Pharr was created in 1909 by a land development enterprise tied to the Louisiana–Rio Grande Canal Company, the entity that supplied irrigated water from its river pumphouse in the city of Hidalgo ( HL5). Although Pharr is laid out in a grid bisected by the east–west rail corridor, it is its north–south axis that is dominant, as U.S. 281, or Cage Boulevard, spearheads to the Rio Grande toward the Pharr International Bridge (1995), a coveted piece of border infrastructure that symbolically and economically elevates the stature of Valley towns.
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