Presidio is a city in Presidio County, Texas, United States. It stands on the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte), on the other side of the U.S.-Mexico border from Ojinaga, Chihuahua. The Presidio and Ojinaga, Chihuahua area is connected by the Presidio-Ojinaga International Bridge. The population was 4,167 at the 2000 census. Presidio is about 250 miles from Odessa, Texas, which is the closest major city to this town. In September 2006, largely through the efforts of Dennis McEntire, wireless internet WiFi service was brought to this small town, which is a major technological step, as currently some major cities don't yet have this service available. La Entrada al Pacifico is a route that extends from within Mexico and crosses through this border town, which has accordingly seen an increase in construction activity. The route travels to Midland/Odessa, where it connects to Interstate 20. Presidio is on the Rio Grande, Farm Road 170, and State Highway 67 eighteen miles south of Shafter in southern Presidio County. The surrounding area is the oldest continuously cultivated area in the United States. Farmers have lived at Presidio since 1500 B.C. By 1400 A.D. the area Indians lived in small, close-together settlements, which the Spaniards later called pueblos.
The first Spaniards came to Presidio in 1535, when Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his three companions stopped at the Indian pueblo, placed a cross on the mountain side, and called the village La Junta de las Cruces. On December 10, 1582, Antonio de Espejo and his company arrived at the site and called the pueblo San Juan Evangelista. By 1681 the area of Presidio was known as La Junta de los Ríos, or the Junction of the Rivers, for the Río Conchos and the Rio Grande join at the site. About 1760 a penal colony and a military garrison of sixty men were established near Presidio. In 1783 Juan Sabeata, the chief of the Jumano Indian nation, reported having seen a fiery cross on the mountain at Presidio. The settlement then became known as La Navidad en Las Cruces.
In 1830 the name of the area around Presidio was changed from La Junta de los Rios to Presidio del Norte. White settlers came to Presidio in 1848 after the Mexican War. Among them was John Spencer, who operated a horse ranch on the United States side of the Rio Grande near Presidio. Ben Leaton and Milton Faver, former scalp hunters for the Mexican government, built private forts in the area. The handful of Anglo settlers who came to the region were assimilated into the Hispanic population and their descendants are primarily Spanish speakers today.
During the Mexican Revolution, General Pancho Villa often used Ojinaga as his headquarters for operations and visited Presidio on numerous occasions.
In 1849 a Comanche raid almost destroyed Presidio, and in 1850 Indians drove off most of the cattle in town. A post office was established at Presidio in 1868, and the first public school was opened in 1887. In 1930 the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway reached Presidio, and the town incorporated. The population grew from ninety-six in 1925 to 1,671 in 1988, but the number of businesses declined from seventy in 1933 to twenty-two in 1988. At the end of 1988 Presidio experienced a population boom due in part to previously undocumented aliens enrolled in the amnesty program. The population in 1990 was 3,422. Population reached 4,877 by 1998, and is expected to top 10,000 by the year 2013 at present growth rates.
As of 2007, Presidio's local economy is based largely upon employment at Presidio Independent School District, United States Customs and Border Enforcement, and local retail businesses. International trucking has an increasing presence in the community. Formerly, Presidio was home to several large irrigated farming operations, focused mainly on onions and cantaloupes. Those operations ceased in the late 1990s. Presently alfalfa is grown at several farms in the area.
Presidio is located at (29.561272, -104.366522).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km²), all of it land. Presidio is located near the confluence of the Rio Conchos and Rio Grande rivers. The Rio Conchos flows in a northesterly direction from its source in the Sierra Madre in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. Commonly referred to as "La Junta" (the joining), the two rivers resulted in plentiful water, creating a flood plain that is ideal for farming.
There were 1,285 households out of which 49.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.6% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.6% were non-families. 18.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.24 and the average family size was 3.73.
In the city the population was spread out with 37.2% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 17.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $18,031, and the median income for a family was $19,601. Males had a median income of $20,469 versus $15,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $7,098. About 40.4% of families and 43.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 48.3% of those under age 18 and 64.5% of those age 65 or over.