Lamesa's People Help Shape Its Rich History - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/27/04

Lamesa's People Help Shape Its Rich History

If you stand on the edge of the Caprock and look down, you'll see what looks likes a table, the table-top, otherwise known as Lamesa. In 1903, A.L. Wasson suggested the Spanish version of the name "La Mesa," at the first town meeting. But the committee voted and "Lamesa" was the decided name.

One year after that meeting, Lamesa became the county seat of Dawson County. So, that means next year, Lamesa will celebrate its Centennial Anniversary. And it's the people that first lived here and those that continue to live here, that have shaped the town's history.

"If you had come out here in 1905, there were no doctors no medical care for 100 miles at least nothing really except the idea that you could take this land and acquire it cheaply," explains local historian Wayne Smith.

But the founders of Lamesa had a vision that this would be farming country, "So someone had the idea and somewhere around 1905 the first patch of cotton was planted out here East of town," he says.

Seeds that Lamesa historian Wayne Smith says transformed Lamesa into the cotton farming community that has emerged: planting opportunities for those seeking a new life. "They told my daddy about the opportunities in West Texas. Well, my daddy come and looked things over and he bought 160 acres, " says Myrtle Hutchinson, who's just a few months shy of 103, remembers moving to Lamesa from East Texas as a child and Myrtle has never left.

But farming wasn't the only way of life in the early days since Lamesa didn't have a paved highway until 1934, the Santa Fe Railroad, which traveled from Slaton, served as the main source of transportation and trade for Lamesa.

Completed in 1910, the Santa Fe Railroad was a system that brought everything from furniture to farming equipment into Lamesa. "This big machine would just go along, it was pushed by a steam engine and it sort of built it's own track as it went," explains Smith.

Bringing the community together in a unique way. "People would ride the railroad there for football games and those kinds of things, they ran a special car up there," says Smith.

At 80-years-old, Davis Furniture is the oldest family-owned business in Lamesa. Store founders Zachary Taylor and Fannie Davis came from South Dakota to find new opportunities. "She said she saw the last of the plantation days, the wild west and the pioneer days out here, "says Pat Davis, daughter-in-law to the founders.

But their son, Louis says the family faced hard times when his father died during World War II; leaving Fannie to run the store. "My mother worked here until she was 99," explains Louis.

Reflecting on Lamesa's historical journey evolving into the tight-knit community that it is today, the people of Lamesa agree that the spirit of the town resembles what the founders envisioned in 1903. "When they looked out there, they didn't see anything but grass but we can look at something and say this has been done now what can we do make it better and pass it on to that next generation," adds Smith.

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