History of Chimney Park

Chimney Park is a designated Texas Historical Site

Chimney Park is a designated Texas Historical Site


The chimney after which the park is named is recognized by the Texas Historical Commission and became A Rio Grande Valley historical landmark in 1985.

The land Chimney Park is on was originally owned by the Primitive Polardos, the first settlement of the Nuevo Santerders Colony. The land between the Nuecus and Rio Grande Rivers formed a part of this settlement.  The Spanish Viceroy granted “porcion” #55 to Jose Antonia Cantu.  In 1767, Mr. Cantu sold the land to the Cavazos Sisters. In 1774 the Cavazos’ attorney sold this land to Rene’ Guyard for the  sum of $400.  By 1861 Mr. Guyard died and willed all of this land in procions #55 and #57 to Father Paresot and Father Pedro and the Oblate Missionaries.     The Little La Lomita mission was established on the property and is still standing.  The Fathers willed the land to the Mission Society of the Oblate of Fathers of Texas.  The land was filed in the courthouse on October, 1875.

In 1904 James Holt of Minneapolis had an interest in South Texas to expand an agricultural empire.  Holt, Conway and Welcome came south to look over the land and purchased the land near the Rio Grande River. In August of 1907  the area started its first lift station.  They used wood in units of 2-3 cords.  A crew of 26 men with teams of mules was kept busy day and night to keep the boilers going.

The brick for the chimney was made by hand in a plant near Madero, a small town nearby.  The building was completed by laborers working for 40 cents a day. Many of them lived in shacks on the property.

A brick layer from New York was hired for the “sure enough pump” as the natives called it.  The chimney is 106 feet tall and is 6 feet in diameter.  At the top is a double row of blocks that form a design. There is some mystery as to why the top was never completed, but whatever the reason the design was never finished, the boilers began operation in 1907 and the lift station started to pump life giving water from the Rio Grande.

In 1913 the Bankers Trust Company took receivership from Conway and Holt. John Shary bought the area in 1914. He used the station for irrigation until the 1952-53 droughts. Soon after, the Falcon and Anzalduas Dams were built and the pump was no longer needed.