LEVELLAND, TX (KCBD) – Established in 1912 by C.W. Post, founder of Post Cereal, Levelland didn't start to develop until 1921.
From name changes to strange sightings, Levelland has quite an interesting history. We sat down with some of those folks who've been around since the beginning to talk about what's happened over the last 98 years.
Levelland resident Nathan Tubb, 92, spoke to us about the town. "My dad built one of the first two homes in Levelland."
Tubb's family moved into town in 1921. First named Hockley City, the few families there decided to change the name. "I was at the meeting, I wasn't in on the deliberation. I was probably chunking clods at some of my buddies."
The men struggled to find a name "…so they turned it over to the ladies. My mother said well the town is level and Mrs. Bowers says let's call it Levelland," said Tubb.
Over the decades, Tubb has seen buildings come and go. "October of '21 the first little court house was built about where the gazebo is on the square. Seven months later they built a two story court house." In 1927 they broke ground for the third, finished a year later, and that courthouse still stands. The railroad came, and so did Highway 114.
Oil and cotton production boomed; boosting population, making the square a popular place for 89-year-old Sycily Lattimore. "…my fun on Saturday afternoon, after we got the theater. That was a great thing to go to the movie. We had a drug store on the north side of the square, one on the south. We had a hardware store right there on the corner of the square," says Lattimore. "Everybody seemed to have a lot more time then."
Everybody also seemed to have a lot more trouble with the weather. "Sand storms were pretty frequent in those days, says Lattimore." "It was so bad it upended trailers, out houses and anything that wasn't nailed down and it sand blasted cars," said Tubb. "For a long time there was no paving around the square and if it rained pretty good, why you'd just sink down to the hub caps," said Lattimore.
Storms weren't the only things brewing in the sky. In 1957, several U.F.O. sightings in Levelland caught national attention, with claims of fiery objects in the sky, causing car lights and engines to die.
It was the next year that proved to bring the most attention to this small town, with the opening of South Plains College. "In my heart I think the finest thing that's happened to Levelland is South Plains College," said Lattimore.
Now with almost 10,000 students enrolled, the community college continues to grow. "We've seen a lot of growth in our community it's been exciting to know that other people wanted to come here and live too," says Lattimore.
The U.S. Air Force did have an explanation for that large egg-shaped object emitting a blue glow. They say it was a severe electrical storm that caused the sightings and also caused the auto failure.