Lubbock  is the largest city in the Great Plains region of Texas and serves as the area’s agricultural and economic hub. Lubbock, commonly known as the Hub City, is in the center of the South Plains, an expansive cotton-growing region. Lubbock has experienced steady growth for several decades and today occupies approximately 125 mi² (324 km²). The city is home to approximately 230,000 residents and students. Lubbock is the seat of Lubbock County, the site of state and national parks, two major medical systems, three universities, and is unique among other growing Texas cities in that its sustained economic development and growth are not supported by heavy industry.
Lubbock County was founded in 1876 and named after Thomas S. Lubbock, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and subsequent Confederate officer. Mr. Lubbock didn’t have any particular ties to the area; but the area bore his name because a state administrator penciled in names of counties on a crude map of the Panhandle – at random. The modern town of Lubbock was not established until 1890 when old-Lubbock and the smaller town of Monterey struck an unusual alliance and merged the two communities, a deal most likely initiated by rival town promoters hired by area ranchers and merchants to lobby Ft. Worth & Denver for a rail depot. The site of Monterey was chosen in lieu of the new township’s name, Lubbock. Old-Lubbock’s residents relocated to Monterey just south of the the Yellowhouse Canyon, dragging the Nicollete Hotel with them on rollers. Lubbock became the county seat in 1891 and incorporated as a city in 1909.
In 1923 Texas Technological College was founded after a contentious bid war among several area cities including Amarillo and Plainview. The city of Lubbock was a mile away from the only campus building during its first session.
A category F-5 tornado cut a 8-mile (13 km) gash through the city on the evening of May 11, 1970, resulting in $125 million in property damage and the loss of 26 lives. The devastation received international news coverage and was among the first natural disaster recoveries to be documented on television. The coordinated effort served as a model for disaster recovery research and planning. The destruction of several thousand homes effectively ended segregation throughout the city.
Lubbock is the largest developed area atop the Llano Estacado plateau. The area, when first explored, was a featureless grassland, and, according to legend, Spanish conquistadors drove large, brightly-colored stakes into the ground to plot their position. The region was later named the staked plains or Llano Estacado. The first settlers encountered banditos or native Comanche who would often hold new arrivals for ransom. The portion of the Caprock Escarpment just east of Lubbock is known as Ransom Canyon.
Southwest Airlines, United Express, and American Eagle service the small Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport  (IATA: LBB) 5 mi (8 km) north of downtown. Air travel to Lubbock will most likely require a connecting flight in Denver, Dallas or Houston, as there are few direct flights, although Southwest has nonstop flights to Las Vegas and Austin, as well as Dallas and Houston. Cab fare to the Downtown area or Texas Tech is $13 to $18. Fare to the hotels along the south and southwest beltway range from $20 to $25. Royal Coach offers posted rates from the airport into the city. The fare is based on a zoned map ranging from $6 to $24, depending on your destination.
Lubbock is easily accessible by car. US 62/82, US 84, I-27, US 87 and TX 114 are well maintained roadways which allow for easy driving in and out of the city. A modern beltway, TX Loop 289, offers a quick shortcut around the city’s notoriously absent congestion.
Greyhound has routes to Lubbock from Dallas, El Paso, Amarillo, and a few other places. The closed Bus Stop Diner, on the 13th St. side of the terminal, is rumored haunted by the city’s transients. Travelers coming in from Dallas or El Paso sometimes switch buses in Big Spring, TX. Many northern destinations can be reached by connecting through Amarillo.
Lubbock is developed along a large scale grid. North-south streets are labeled A-Z Downtown and progress to city and state names, which also proceed in alphabetical order, moving west. East-west streets are numbered from 1 to 150 or so. Streets north of Downtown follow the names of colleges and universities, while those east of Downtown are flowers and trees. Block ranges, house numbering and street names are consistent throughout the city and most follow alphabetical order. All major roadways are 1 mi (1.6 km) from each other in either direction and are uniformly straight.
The city’s public transit authority, Citibus, operates fixed bus routes throughout the city. The system relies on a pulse-based schedule which originates at the Downtown Transfer Plaza. A one-way trip is $1.50, and a day pass is $3. The drivers operate electronic fare boxes and do not carry change. Most routes pass through Texas Tech University and the two medical centers. The city is quite large so using the transit may be inconvenient.
The city’s only taxicab service, Yellow Cab, is very reliable and offers reasonable fares. Reserving pick-up times is recommended. Plan your trip before calling, as the dispatchers are often extremely busy. It is best to offer your mobile phone number when arranging a pick-up. Drivers will phone you when they are a few blocks away. Yellow Cab also carries several thousand contract passengers everyday so be prepared to wait up to 45 minutes in the late afternoon or early morning. 806 765-7777, Available 24 Hours/day.
Lubbock is one of those rare cities where history permeates everything, and as a result most locals know at least something about the city’s history. Most are content with knowing the area, and specifically the city, are of some historical import. There are plenty of folks who are willing to share a few details about their home without repeating the “Buddy Holly is from here” bit.
Museums and Galleries
The City of Lubbock operates some 75 parks throughout the city. Most border a system of playa lakes which the city uses for flood water retention.
Texas Tech University
The Texas Tech University university campus is 2 mi² (5 km²) of mixed-use buildings, rich landscape, a natural rangeland preserve and a student-run golf course. The campus is renowned for its Spanish-style architecture. Walking the campus early morning or late afternoon are best to avoid the throngs of students. Park in the surrounding neighborhoods for free or on campus for $1 to $2 per hour. There are greeters posted at most entrances who will offer directions and instructions for using the electronic meters. On the campus grounds are several outstanding buildings and amazing artwork. A few hours worth of walking is well worth it. Be sure to visit Memorial Circle, Student Union & University Library, English & Philosophy Complex, Sports Complex and Urbanovsky Park.
Texans love a good party, and Lubbockites are no exception. Lubbock plays host to some of the most-attended outdoor events in the country. Most of these events are not well-known outside the area, and are blessedly free of tourists.
Lubbock is prone to fits of severe weather, but the relatively stable climate year round has allowed a small local winery industry to flourish.
Theaters & Performing Arts
Public and private education in Lubbock are recognized state-wide and nationally. The economic contribution the city’s education industry makes to this area is brought home during the summer months when business cools compared to the well-known summer heat.
The Depot District, surrounding the Buddy Holly Center, is the main place to go out for a night on the town. This collection of clubs, coffee houses and live music venues along Buddy Holly Avenue pay homage to Lubbock’s most famous son, and the area’s rich musical heritage.
Crime in Lubbock is on par with other cities its size, and showcased attractions such as the Depot District are well policed. As with any unfamiliar place, vigilance and awareness are advised. Do not under any circumstances travel to Mackenzie Park or Canyon Lakes System after dark.
During the spring months, weather in Lubbock can grow rather tumultuous in rapid fashion. Weather warnings are not to be ignored during severe weather season. The city is also subject to frequent dust storms during the spring; and while not exactly dangerous, these storms are often severe enough to limit visibility. Drive with care, and give yourself a few more car length’s worth of reaction time.
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