The history of Levelland is as rich as its people. Its backbone, like most towns in this area, stems from oil and agriculture. What you may not know is that C.W. Post founded this area as well as Post, first naming it Hockley City.
In 1912, this part of West Texas was nothing but wide open spaces, prairie land with Comanche indian remnants. But C.W. Post saw something here, named the town Hockley City, and within the next decade, pioneers and ranchers started settling in the area. But the name of the town would soon change.
"I've been told that some club women looked out the window across the horizon and said it's so level, we need to call it Levelland. Even today, when I'm describing the name of the town over the telephone, I tell people it's level land, like flat ground, and it really is as far as you can see," says Bill Thomman of Levelland.
Bill Thomman has lived in Hockley County all her life. She remembers the hard times she's seen, and the changes she's lived through.
"There was hardly any paved roads, and the cars, of course, were a lot slower. And we didn't have the industry we have. Hockley County began to develop the oil industry in the late 30's. We'd come out of the depression and times were really, really hard. We'd come through a depression era that people in Hockley County didn't suffer like people in the cities because we could raise our own food. Even people here in Levelland had cows and chickens, and we in the country had gardens. We raised green beans, corn, peas, and watermelon, everything, and we shared it with everyone," she says.
As a matter of fact, at one time where the courthouse sits today used to be a prosperous crop of black eyed peas. C.W. Post designated the area as the courthouse square, but it was a field of peas with a windmill for all the townspeople to get water from.
"The first fire that was in Levelland. They used the water from that windmill with a bucket brigade to put the fire out," says Thomman.
The original families of this area broke the prairie sod to begin farming, drilled the first oil wells, and established the first businesses. When the railroad rolled into Levelland in 1925, the town experienced a huge boom.
All of a sudden, they were able to transport goods in and out faster, and the people were so excited they held a party that lasted three days, with free barbeque and about 10,000 people. Today, the railroad doesn't have the prominence it used to, but agriculture and oil are still pumping right along.
If you'd like to learn more about Levelland, you can take a stroll along the walk of honor. Important dates, people, and facts are listed next to the gazebo, right here in the courthouse lawn.