Tornillo is a census-designated place and a border town in El Paso County, Texas. The site was first platted in 1909, upon the speculation of an irrigated agricultural area. That same year, a post office was inaugurated under the name of Tornillo, the Spanish word for “screw,” in reference to the Screwbean Mesquite plant that was hauled from the site to El Paso for firewood. The town soon became the first approved agricultural area of the Rio Grande Irrigation Project in 1916. Cotton, and later pecans, were the town’s primary crops. Tornillo is also home to Sonic Ranch, the world’s largest residential recording complex. The Great Depression and the proximity to I-10 retarded the community’s population; in 1990, the town had 24 residents. However, the town managed to increase its residents to 1,609 the following decade. As of 2010, it has a population of 1,568.
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