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Lubbock County History 1922

Lubbock County History Written in 1922

A few years ago Lubbock had nothing to distinguish it particularly from other counties in the Staked Plains region. Its large area supported a meager population of stockmen, there were no railroads, and the only thing to attract new settlers was the grazing of pasture lands. The last decade has witnessed many remarkable changes. In 1907 a branch of the Pecos & Northern Texas Railway was completed from Canyon City as far as Plainview, and by the spring of 1910 trains were operating from Plainview south to Lubbock. During 1910 construction work was being rapidly pushed on the Texico-Coleman cut-off of the Santa Fe, passing through Lubbock County and Lubbock City. This road was completed by 1911, and about the same time a branch was extended east from Lubbock, known as the Crosbyton & South Plains Railroad. Settlers and capital at once came into the Lubbock district, and many of the large ranch holdings were cut up into farms, and while farmers as a rule employed with satisfying success the dry methods of cultivating the plains crops, a still greater resource so far as future development is concerned was found in the discovery of the shallow well water supply, by which copious streams of water can be brought from a depth of 40 to 100 feet and pumped over the fruit, alfalfa and other grain fields, insuring splendid crops from the fertile soil. Recently a number of test wells have been put down, and by the use of gasoline power and centrifugal pumps enormous flows of water are obtained. Continual pumping for many hours has failed to perceptibly lower the water in these wells. In the valleys of the streams, tributaries of the Brazos River, a large acreage is already sub-irrigated and alfalfa grows luxuriantly.

The rapid development of the agricultural possibilities of Lubbock County, as representing the entire section known as the South Plains, underlain by the Shallow Water Belt, is due in a large part to the educational activities and results announced by the State Experiment Farm No. 8 maintained two and one-half miles east of the city of Lubbock, where more than 3,000 experiments are carried on each year to determine the profitable crops and methods of production to be suited to this section.

While irrigated farming is practiced to a profitable advantage in the case of commercial and home gardens, orchards and intensive stock farms, the improved methods of cultivation developed by this experiment farm have demonstrated the dependable profit to be made from ordinary farming methods adapted to the conditions prevailing through this section. The record breaking crop grown in this section up to and including 1920 was that of 1920 and was "laid-by" upon 14.5 inches of rainfall.

Diversified farming is making rapid progress in this county, whose increase in number of farms reported by the Federal census of 1920 amounted to 384% or 1,908 farms. The rural condition is further improved in this county by the- high grade of public schools being constructed by the county board of education. With twenty-one rural schools in the county, eleven have modern brick buildings and the rural school property showed an increase of 940% in the four years previous to 1920.

Lubbock County produces the world's supply of Sudan grass seed in addition to the profitable production of small grains, sorghums, alfalfa, clover, cotton, fruit and vegetables. There is considerable activity in dairying, and pure bred hog production is reported in the county and in the South Plains counties surrounding Lubbock County. These activities are carried on exclusively by the ordinary method of cultivation as distinguished from the irrigated method of farming.

The legislative act of August 21, 1876, carved out Lubbock County among others in Northwest Texas. The county was organ­ ized in March, 1891, with a population of thirty-three, or an increase from twenty-five in 1880. In the next ten years it increased to 293 and by 1910 it had increased to 3,624 or 1,136%, while the 1920 census showed an increase of 296% or 11,096 inhabitants. In 1903 the assessed value of property was $1,146,672 ; by 1913 the assessed valua­ tions aggregated $4,971,301; and in 1920, $12;633,190.

During this period the number of farms increased from nothing except ranch gardens in 1880-90-1900 to 208 farms in 1910. In 1920 there were 1,008 farms, or an increase of 384% as compared to the state increase of 3.4%. In the total area of 555,520 approximately 50% is included in the farms with less than 25% in cultivation. Of this area in cultivation the Chamber of Commerce estimates 12,500 acres in Sudan grass, 28.600 acres in cotton, 32,500 acres in grain, sorghum, alfalfa, clover, corn and other feed crops, and 16,300 acres in small grains.

In 1910 there were 18.191 cattle enumerated, 2,100 horses and mules, and 4,213 sheep. In 1920 there were 14,340 cattle, less than five per cent of which were dairy cattle, 5,330 horses and mules, and 29,800 sheep, in addition to the 7,500 head of lambs fed for the market through the winter. The hog industry has grown from a half dozen "killing hogs" on the ranches in 1900 to more than 3,000 in 1920. a large part of which are pure bred breeding hogs of the highest quality. Several breeders of national importance are located in the county.

.Following exhaustive experiments on the State Experiment Farm at Lubbock and Spur the hog and sheep feeding industry is making rapid growth in the county to consume the great production of grain sorghums found to be superior to corn heretofore employed to feed out market hogs in the North and Central states. More than 500,000 pounds of wool was marketed through Lubbock in 1920, according to figures compiled by the South Plains Wool Growers' Association of this place. - History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.


33° 34' 40.296" N, 101° 51' 18.612" W