City of Lamesa & Dawson County
(For additional information about what Dawson County has to offer, Check out this link to the Texas Plains Trail Newsletter.)
Dawson County lies on the eastern edge of the Llano Estacado on the southern High Plains. The land, surfaced with sandy and loam soils, drains to playas. The altitude ranges from 2,600 to 3,200 feet above mean sea level.
The county is crossed by Sulphur Springs Draw, a natural trail first used by the Indians and then by the white men who entered the South Plains. The area was the summer home of Comanches and Kiowas, who moved from waterhole to waterhole in a region that white men supposed waterless.
The first decade of the twentieth century was a time of dramatic growth for Dawson County, as the population jumped from thirty-seven people in 1900 to 2,320 in 1910, and the number of ranches and farms increased from four to 330.
Dawson County was established in 1876 and comprised 4 large ranches. Over time more and more settlers arrive. The first towns established were Chicago and Lamesa, just a stone’s throw apart. Residents of each wanted their town to become the county seat. Dawson County’s first election to choose officials and select the county seat was held on March 20, 1905. The contesting towns, Lamesa and Chicago, were only two miles apart. Lamesa won by five votes, but a movement was already afoot to consolidate the towns and all businesses and residences in Chicago were moved into Lamesa. Many of the merchants in Chicago literally picked up thier businesses – building included – and moved to Lamesa to be part of the “action.”
Today a plaque commemorates the original site of Chicago. You can find it in the city limits on N 22nd Street.
After six years of effort to secure a railroad, the Santa Fe was built into Lamesa in 1911.
Lamesa (Pronounced with a long “e”) (lə-mee-sə)
Lamesa is a city in and the county seat of Dawson County, Texas, United States. The population was 9,422 at the 2010 census, down from 9,952 at the 2000 census. Located south of Lubbock on the Llano Estacado, Lamesa was founded in 1903. Most of the economy is based on cattle ranching and cotton farming. The Preston E. Smith prison unit, named for the former governor of Texas, is located just outside Lamesa.
You can read more at Wikipedia.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dawson County Historical Commission, Dawson County History (Lubbock: Taylor, 1981). Matthew Clay Lindsey, The Trail of Years in Dawson County (Fort Worth: Wallace, 1958?).
One block west, in the 400 block of south 2nd street. It’s simply known as the wall, and its history as a local landmark dates back to the late 1920’s or early 30’s. Originally there was a block long brick wall-part of competing lumber companies one each side of the street, giving the clock its all street nickname. Sometime in the late 1930’s, local youngsters started painting their names and other graffiti on the walls–perhaps without permission but also without punishment from the owners. Over the years, the routine painting of graffiti on the wall has largely given way to a tradition of the seniors at Lamesa high school painting the entire wall, with their names and other artwork, in one big event a couple of days before graduation.
The Big Lady
Some call her bertha bethel, but to most she is just known generally as the big lady or the tall woman in front of Reid Bethel Tire Co. at 310 S. Dallas Ave.
Built of fiberglass, the 16ft tall figure in high heels originally was used to promote Uniroyal tires when it came to Lamesa in the early 1960’s now owned by store manager Gary Culp, the figure was repainted several years ago to resemble Lamesa high school golden tornado cheerleader. Travelers along business route 87 through town regularly stop to take photos with the big lady.
Quanah Parker Arrow
A giant arrow representative of the Comanche tribe has been erected at the north “Y” intersection, where Lynn and Dallas Avenues merge together, to commemorate the Comanche Indians domination of the Panhandle area.