HARLINGEN — It was called Rattlesnake Junction before it evolved into Six-Shooter Junction.
Whatever the name, what eventually became the City of Harlingen has a historical fabric that continues to be a rich one.
Some 20 high school students from three Harlingen schools took the tour of downtown yesterday morning. Like pretty much any activity that can get you out of class on a beautiful morning, they liked it a lot.
“It’s awesome,” said Alyssa Sanchez, who attends Harlingen High School. Hers was a commonly repeated phrase Thursday.
“I didn’t really know a lot about it,” said Analicia Alvarez, a Keys Academy student, of the history of Harlingen going back to the days of founder Lon C. Hill. “I don’t think most of us knew about this.”
“It was very informative,” said Justine Corkill, a senior at Harlingen High School, “because I’m not from here. I’ve lived here for a while, but I didn’t know a lot of these things.”
Some of those things were early names for Harlingen, like Rattlesnake Junction (it was pretty rough and undeveloped brushland then) and Six-Shooter Junction.
The latter, explained tour guide Joie Rose Laney, was because the early train station where travelers stopped to disembark was outside the Texas Rangers headquarters that had been built and offered to the Rangers by Lon C. Hill.
Often, the Rangers were outside practicing with their Colt revolvers, hence the name of the village that eventually became Harlingen a few years later.
The tour wasn’t just history, although that was a thread that ran through much of the discussion of architecture and art. A lot of time was spent on the murals downtown as the 90-minute tour proceeded up Jackson Avenue from J&B’s Café.
Three Harlingen police officers were on hand to keep traffic in check as the tour looped around and through the old downtown area.
“We do walking tours of downtown Harlingen every Saturday morning that are free and open to the public but we also do them by appointment for groups,” said Cheryl LaBerge, downtown manager for the city. “So we’re always excited to have RV park groups, church groups (and) school groups.”
The two guides for yesterday’s tour were Laney and Deborah Covarrubias.