Texas heritage Trails at Buddy Holy Center

SEE LUBBOCK THROUGH OUR EYES: The Texas Heritage Trails program shares what's historic and distinctive about all 254 of Texas's counties. Today, the Texas Plains Trail Region focuses on its largest county and city, both named for Confederate leader Thomas S. Lubbock.
Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour
THE 52-COUNTY TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL is the largest of the ten Heritage Trails Regions of Texas, an award-winning heritage tourism initiative of the Texas Historical Commission. We help you discover the real places that tell the real stories of Texas -- places you'll want to explore on vacations, road trips, hikes, weekend excursions with your family and friends.

We invite you to join us throughout the year for our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour online, and in person whenever you're ready to hit the road! Follow along with a different county each issue, from Armstrong to Yoakum. Visit us at TexasPlainsTrail.com to plan your adventure by city, site, theme, or event. Watch your e-mail newsletter weekly for fun facts, games, prizes, and travel ideas.

Download our THC regional travel guide here (pdf).
And we'll see you along the trail!  
Buddy Holly statue_ Lubbock
BUDDY SYSTEM: Though there's lots more to appreciate about Lubbock's 12,000-year human history than its role in rock 'n' roll, the legacy of Buddy Holly and the Crickets is one of its most popular touchstones. Download sheet music here for " At the Corner of Buddy Holly (and Mac Davis Lane) " and see how many Lubbock and West Texas music legends you can spot!
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Lubbock County_ Texas
Lubbock skyline 
KEEP LUBBOCK FLAT: The view from the 4th Street parking garage a few years back -- before expansion of Jones AT&T Stadium -- reveals a nearly unbroken expanse to the south of the city.  
Lubbock County_ Texas 
Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf)
but even as far back as twelve millennia ago it might have been so. More than 12,000 years ago, the Clovis people, the earliest known residents of North America, roamed this land hunting the ancient bison and the Columbian mammoth. Evidence was unearthed in the 1930s at a site within sight of Lubbock's growing urban skyline. The Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark in Yellow House Canyon today regularly undertakes archeological research and preserves a restored prairie that was once a life-giving stream frequented by human and beast.

Francisco Vasquéz de Coronado, some believe, crossed the canyon in 1540; Father Juan de Salas traveled this way on his 1629 expedition from Santa Fe to the South Concho River, and other Spanish expeditions have also been documented. The 21st-century visitor wishing to appreciate the critical importance of the Black Water Draw and Yellow House Canyon in migration and exploration should visit the string of streams and lakes in Lubbock's Canyon Lakes system, one of the region's most scenic and historic areas, with plenty of opportunities for walking, cycling, fishing, canoeing, and other outdoor recreation.

In the mid-19th century, when the Kwahadi Comanches had come to dominate the southern plains, one stretch of this geography became infamous as the site where the Anglo captives were traded by native tribes: Ransom Canyon, southeast of Lubbock. The Comanches hunted bison across the flat, grassy expanse of the Llano Estacado on horseback -- thanks to skills cultivated since the Spanish first brought horses to the New World centuries earlier.

Nicolett Hotel_ Lubbock
Nicolett Hotel, Lubbock (Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University)
Clashes with new arrivals who coveted their lands for cattle grazing, farming, railroads, and townsites came to a head in the years before and just after the American Civil war, culminating in the U.S. Army's campaign in 1874-75 to force remaining Indians onto Oklahoma reservations. Only then did permanent settlement come to the county that was designated in 1876 as Lubbock. By 1884, a Lubbock post office had been set up in George W. Singer's store, in the part of Yellow House Canyon the Lubbock Lake Landmark occupies today. In 1891, when the nascent town of Lubbock was selected as county seat, came hotels, newspaper, school, bank, livery stables, stores, and -- surely the most telling sign of burgeoning prosperity -- lawyers and land agents.

Lubbock_s first cotton gin_ 1904 _from KCBD.com_

Lubbock's first cotton gin, 1904 (from KCBD.com)

In 1909 the arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad precipitated Lubbock's incorporation as a city. (The communities of Shallowater, Slaton, Abernathy, and Idalou soon likewise sprang into existence during that decade, thanks to the railroads.) In Lubbock, the establishment of hospitals and medical practices, the creation of municipal utilities, and the growth of businesses to support a flourishing cotton trade assured an increasing population.  But it was the choice of Lubbock, in 1923, as the site of the new Texas Technological College that assured Lubbock's place as a major center of industry and intellect.

Slaton Harvey House
Slaton, seventeen miles southeast of Lubbock, was designated a division point on the Santa Fe Railroad in 1911. Its Harvey House, which provided meals for travelers and lodging for staff, is one of the few still standing and open to the public today.
Diversification of agricultural production helped Lubbock County weather the Great Depression, and during the World War II years and immediately following, the county became one of the fastest growing in the state.

By the 1980s, notes the Handbook of Texas Online, "the city of Lubbock was unquestionably the dominant force in the county . . . when it was the eighth-largest of Texas cities." A healthy roster of banks, public schools, hospitals, churches, public parks and libraries, shopping centers and malls, universities plural, Reese Air Force Base (later closed), the Lubbock State School, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, the Museum of Texas Tech, and the National Ranching Heritage Center had transformed Lubbock into a cosmopolitan center of business and culture, truly a hub for dozens of communities in West Texas and eastern New Mexico. Lubbock had survived a devastating F5 tornado in May 1970 to rebuild its downtown and establish a civic center to house its symphony orchestra, theater, and other arts programs.

www.visitlubbock.org Today, the Lubbock Civic Center, the Louise Hopkins Center for the Arts (LHUCA), and a nearly complete Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences anchor the city's cultural district. Major railroads cross the county; Interstate 27 and US Highways 87, and 84, and 62/82 connect Lubbock to other cities; and a network of farm roads; and the Preston Smith International Airport connects Lubbock to the world. The city's long-standing ordinance against alcoholic beverage sales fell to a public vote in 2009, when America's largest dry city officially went "wet." Though the colorfully lit "strip" south of town soon vanished, wine aficionados welcomed to local store shelves the excellent vintages produced from West Texas's own wine grapes.

Visitors these days have no trouble getting to Lubbock County -- and finding ways to enjoy its hospitality, stay longer, and explore more. Visit Lubbock provides tourism information for Lubbock and the surrounding area; consult their website at www.visitlubbock.org for a full listing of cultural, recreational, and performing events and a variety of destinations to supplement this newsletter. 

Texas Historical Commission HISTORICAL MARKERS AND SITES   The Texas Historical Commission's online Texas Historic Sites Atlas guides you to locations and information on museums, cemeteries, military sites, historical markers, national register properties, and more--including 105 listings in Lubbock County. Historical markers alone account for 67 of these listings. Click and explore for history on your desktop!

Also, follow Historic Lubbock County on Facebook for travel ideas and fun facts.
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Lubbock County Courthouse
Lubbock County Courthouse

Organized  1891
County seat  Lubbock
Population   305,225 (2017)
Towns and communities    Abernathy (part), Buffalo Springs, Idalou, Lubbock, New Deal, Ransom Canyon, Slaton, Shallowater, Wolfforth
Unincorporated communities   Acuff, Becton, Heckville, Posey, Reese Center, Roosevelt, Slide, Woodrow   Higher education Texas Tech University (with law and medical schools); Lubbock Christian University; South Plains College branch; Wayland Baptist University off-campus center. 

The ghost town of Estacado was a 19th-century Quaker settlement intended to be situated in Crosby County. But once a land survey revealed the town to be just over the line in Lubbock County, in 1891 the community relocated southeast to Emma. The town's historic cemetery can still be visited in Lubbock County.

Lubbock Lake Landmark
Lubbock Lake Landmark

-- starting at the Lubbock Lake Landmark National Historic Site. An easygoing Landmark after Dark night hike -- 4th Saturdays monthly, March through September -- is the perfect way to imagine what this relict watercourse might have looked like in the days of the bison antiquus and the Columbian mammoth. Allow time to visit indoor exhibits beforehand. Take the kids, take a friend, take water; don't take pets.

Cactus Courtyard_ Lubbock You'll have worked up a thirst, of course, so afterward is a great time to experience the city's Depot District nightlife. The Blue Light serves up live singer-songwriter tunes on Buddy Holly Avenue between the neon lights of the Cactus Theater and the old KDAV Radio Station, where Holly once sang on-air. Nearby, La Diosa Cellars pours local McPherson Cellars wines alongside delectable tapas dishes. This is just a sampling of Lubbock's thousands of eating, drinking, and performing establishments; if you need a personal recommendations infused with local heritage, drop us an email and we'll send you an updated or tailored list.   

Alternatively, begin at the Museum of Texas Tech University, a world-class repository of history, art, and applied science. While Lubbock lacks an exclusively local history museum, it more than makes up for it with its range of major institutions. Choose from the following, depending on your interests, the makeup of your party, and the time you have to spend.

American Windmill Museum

American Windmill Museum American Windmill Museum. The world's largest windmill museum, with some 70 windmills on a twenty-acre park site and many more indoors. Kid- and stroller-friendly, with many paved walkways. Dramatic views of city skyline and Canyon Lakes.

Quanah Parker Trail arrow at Bayer Museum of Agriculture
Quanah Parker Trail arrow at Bayer Museum of Agriculture
Bayer Museum of Agriculture. Indoor and outdoor exhibits (including historic tractors, a restored Pullman rail car, and a giant arrow on the Quanah Parker Trail) on a 25-acre site take visitors from horse-drawn implements to the GPS-driven equipment and tech-savvy farmers of today.
Buddy Holly Center. A mixture of music, art, and heritage in the heart of Lubbock's Depot District. Allow an hour; more if you're attending an event. No photos are allowed in the permanent exhibition space.
Caviel Musuem_ Lubbock


Caviel Museum of African American History.
Lubbock's newest community museum, spotlighting a heritage drawn from the background of African American drugstore owners.
Slaton Harvey House Harvey House of Slaton. This restored 1912 Santa Fe Harvey House functions today as bed & breakfast inn, community and private event space, and Harvey museum.
Landmark Arts. The Galleries of Texas Tech University showcase rotating exhibitions of local and touring artists; located in the fine arts building on campus.
LHUCA The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts hosts the monthly First Friday Art Trail plus a wide array of visual and performing events in multiple venues. LHUCA's attractively restored public spaces are popular photo settings.
Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark's indoor museum features permanent and temporary exhibits related to the archeological exploration and natural history of the site. Outdoors are located several sculptures of prehistoric species that once inhabited the site.
Lubbock Memorial Arboretum/Garden & Arts Center. For more than 50 years, the city-run Garden & Arts Center has hosted community art classes and exhibitions. Sharing the space of Clapp Park is the Arboretum, a public/private partnership that provides education on horticulture and conservation, and hosts special events and sales. Its walking paths are used by families and health walkers, and by those who want to appreciate specimens of plants and trees. Also on the site is the St. Paul's-on-the-Plains Church, a preservation project of the Lubbock Heritage Society that is used for special events.
Museum of Texas Tech University. For researchers, scholars, and professionals, this institution (comprising Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark, Natural Science Research Laboratory, Moody Planetarium, Helen DeVitt Jones Auditorium and Sculpture Court, Diamond M Gallery and the Museum of TTU) makes available its collections of more than 5 million objects in the arts, humanities, and sciences. For visitors, it opens the doors of its galleries, sculpture court, planetarium, and more for daily visits, field trips, and special events. Family-friendly exhibits, easy parking, and large open spaces make MOTTU a great choice for a multi-hour exploration.
National Ranching Heritage Center_ Lubbock TX National Ranching Heritage Center_ Lubbock National Ranching Heritage Center. The NRHC is a museum and outdoor park with 50 historic structures dating back to the 1700s, moved to the site from around West Texas and beyond. In addition to strolling the paved paths, visitors can tour by trolley on Thursdays and can enjoy permanent and touring exhibitions indoors. Special family-friendly events include Ranch Day and Candlelight at the Ranch.
Science Spectrum and Omni Theater. This magnet for kids houses scads of interactive exhibits, an IMAX theater, and the Dudley and Doris Faver Gallery of Flight, which covers the history of modern military aviation in 5,000 square feet of exhibit space.
Silent Wings Museum. In the former passenger terminal of Lubbock's commercial airport and adjoining its current taxiways is a superb museum illustrating the history of unpowered manned flight, for which Lubbock was the home of a World War II training base. Exhibits include equipment and aircraft as well as overviews of the armed conflicts in which glider flight has played an important role.
Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University. Tech's special collections library, housing millions of documents and artifacts for preservation and research, also incorporates a small gallery and exhibition area with permanent and rotating displays. It is also home to the university's Vietnam Center and Archive. Situated in the heart of the main campus with easy access to the original Key buildings, the main university library, the Dairy Barn, and Tech's public art works, the Southwest Collection is an excellent starting point for appreciating the university's role in its community and in the world. Public parking can be a challenge.
Texas Air Museum_ Slaton Texas Air Museum, Slaton. Adjacent to Slaton's municipal airfield is a surprisingly extensive collection of aviation exhibits and memorability and aircraft, indoors and out. Many of these planes are maintained and flown regularly, and the museum hosts a popular airshow each June.

Texas Air Museum_ Slaton

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Lubbock's parks, outdoor spaces, and out-of-the-way corners are also rewarding destinations for heritage travelers. Stroll down the brick-lined streets of downtown to spot murals, mosaics, and historic architecture. Snap a photo at the Stubbs Barbecue statue on East Broadway. Drive out to the cool fountains at the Lubbock Vietnam Veterans Memorial between 82nd and 84th Streets and visit the
or the  Willie McCool memorial sculpture on 84th. Cruise by the historic mansions on 19th across from the Tech campus, or take a picnic to Wagner Park, Mae Simmons Park, or Mackenzie Park (a former state park, with a prairie dog town, amphitheatre, disc golf, walking trails, and the Joyland Amusement Park) -- or dozens of other public parks of all sizes.

Speaking of things you'll want to see by walking: the Texas Tech University public art collection -- most of it outdoors, featuring the work of local sculptor Glenna Goodacre and others -- is one of the largest such university collections in the nation. Set among the buildings and grounds of the
impressive campus, these works invite appreciation and discussion. 

Once you've done Lubbock as much justice as can be done in a single visit, make your checklist for next time. Then head out on the highway spokes of the hub to enjoy the scenery of vast cotton and corn fields, playa lakes teeming with bird life, or dramatic views off the caprock to the south.

Klemke_s_ Slaton_ TX In Slaton, stop by for a thumbprint cookie or a bag of homemade vanilla wafers at the Slaton Bakery, a Texas Treasure Business Award winner nearly 100 years old. Klemke's German sausages, jerky, and barbecue are also special treats.

If you're headed east to Idalou, turn off onto the main street for some small-town shopping. But then keep going for a couple of miles to Apple Country Orchards, Texas's largest organic apple farm. You can pick your own fruit in season, or enjoy their bakery, cafe, and Apple Butter Festival at other times.

North toward New Deal and Abernathy, follow the historic course of Blackwater Draw to the west. When autumn starts to turn the fields golden, turn west toward in Shallowater and look for the corn maize and pumpkin patch at At'l Do Farms.

Heading southwest from Lubbock, you'll come to the town of Wollforth, now practically a suburb -- but with its own unique personality, Wollforth holds its annual Independence Day celebration on the FIFTH of the July, so mark your calendars for Fourth on the Fifth.

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Coming up in Lubbock within the next 10 days alone are some highly anticipated events.

First Friday Art Trail FRIDAY, APRIL 5. First Friday Art Trail is a free, self-guided public art happening that has taken Lubbock to the forefront of the Texas art scene. Held predominately in the Lubbock Cultural District, this event brings together collectors, artists and community friends for an evening of art, music and fun. Featuring a variety of art centers, museums, galleries and businesses, FFAT offers an ever-changing array of art exhibits in all media. Held from 6 to 9 pm, rain or shine, on the first Friday of every month, this progressive art event is sure to delight visitors with a plethora of art experiences. Trail goers can grab a map and explore the trail on their own, or jump aboard one of five free First Friday Trolleys and ride to the galleries along the downtown route.

FRIDAY, APRIL 12. Lubbock Uncorked invites participants to come celebrate the culture of grape-growing and wine-making in the Lubbock area. Attendees will be tasting wine made from High Plains grapes and will feature only Texas wines. There will be wine, food and music - don't miss this one. It promises to be barrels of fun! 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm, American Windmill Museum.

SATURDAY, APRIL 13. National Ranching Heritage Center hosts 49th Annual Ranch Day. More than 5,000 visitors are expected for a day of fun at the ranch during the 49th Annual Ranch Day, a crowd-pleaser for both the young and young at heart as chuck wagons, horses, cowboys, cattle, ranch wildlife, a "Snake Oil" magic show and an authentic Comanche tepee greet visitors. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5 per family. Cash sale of hot dogs, hamburgers, kettle korn and lemonade will be available for those who want to eat while they visit. Ranch Hosts dressed in pioneer clothing will be among the more than 150 volunteers who help with Ranch Day.

Lubbock Arts Festival

Lubbock Arts Festival SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, APRIL 13-14. The Lubbock Arts Festival is the largest fine art, fine craft event in West Texas. The visual art division of the Lubbock Arts Festival includes 150 artists from around the nation in booths displaying and selling original work in the mediums of painting, drawing, pottery, fiber, jewelry, glass, wood and sculpture. Singers, musicians, dancers and actors will perform throughout the weekend on different stages. Audiences can enjoy such diverse offerings as brass bands, storytellers, string quartets and ballet folkloric dancers. Children can also explore the Lubbock Arts Festival as they go from "Kid Stop" to "Kid Stop" to make art projects, participate in theatre improvisation, and watch artists demonstrating with clay and watercolor. 

Texas Fifty-Two-Step deck of playing cards  
Lubbock County card
Our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Deck of Cards is a sweet deal to help plan your trip.   Order yours now--each face summarizes a different county's travel highlights. $10 per deck (including tax & shipping), in shrink-wrapped custom tuck box. Keep a deck in the glove compartment. Or use them in your favorite game of Texas Hold 'Em or Fifty-Two-Card Pickup!

Retailers and Texas Plains Trail partners, please contact us at 806.747.1997 or info@TexasPlainsTrail.com for bulk sales and shipping.

Flat 52 Car Cutout As you travel the 52 counties of the Texas Plains Trail Region, take our Plains Trail kids and dog along with you -- in our #C52NTX 1952 DeSoto Ragtop (pdf). Download and print the graphic on heavy paper on your own color printer. Cut along the dashed line. Then glue a stir stick or popsicle stick to the back -- and feature it in your photos of destinations all around the region. Along the way, share your pix to www.Facebook.com/TexasPlainsTrail
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TX Highway 52 52 Offbeat Texas Stops "52" TRIVIA TIME
More than 25 years ago (that's "52" backwards, in case you hadn't noticed), an enterprising TV host named Bob Phillips had made his mark on his native Texas with a weekly travel show. In 1993 he published 52 Offbeat Texas Stops . . . one destination for every week of the year. You can still pick up a used copy on Amazon. And of course you can still tune in to Texas Country Reporter weekly on Texas channels and RFD-TV.

Lubbock County_ Texas
Like us on Facebook for regular event and travel updates. "See 52 in Texas" and discover great destinations by following our #C52NTX hashtag on Twitter, and statewide travel info on #TexasToDo. For driving and weather conditions, visit www.DriveTexas.org. And please with your Texas traveling friends!
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It's quiz time! We've got great prizes to share.

To win a nifty Texas Plains Trail Region keychain, be the first to email us with the correct identification of this place, located in next week's featured county.

Congratulations to all our weekly winners so far.

If you didn't guess Lubbock from last week's clue, well, it's not likely to get easier with this smaller county. However, it's situated exactly one county to the south. Its county courthouse restoration is nearing completion. Think you might know this county and its county seat? Email us with the right answer and we'll mail you a keychain. Stay tuned!
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Partners, do take this opportunity to review your community, site, and event information on our Texas Plains Trail website as well as your own sites. We'll want to add your photos, update any obsolete contact info, add your events, and enhance your text content before your week comes up.   Consult the Texas Fifty-Two-Step schedule (pdf), and email with me with updates or questions.

Did you know you can add your own events to the TexasTimeTravel.com website? You'll need event name, date and time, location and address, and contact info -- and for best results, a photo. Post your festivals and heritage events now!

Like those Texas Fifty-Two-Step county license plate graphics? They are available free to partners for promotional use. Click and scroll down to select, then download your desired images. Please credit Texas Plains Trail/Tomato Graphics.

Our campaign has been designed by a team of creative minds. Our thanks go to Rock Langston of Tomato Graphics, Amarillo, for the design of campaign components and to Stephanie Price of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, for the #C52NTX concept. Barbara Brannon is responsible for copywriting and the weekly newsletter. Photo credits: 1952 blue Chevy Styleline, Hemmings Motor News; 1952 red DeSoto, Daniel Schmitt & Co.; 1952 blue Chevy rear 3/4 view, Walt Pinkston.

Every week's issue is archived on our website.   Click here and scroll to search and download your county!
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Texas Plains Trail Region | 806.747.1997 | E-mail | Website
Barbara A. Brannon, Executive Director

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