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Sunday, June 18, 2000
Last modified at 6:02 p.m. on Friday, June 16, 2000
© 2000 - The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Glances into city's past bring glimpses of future


By KIM SVATEK
Avalanche-Journal

If these walls could talk, they'de tell the stories of lives lost and battles conquered as a fledgling settlement grew into a prosperous modern city.

The buildings and landmarks of Lubbock serve as pages in a history book of Lubbock's growth and development from a "treeless, desolate waste of uninhabited solitude," to a city of commercial growth and technological advancement.

Settlers first became interested in Lubbock around the 1890s as ranchers and farmers began to push west. On Dec. 19, 1890, Frank Wheelock and W.E. Rayner joined to form the settlement of Lubbock, Texas. Lubbock was elected the county seat in 1891, said Lawrence Graves, a citizen of Lubbock since 1955, in his books "History of Lubbock" and "Lubbock from Town to City."

Lubbock's first post office was set up at George W. Singer's store in Yellow House Canyon in 1884. The site is near today's Lubbock Lake National Historic and State Archaeological Landmark. The landmark is known for its unbroken 11,000-year-old record of early humanity.

The Santa Fe railroad tracks is where Lubbock got its big break on Oct. 25, 1909, when the railroad sent its first train south from Plainview. Lubbock incorporated as a city on March 16, 1909, causing the population of the settlement to double within the decade.

The walls of Texas Technological College (later to become Texas Tech University) have stood proud since its inception in 1923.

Lubbock has been served by a newspaper since its settling. The Lubbock Leader began publication on July 31, 1891, and was replaced in 1900 by the Lubbock Avalanche. In 1926 The Avalanche took over the Plains Agricultural Journal to form the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

One of Lubbock's oldest businesses is its electrical plant. Lubbock Power and Light has served Lubbock since its creation in 1916.

One of the most remembered events in Lubbock history was the May 11, 1970, tornado, which tore through downtown and destroyed many of Lubbock's buildings. It killed 26 citizens. The tornado caused $135 million in damage, but the city was able to quickly rebuild and constructed the Memorial Civic Center.

The Civic Center has since been the home of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra and the Lubbock Civic Ballet. The orchestra has been playing since 1949, and dancers hit the stage in 1969.

Taking a look into the past helps Lubbock citizens to understand where they come from and help push them into the next century.


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