Photography by Kat
Copeland © 2/2007
County was organized, the two contenders for county seat were
Stemmons and Lamesa.
Lamesa won by a mere five votes.
In the span of a few days in July of 1905, the community of Chicago
/ Stemmons became a historic footnote. Chicago
is remembered today by a historical
marker and a Lamesa street named after the short-lived town.
Lamesa, a city mostly set up on a grid of numbered streets and avenues
does have a few streets named after cities. The mix is an interesting
one, including Akron, Boston, Detroit, Flint, and Hartford – and of
Lamesa, the county
seat of Dawson County, is on U.S. highways 180 and 87, State highways
137 and 349, Farm roads 179, 826, and 827, and the Santa Fe Railroad,
and Sulphur Springs Draw, sixty miles south of Lubbock in the central
part of the county. It was platted in July 1903 by Frank Connor, J.
J. Lindsey, J. F. Barron, and several others. A. L. Wasson, a member
of the first town committee, impressed by the tabletop flatness of
the surrounding terrain, offered La Mesa and Lamesa as possible names.
Although he preferred the Spanish version, the committee voted in
favor of the other. A post office was granted in 1904 with Harrison
B. Oliver as postmaster.
Lamesa won the county seat election by five votes over the rival town
of Stemmons on March 20, 1905. A town meeting the next day invited
the citizens and merchants of Stemmons to move to the new county seat,
with an offer of free lots for businesses and help in moving houses.
The offer was accepted and effected within several days. Early businesses
in Lamesa included a hardware and furniture store, a hotel, a blacksmith
shop, and several general stores. A school was first established in
1904. The town had a brass band by 1908. The Santa Fe Railroad secured
the town's future when it arrived on August 4, 1910. Electrical service
became available in 1916.
The first church building in Lamesa was the Methodist church, which
was completed in 1907 with help from other local denominations. Baptist,
Church of Christ, and Presbyterian churches followed by 1915. Lamesa
prospered from farming and later through the development of the oil
industry. The population was 1,188 in 1920 and rose to 6,038 in 1940
and to 10,706 in 1950. The peak years came in the 1960s, when the
United States census reported 12,438 residents. Afterward the population
fell slightly and stabilized around 11,559 in the 1970s and 1980s.
In the mid-1980s Lamesa, the county's banking and marketing center,
produced agricultural products, oil services, food processing, clothing
and textiles, farming equipment, and cotton. Howard County Junior
College, the Dawson County Museum, a hospital, a library, and several
nursing homes are located in the city. In 1990 the population was
10,809. By 2000 the population was 9,952.
G. Davis, “Lamesa, TX (Dawson County),” Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 14, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/lamesa-tx-dawson-county.
|Dal Paso Museum
Historic Dal-Paso Hotel
306 S. First Street
theatre looking up
|The closed theatre
Dobson Photo, July 2017
Jimmy Dobson Photo, July 2017
Gulf Gas Station
Jimmy Dobson Photo, July 2017
Lamesa Chamber of Commerce
123 Main Street
SW corner NE 1st St. and Elgin Ave., Lamesa
First burial ground
in Dawson County,
given by Frank Conner. First grave, Nov. 10, 1904, for Mrs. G. W.
Pate, who had suggested cemetery. Plot closed 1907, except for 1949
burial of W. R. Kelly beside his wife. The 22 others here: Montie
Andrews, Carrie Baker, Mrs. J. M. Baker, infants Bowser, Dickenson,
McNew, Senter, Mrs. Zeke Harris, G. W. Kelly, Eunice C. Lindsey, John
R. Lindsey, W. W. McElwain, S. H. Maxwell, Mrs. Elmira Pate, Ollie
Pate, Frances C. Printz, John Puryear, Floyd Rains, John Earl Seeds,
Roger Simpson, Mart Trammel, Elizabeth Wright.
Former Lamesa Farm Workers Community
One miles S of Lamesa
County 1940s map
From Texas state map #4335
Texas General Land Office
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