Roots in the County

Many residents of Hidalgo County had roots that go back for generations. Others have moved in and stayed. Whichever you are, you probably agree that most people here are friendly and welcoming. 

This has always been a land where folks passed through.  First the Native Americans, who roamed with the herds or built dugouts to farm. Then, it was the Spanish, who came looking in a wild land for riches and adventure. Later, the newly independent Mexicans settled and traveled through, fighting the Native Americans for cattle and land.

Finally, settlers from north and east passed through. Some homesteaded and stayed, despite the hostile natives, weather, and living conditions. The trains came through and transported livestock, goods, and mining products east and west.  Miners came to strike it rich; most left empty handed. Outlaws and bandits roamed these parts, evading what little law there was. Farmers settled, realizing that the moderate weather made for a long growing season...if they could coax enough water from the ground during the dry months.

1940-1.jpgWith settlers came business; mercantiles and doctors' offices, assay offices and hotels, schools and post offices. Communities swelled to thousands, then dwindled to a few with the rise and fall of the economy, the weather, the railroads.  Those who put down roots persevered through the good and the bad.  It was just part of life in the bootheel.

Interstate 10 still brings thousands of travelers whizzing through, a steady stream of headlights and wheels. Many stop for a few moments to eat or fuel up  or stay for a few days to explore. Reactions vary: Some can't understand the barren flats or the desert plants; others are charmed by horizons that stretch forever and skies that change constantly and explode into color at sunset.

So, you may have roots that are years old or generations old.  But, if you were born here or immigrated here, you probably know why this land enchants and draws visitors and new residents still.  Many of us consider ourselves lucky to live here.

10 Reasons why Hidalgo County is a Great Place to Live!

1. Taxes are reasonable.  New Mexico is 41st below the most expensive in the nation for state and local taxes, ranked LOW in tax burden.

2. New Mexico is ranked as one of the Ten Best States for Property Taxes. In 2009, Hidalgo County rates were in the middle in the 33 NM counties; there were 16 counties with lower rates and 16 counties with higher rates.

3. The weather is tolerable at worst and wonderful at best.  Temperatures are moderate and the sun shines about 360 days a year. Maybe that is why we all love to see clouds roll in!

4. People are friendly and helpful. Visitors can ask for directions and usually get a conversation in return. If a person waves, someone will usually wave back. We have a lot of travelers come through for one reason or another and we tend to be glad to see them. We can always point out some interesting geography or a historical site.  We're not generally in a hurry to be off doing something else, so if they have the time, so do we.

5. We tend to be behind the rest of the country a bit.  That could be a negative thing, if someone counts skyscrapers and subway systems as important parts of life. We consider it a positive.  We have building walls that have never seen graffiti and kids who don't know what gangs are or what they do. Many of our youngsters still say, "No, sir," or "Yes, ma'am" and don't feel strange doing it. Our teachers are still treated with respect and people still have time to sit on porches and speak to neighbors.

6. The landscape is addictive.  After we live here a while, we tend to get claustrophobic in cities if we can't see the horizon. We gaze at mountains and like cactus. We are the relative few who know what "horny toads" or "devils' horns" are or see wildlife every day, somewhere. We are sky-watchers (both day and night) and appreciate anything that grows green. The country gets "in our blood" and we don't want the antidote.

7. Dealing with small-town business is a plus.  Most businesses in the county are owned and/or operated by locals. People in the grocery stores call us by name; the cooks know what we will order when we come in to eat; the police officers are familiar with our driving habits. Our children's teachers taught us way back when and the flower shop knows who died before we call. Dealing with real people, who are also our neighbors, makes doing business here easy.

8. We are easily entertained. High school sports and graduation are important events. Rodeos and ropings bring the whole community together for a little R&R. Birthday parties and Quinceañeras involve dozens of relatives and may pull in people from miles around. Visiting and eating a meal together is enough excitement for some nights.  If we want more excitement, we can travel a few or a lot of miles to do something else.  We consider special things a treat, but don't expect them every day.

9. We get involved. Lots of us volunteer to coach, work at the museum, pitch in on projects, and help out at school. Our county earned the highest amount in the state participating in the Relay for Life, an event where people walk all night to raise money for cancer awareness and research. We participate in programs to improve the lives of our youth or the health of our citizens. Getting involved is just a good way to live.

10. Diversity is the name of the game.  We are many races and ethnicities. We work doing very different things. We are politically varied and live at all stratas of wealth. There is not one main industry, but many choices. We can offer specialized security training, a ranch tour, a trek through historical ghost towns, camping and hiking adventures, and wind-sailing. We can cater to rockhounds, bird-watchers, army battalions, history buffs, and bikers. Around here, we embrace differences and freedom of expression and appreciate those whose lives are different than our own.