PHARR, TEXAS. Pharr is on the Missouri Pacific line and old U.S. Highway 83 (U.S. Spur 347), five miles west of McAllen in south central Hidalgo County. Its site is within a Spanish land grant made in 1767 to Juan José Hinojosa. The Hinojosa family and heirs sold off portions of their land to various groups in the late nineteenth century and occupied the area as late as 1882. In 1909 John Connally Kelley, Sr., and Henry N. Pharr, a Louisiana sugarcane grower, became co-owners of 16,000 acres, with two miles of frontage on the river.
Pharr founded the Louisiana and Rio Grande Canal Company and constructed an irrigation system to establish a sugar plantation. Kelley formed the Pharr Townsite Company, which platted the town that he named Pharr in honor of his partner. By 1911 the community was a stop on the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway, and 4,000 acres had been sold for settlement. A hotel, a bank, and various businesses were also in operation. Pharr's plantation venture failed with the collapse of the Rio Grande valley sugarcane industry. Kelley then took over the irrigation system and continued to supply water to area vegetable and cotton farms.
Text from the Handbook of Texas Online