Lamesa & Dawson County

Dawson County

Dawson County lies on the eastern edge of the Llano Estacado on the southern High Plains.  The land, surfaced with sandy and loam soils, drains to playas. The altitude ranges from 2,600 to 3,200 feet above mean sea level. 

The county is crossed by Sulphur Springs Draw, a natural trail first used by the Indians and then by the white men who entered the South Plains.  The area was the summer home of Comanches and Kiowas, who moved from waterhole to waterhole in a region that white men supposed waterless.

The first decade of the twentieth century was a time of dramatic growth for Dawson County, as the population jumped from thirty-seven people in 1900 to 2,320 in 1910, and the number of ranches and farms increased from four to 330.

 

Lamesa (Pronounced with a long "e")

Dawson County's first election to choose officials and select the county seat was held on March 20, 1905. The contesting towns, Lamesa and Chicago, were only two miles apart. Lamesa won by five votes, but a movement was already afoot to consolidate the towns and all businesses and residences in Chicago were moved into Lamesa.  Today a placque commemorates the original site of Chicago.  You can find it within the city limits of Lamesa on N 22nd Street.

 

After six years of effort to secure a railroad, the Santa Fe was built into Lamesa in 1911.

 

A work in progress ! ! !

Dawson County was established in 18.. and comprised 4 large ranches.  Over time more and more settlers arrive.  The first towns established were Chicago and Lamesa, just a stone's throw apart.  Residents of each wanted their town to become the county seat.  It was put to a vote in 19.. and by a very narrow magin Lamesa (pronounced with a long "e") won the honor.  Many of the merchants in Chicago literally picked up thier businesses - building included - and moved to Lamesa to be part of the "action."

Today a placque commemorated the original site of Chicago.  You can find it in the city limits on N 22nd Street.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dawson County Historical Commission, Dawson County History (Lubbock: Taylor, 1981). Matthew Clay Lindsey, The Trail of Years in Dawson County (Fort Worth: Wallace, 1958?).

 

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