A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 03, 2008
Magic Valley (Lower Rio Grande Valley nickname)

The Lower Rio Grande Valley area of Texas has been called “Magic Valley” since at least 1916. Irrigation of the valley began just before 1900; the results caused promoters to call it a “magic valley.” The “Magic Valley” nickname is used more often in promotional literature than in conversational use.

The state of Idaho also has a well-known “Magic Valley.”


Handbook of Texas Online
RIO GRANDE VALLEY. The Rio Grande valley is a complex economic and perceptual region. What Texans call “the Valley” centers on Starr, Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy counties in the lower Rio Grande region and extends from the mouth of the Rio Grande up the river for a distance of some 100 miles. The lower Rio Grande contains good agricultural land, the region being a true delta and the soils alluvial, varying from sandy and silty loam through loam to clay. The area of about 43,000 square miles witnessed a tremendous development in a period of about thirty years. This spectacular development is attributable to two factors: the introduction of irrigation on a large scale in 1898 and the building of the railroad in 1904. Before that time the Valley was little more than quasi-desert rangeland.

Wikipedia: Rio Grande Valley
The Rio Grande Valley is an area located in the southernmost tip of Texas. It lies along the northern bank of the Rio Grande, which separates Mexico from the United States.

The Rio Grande Valley is not a valley, but a delta or floodplain. Early settlers from Mexico felt that the term “Valley” sounded more inviting to tourists and northern investors than did “Delta.” The Rio Grande Valley is also called “El Valle”, the Spanish translation of “the valley”, by those who live there.

The region is made up of four counties: Starr County, Hidalgo County, Willacy County, and Cameron County. As of January 1, 2007, the Texas State Data Center estimated the population of the Rio Grande Valley at 1,139,581.

The largest city is Brownsville (Cameron County), followed by McAllen (Hidalgo County). Other major cities include Harlingen, Mission, Edinburg, and Pharr.

Wikipedia: Magic Valley (Idaho)
Magic Valley is a region in south-central Idaho consisting of Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls Counties. It is particularly associated with the agricultural region in the Snake River Plain located in the area. The northern Magic Valley region—particularly Blaine and Camas Counties—is also known as the Wood River Valley after the Big Wood River.

16 July 1916, New York (NY) Times, pg. 3:
McAllen, described by her residents as “the Wonder City of the Magic Valley,” has undergone great change since a city of soldiers has arisen on her borders, making the Texas village of 5,000 inhabitants only a suburb. 

13 August 1916, Laredo (TX) Times, pg. 3, col. 4:
When the army baseball league now being organized at Brownsville and this military district got down to schedule business, the Magic Valley will truly and verily be a paradise for fans—Brownsville Herald.

9 February 1919, Dallas (TX) Morning News, part 4, pg. 3 ad:
Lower Rio Grande Valley Products
DIRECT From the Producer to the Consumer

Two Car Loads of CABBAGE, fresh from the Magic Valley of Texas, will be unloaded at our store…

29 January 1920, Grand Rapids (WI) Tribune, pg. 10, col. 5 ad:
The Lower Rio Grande Valley of TEXAS
COME with us for a ten days’ trip to the Magic Valley.
SEE with your own eyes and learn from the farmers themselves of the remarkable opportunities offered.
EFFICIENT IRRIGATION. Rain when you want it and as much as you want the entire year round.

8 September 1920, Columbus (OH) Daily Enquirer, pg. 2:
The Lower Rio Grande valley of Texas can be reached by a night’s ride from Houston. The fare to Brownsville, its chief city, with Matamoros, Mexico, just across the river, is $12.02. A Pullman lower costs $2.97. In addition to the irrigated gardens and plantations for which the “Magic Valley” is noted, there is superb hunting and surf fishing within a few hours’ motor ride from Brownsville.

30 December 1920, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pg. 14:
MAGIC VALLEY’S WEALTH
“The lower Rio Grande valley country is very aptly described by the term, ‘the magic valley of the South,’” declared J. M. Crosby of Austin, who travels through the valley country for a Dallas wholesale firm, and was in the city Wednesday.

1 April 1924, New York (NY) Times, “Texas Land Frauds Alleged by Buyers,” pg. 35:
Under date of May 7, 1918, George C. and Jennie A. Brownell told of leaving Watertown, S. D., for “Magic Valley” in the Rio Grande Valley on an excursion in which they were “shown a good time.”

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: Across the Rio Grande.
National Editorial Association, Oklahoma City, 1924. Oklahoma, Mexico, magic valley.
Author(s): Hotaling, H. C., Mrs. 
Publication: [Mapleton? Minn.,
Year: 1924
Description: [60] p. illus. 21 cm.
Language: English
SUBJECT(S)
Named Corp: National Editorial Association of the United States. 
Geographic: Oklahoma—Description and travel.
Mexico—Description and travel—1867-1950. 
Note(s): Cover title./ “Editorial correspondence to Blue Earth County Enterprise, Mapleton, Minn. and the Walker Pilot, Walker, Minn., by Mrs. H.C. Hotaling.”

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: Welcome to the magic city and the magic valley of Texas.
Publication: [Houston, Tex. : Chamber of Commerce,
Year: 1927

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: The Magic valley of the Lower Rio Grande of Texas.
Corp Author(s): American Legion. ; American Legion.; Auxiliary. 
Publication: S.l. : American Legion,
Year: 1928
Description: 25 p. : chiefly ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
SUBJECT(S)
Geographic: Rio Grande Valley—Description and travel. 
Note(s): Cover title./ “Combine profit with pleasure"--Cover./ “All the American Legion Posts and American Legion Auxiliary units and people of the Magic Valley of the Lower Rio Grande, join in greeting the Legionnaires and Auxiliary members, from all parts of the United States and abroad, on their tenth annual National Convention at San Antonio."/ Primarily photographs with text and advertisements.

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: A little journey through the lower valley of the Rio Grande,
the magic valley of Texas;
Author(s): Montgomery, Julia Cameron. 
Corp Author(s): Southern Pacific Railroad. 
Publication: [Houston, Tex., Rein,
Year: 1928
Description: 64 p.
Language: English
Class Descriptors: Dewey: 917.64
Responsibility: a story written for the Southern Pacific lines.

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: The “Magic valley” of the lower Rio Grande :
the land of golden fruit.
Corp Author(s): Southern Pacific Company.; Agricultural Dept. 
Publication: [Houston, Tex. : Southern Pacific Lines],
Year: 1930
Description: 31 p. : ill., map ; 23 cm.
Language: English
SUBJECT(S)
Descriptor: Agriculture—Rio Grande Valley. 
Geographic: Rio Grande Valley—Description and travel. 
Note(s): Cover title./ Written by the Agricultural Department of the Southern Pacific Lines.

18 March 1934, New York (NY) Times, “Weekly News of Books,” pg. BR14:
MAGIC VALLEY
By Margaret Bell Houston. A modern love story set against a background of the enchanting “Magic Valley” of the Rio Grande River in Texas. Tam Conway, living a sequestered life on her father’s ranch, is suddenly caught up in a whirl of complications with a variegated group of people.

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: The lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas :
the magic valley /
Author(s): Eppright, Mabel Collier, editor.
Publication: [Tex.] : Review Printing Company,
Year: 1940

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: Paeans of the magic valley;
an anthology of regional poetry.
Corp Author(s): Composers, Authors and Artists of America. Rio Grande Valley Chapter. 
Publication: Dallas, Royal Pub. Co.
Year: 1956
Description: 56 p. 20 cm.
Language: English
SUBJECT(S)
Geographic: Texas—Poetry. 

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: Successful gardening in the Magic Valley of Texas /
Author(s): Boyle, George R., Mrs. 
Corp Author(s): Texas Garden Clubs.; District VI. 
Publication: [S.l.] : Texas Garden Clubs, District VI,
Year: 1960
Description: 93 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Standard No: National Library: CAT10892497
SUBJECT(S)
Descriptor: Gardening—Rio Grande Valley. 

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: Mexican-Americans of south Texas.
Author(s): Madsen, William. 
Corp Author(s): Hidalgo Project on Differential Culture Change and Mental Health. 
Publication: New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston
Year: 1964
Description: xii, 112 p. illus., map. 24 cm.
Language: English
Series: Case studies in cultural anthropology;
Contents: Magic valley—Cultural conflict—La Raza—Immigration and the lower class—Middle and upper classes—Family and society—Religion—Interpretations of Catholicism—Devotion to the Saints—Protestant proselytism—Motives for conversion—A case of religious change—Sickness and health—Witchcraft—Curers and physicians—Folk psychotherapy—Education, politics, progress.

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: The magic valley of Texas /
Author(s): Barton, Florence. 
Publication: Austin, Tex. : Eakin Press,
Year: 1983
Description: 46 p. : ill. ; 22 x 28 cm.
Language: English
Standard No: ISBN: 0890154082; 9780890154083
SUBJECT(S)
Geographic: Rio Grande Valley—History. 
Note(s): Added title page: A trip through the magic valley of Texas.

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: Native and cultivated shrubs of the Magic Valley /
Author(s): Donohue, Gladys Schumacher. 
Publication: Penitas, TX : Chaparral Garden Press,
Year: 1991
Description: 60 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
SUBJECT(S)
Descriptor: Shrubs—Texas—Lower Rio Grande Valley. 
Note(s): Includes index.
Class Descriptors: LC: QK475; Dewey: 582.17
Other Titles: Shrubs of the Magic Valley.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Thursday, January 03, 2008 • Permalink


The Rio Grande Valley is not a valley, but a delta or floodplain. Early settlers from Mexico felt that the term “Valley” sounded more inviting to tourists and northern investors than did “Delta.” The Rio Grande Valley is also called “The Valley”, the Catalan translation of “the valley”, by those who live there.
The Counselor

Posted by Thecounselor  on  11/11  at  04:13 AM

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