This large county, with a current population of over 51 thousand, was named for a battle in the American Civil War in which several artillery pieces were captured by members of Sibley’s Brigade in 1862.
The county seat of Del Rio is the center of the Del Rio TX Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Val Verde County was not organized until 1885, when it was organized from Crockett, Kinney, and Pecos counties. Of course, Val Verde was occupied previously, and as early as 10 thousand years ago by an ancient people who left caches of seeds, tools, burial sites, and even cave art behind. Other native peoples lived in the area afterwards. The first Europeans in the area were Spaniards passing through in 1535.
Over time, the economy has changed subtly in Val Verde. The wine industry was established in the region as early as 1883, when the Val Verde Winery was established. Large sheep and cattle ranchers arrived in the area around the same time, and farming consisted of grain, fruit, and vegetable crops.
The economy remained stable, dominated by wine, cattle, and farms until the 1920s, when two dams were build on the lower Devil’s River to store water for power generation and creating a large recreational lake known as Devil’s Lake, Lake Hamilton, or Lake Walk.
Tourism entered Val Verde’s County about the same time, and today includes the Gateway to Mexico, deer hunting, fishing, and visiting areas like the state parks, historic sites including a saloon, the ancient pictographs, San Felipe Springs, and wineries.
The economy today in Val Verde centers on agriculture, tourism, trade with Mexico, hunting leases, and fishing. The rich landscape provides a bounty of opportunity for all Val Verde residents. The numerous creeks, which remain dry through most of the year, fill during floods and empty into the Pecos and Devils rivers.