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 Texas : Towns A-Z / Panhandle : Route 66

LELA, TEXAS

Wheeler County, Texas Panhandle
Just off Interstate 40 (Old Route 66)
5 miles W of Shamrock
80 miles E of Amarillo

Population: 135 (1990)

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Lela Texas - Lela 1928 High School
Lela 1928 High School
Photo Courtesy Rick Vanderpool, 2010
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History in a Pecan Shell

1902 was the year that Story, Texas appeared next to the tracks of the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railroad. The next year - Story had a post office and a newspaper. The postmaster changed the town's name to honor his sister-in-law. It's not recorded if there was any disruption in the mail service, or if it had the approval of the townspeople.

Shamrock started draining trade away from Lela and most businesses moved there. To add insult to injury - the town's students began attending school in Shamrock. There were only 50 people in Lela in 1947. Finally Shamrock took everything by having Lela's mail routed through them in the 1970s.

Lela, Texas Forum

Subject: Lela, Texas
I've been enjoying looking at the information about Lela, TX . I am 78 years old and lived in Lela for a relative short time in 1932 or 33. My father was an Agent for the CRI&P RR and was Agent at Dodge City, KS before going to Lela. The depression was in full swing and the Railroad industry, like others, were reducing forces rapidly and without much thought about the consequences. My Dad had eleven clerks when the depression began and when they finally reduced that number to 1 he decided he just had to leave because of the work load. He looked at the current list of jobs (agents and telegraph operators) that were open for bid and decided to bid on Lela.

The Rock Island depot was two stories and the upper story was an area for the Agent and his family to live.

My dad thought the depot was unsafe during windstorms and I vividly rembering my parents, an older brother and a younger sister and me retreating to an old, dirt cave for safety. It was small and unpleasant and I think it must have been dug by a previous agent as it was located on the railroad right of way.

I don't remember much about the town except for the school and a couple of combination filling stations and general stores. For some time, I attended first grade in the school.

I only remember one family from Lela and I just can't draw their name out of my memory. They lived on a farm about half a mile south of the Depot. They had a boy which I think was only two or three years older than I. He had one foot without a heel which was the result of an accident while he was plowing.

I do remember a carbon black plant a mile or two west of the depot. While passing through the area a few years ago enroute San Diego, my wife and I drove south and located the old Rock Island road bed.

I started working on the Rock Island Railroad in 1944 and later went to the Santa Fe. I worked there for 38 years retiring Nov. 1, 1986. I lived in Topeka at the time of my retirement and my wife and I stilll live here.

I would be pleased to hear from anyone who might give me some information about Lela during the era we were there. As I mentioned earlier, we were only there a few months before moving to McPherson, KS. - D. Caywood, November 19, 2005

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