Celebrating 70 years in operation

“A civic dream of half a century becomes a reality…”

The Port Harlingen Authority was created in 1926, pursuant to Article XVI, Chapter 59 of the Texas Constitution, originally named “The Arroyo Colorado Navigation District”: Chapter 62 of the Texas Water Code.  The first record of an Arroyo Colorado Navigation District meeting was on 1927.

The Port Authority of Harlingen opened its and docks for commercial operations on Feb 27, 1952, marking our 70th anniversary of being an operational Texas Port. 

Steamboat ’round the bend!

John W. Fullbright,
President of the Intracoastal Canal Association of Louisiana and Texas:

“The opening of The Port is the dawn of a new day in the history of the Valley and will do far more to improve the Valley’s industrial development than anyone in attendance will ever realize. Transportation makes a direct contribution to the wealth of the nation, and the prosperity of the people. The Arroyo Colorado canal is a generous contribution on the part of the people of the Valley toward the wealth of the nation, as it is now connected with 30,000 miles of waterways.”

A Look Back at 70 Years of Progress

“Port Harlingen is now open for business!” A phrase that an entire region waited more than two decades to hear and one that would echo as a major spark for economic growth when John W. Fullbright, President of the Intracoastal Canal Association of Louisiana and Texas, declared it 70 years ago.

A day marked with a parade, speeches, a ribbon cutting, bands and other local fanfare, then the Arroyo Colorado Navigation District of Willacy and Cameron Counties (ACND) officially opened the Port of Harlingen for operations on February 27, 1952. It was estimated that more than 5,000 people showed up for the Port’s dedication and to welcome its first official shipment over the dock; 500 tons of pipeline from Starr country fields towed by tugboat H.F. de Bardeleben III.

Navigation District/Port of Harlingen Commissioners

J.B. Chambers 1927-1940
J.R. George 1927-1933
Tyre H. Brown 1927-1933
A.J. Carpenter 1933-1935
Joe L. Penry Jr. 1933-1938
Russell A. Rose 1936-1938
Dan Murphy 1938-1945
W.P. Briscoe 1938-1942
Clifford H. Purdy 1940-1963
E.C. Breedlove 1942-1953
C.O. Bennett 1945-1953
J.B. Cocke 1953-1972
Hugh Ramsey 1953-1958
Van C. Snell 1958-1974
David Newell 1964-1964
V.D. Raimond 1964-1973
B.J. Simpson 1972-1986
T.R. Jones 1973-1985
Don Bodenhamer 1974-1977, 1985-1988
J.R. Washman 1977-1984
Frank Boggus 1984-1988
Tommy Dismukes 1986-1991
Alan Johnson 1988-Present
Alex Hinojosa 1988-2017
Lamar Smith 1991-2007
Neil Haman, 2007-2011, 2018- Present
Bryan Duffy 2011- Present
Ryan Newman 2021- Present
Chris Villarreal 2021-Present

Port Directors

Col. Howard M. Yost 1945-1951
Hugh Ramsey 1951-1953
Col. Edward L. Baw 1959-1975
Louise Pletcher 1975-1981
Reid Hunter 1980-1980
Dave Bodenhamer 1981-1982
Sarah Cahil 1982-1983
Ed Bee 1984-1986
W.G. Palmer 1987-2012, 2013-2014
Michael Perez 2012-2013
Walker Smith 2014- Present

Port Attorneys

P.G. Greenwood 1955-1969
Karl Gibbon 1969-1975
Jerry Stapleton 1975- Present

Special thanks to Port Commissioner Neil Haman for a compilation of the entire history of The Port of Halringen Authority.

70th Anniversary Photo Gallery

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