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Hebbronville, Texas

Rich in history and lore, Hebbronville beckons visitors to explore its treasures and, perhaps, bring out their “inner vaquero”.

Located slightly northeast of Zapata County lies the tiny hamlet of Hebbronville, Texas. The seat of Jim Hogg County, Hebbronville boasts a rich treasury of history, rustic buildings and a culture all its own.

The town takes its name from its founder, rancher James Richard Hebbron. The land on which Hebbronville sits was originally part Las Noriecitas (the Little Wells), one of the area’s earliest ranches. Hebbronville, itself, was incorporated in 1883 when the Texas-Mexican Railway Company laid a railroad through the area. Thanks this, Hebbronville enjoyed a solid reputation as the country’s largest cattle-shipping center and, to this day, the area still stands as a major ranching center. This explains why Hebbronville also holds the title of “Vaquero Capitol of Texas and the USA”.The town also holds an interesting footnote in Texas history. One Helen Sewel Harbison became the first woman cast a vote in a Hebbronville election in 1918, two years before women were granted the right to vote.Hebbronville’s many rustic buildings bear a silent witness to the town’s storied past. One, in particular, the Scottus College, holds a fascinating tale. In 1926, the Mexican government unleashed a deadly persecution of Roman Catholic priests. Many priests and nuns fled Mexico, making their way into the United States. One group of priests settled in Hebbronville and established Scottus College, a seminary. The campus, which stands today next to the beautiful Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, features a breezeway on the top floor where the priests and seminarians used to pace up and down while praying their Office.
The Viggo Hotel, built in 1915, is another of Hebbronville’s architectural treasures. Located just across the highway from the Jim Hogg County Courthouse, the Viggo Hotel once served as the epicenter of commerce during Hebbronville’s cattle-shipping heyday. One could probably see in the mind’s eye, cattle barons making deals in the lobby of the now-abandoned hotel. Its exterior still retains much of its pristine beauty.