Established in 1865 on the International-Great Northern Railroad, the city was originally known as Darlington. It is in southern Frio County on I-35. Agriculture and ranching are economic mainstays here, and the city is known for its sweet, juicy watermelons. Peanuts, tomatoes, spinach, grain sorghum and cotton also are grown in the area. During the 1980s, the area experienced another oil boom with the invention of horizontal drilling. Oil production and oilfield services continue to contribute to the economy.
Ornate downtown buildings are examples of the 1920s era. Dilley is on the central flyway of migratory birds and more than 250 species have been documented. Bird lists and maps are available at the chamber of commerce office. During season, hunters take white-tailed deer, dove, quail, javelina and turkey. Fishing in the Frio River also is popular.
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