Two East Texas men, T. J. Hooks and A. F. Hester, began developing this area for settlement in the late 1890s. Through formation of the La Blanca Agricultural Company, they set up farms and irrigation systems and advertised the area's favorable climate and resources. In 1904, when a rail line was built here, they founded the town of Donna, named for T. J. Hooks daughter. Ed Ruthven opened the first store and, in 1908, the town incorporated with R. P. Boeye as mayor. Since the earliest days of the 20th century, Donna has developed as one of the leading cities of the Rio Grande Valley.