last pumphouses with its original equipment in the Country. It was the primary source of irrigation for agriculture in the Rio Grande Valley from 1909 to 1983. The historic pumphouse is nestled in the middle of the World Birding Center that attracts birds, butterflies and dragonflies. It seems that many of the historic places in the Valley are part of the World Birding Center.
The pumphouse originally sat on the banks of the Rio Grande River but a flood in 1933 moved the river a half mile away from the pumphouse. A channel was dug from the pumphouse to the river to bring the water to the huge intake pipes. Since the pumphouse was decommissioned, it creates a small lake on the grounds.
The pumphouse is now a museum which allows you to see how the whole process worked.
The pumphouse made a huge difference in how the land in the Rio Grande Valley could be utilized. The boilers were originally fired with mesquite wood, then converted to oil, then natural gas, and finally diesel and are still in place. The brick in the fire walls of the boilers was taken out and used to pave the walkway behind the smokestack. There are interpretive signs explaining what the machinery was used for, how the water was pumped out of the river and the water-hardening system.
A quick reference chart for the history of the pumphouse.
There are also a couple of neat model train set-ups on display.
Huge intake pumps going into the boilers.
Once the water is pumped out, it goes to the irrigation canals. This is a display of the gates controlling the water flow.
There is an overlook on the channel that was dug to bring water to the pumphouse after the hurricane and flood.
Another sight right next to the pumphouse. This is the infamous fence between the U.S. and Mexico. There was an opening in it and it ended just to the right of the picture?????? The border patrol was on watch.
On a lighter note, aren't these beautiful? I don't know what they are but the berries are on the same plant as the purple flowers.
You might also enjoy visiting "Hidalgo Viejo" or Hidalgo's historic district which is nearby.