Texas Tropical Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

San Juan

Photo by Valerie D. Bates

The community of San Juan was once home to the largest concrete irrigation pipe manufacturer in the South. It is also the location of the historic Virgen de San Juan del Valle Shrine, housing the statue of Our Lady of San Juan, a 1949 reproduction created by a Guadalajaran artist of the original dating to the 1600s and venerated at San Juan de Los Lagos, Mexico. The San Juan icon survived the destruction of the shrine in 1970 when a small plane crashed into the shrine’s roof and exploded in flames. The current shrine, reconstructed and elevated to Basilica status, is now considered a national shrine and conducts weekly mass as well as accommodating pilgrims who arrive to visit the shrine and its statue. 

San Juan, built on land once part of two Spanish land grants made in 1767, was organized in 1909, and served the growing agriculture industry in the Rio Grande Valley. Today, the lively community hosts celebrations year-round including a Christmas BBQ Cook-off, a Halloween Haunted House and Festival, and aa Cinco de Mayo Fiesta & Cook-off.