City of Lubbock celebrates 107th birthday

Published: Mar. 17, 2016 at 11:22 AM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2016 at 2:27 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Tuesday marked Lubbock's 107th birthday, when it became incorporated on March 16, 1909.

It has experienced "rapid" growth since, starting from just under 2,000 residents at first and now has a estimated populations of 240,000.

Even since historian Paul Carlson moved to Lubbock 1968, he said the city has swelled with new businesses and residents. 

"Slide Road was way out in the county," said. "Chicago was in the boonies, Chicago Avenue. Now we're moving beyond Milwaukee Avenue."

But through Carlson's studies of this city, he said it did not always grow this rapidly.

"It moved in 1891 to present downtown Lubbock," Carlson said, "but it grew slowly in those years partly because of a deep nationwide depression."

It was after the city was incorporated that Carlson said Lubbock began to transition into the Hub City of the Plains.

"Railroads arrived in 1909 and then when Texas Tech was founded in the 1920s, that helped boom Lubbock," Carlson said. "World War II with an enormous amount of economic spending helped it boom. In the 1950's irrigation expanded and auxiliary businesses came to Lubbock."

That was not the only developmental role of the 1950's in Lubbock, which was the era of music composed by iconic Lubbock musician Buddy Holly.

"Buddy Holly was the first rock n' roller to go to Europe and travel Europe," Carlson said. "Even Elvis didn't do that.

Even over 50 years after his death, Holly is still drawing visitors to his hometown through the Buddy Holly Center.

"Every week someone comes here from out of the country," employee David Seitz said, "including our locals and just people traveling through."

Holly is among the historic Lubbock people Carlson included a book he published, titled The Centennial History of Lubbock.

It took Carlson two years to write the book, and he released it on Lubbock's 100th birthday. In the pages, he included many key-turning points for Lubbock.

"That time around the tornado of 1970, that changed Lubbock…the tornado and related things," Carlson said. "The tornado of course brought millions and millions of federal dollars and state dollars into Lubbock to rebuild after the tornado. Well, that helped boom Lubbock in the 70's."

Carlson looks forward to writing future publications about this area where he has raised his family.

"I don't think we need to worry about our future, economically, socially, politically," he said. "Eventually a city begins to feed on itself and as it grows. Look at all the businesses coming here, well that encourages people to come here."

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