A History Buff’s Guide to Lubbock

Written By Visit Lubbock Interns

August 17, 2023

By: Annie Kinnison

A Look at the History of Lubbock

Founded in 1876, Lubbock County was named after Thomas Saltus Lubbock, former Texas Ranger and brother of Francis Lubbock, governor of Texas during the Civil War. The great “806” was established in 1890 when two towns, Old Lubbock and Monterey, joined to be the Lubbock we know and love today. Lubbock was officially incorporated in 1909. 

Lubbock earned its nickname of Hub City due to its central role as an economic, educational and healthcare hub within the South Plains region, located between the Permian Basin and the Texas Panhandle. This area is renowned as the world’s largest continuous cotton-growing region.

Lubbock’s history took a significant turn in 1923 with the establishment of Texas Technological College, which later became Texas Tech University. The introduction of this institution brought about a notable shift, leading to intellectual and cultural advancements that propelled the city’s growth. Texas Tech University also produced acclaimed figures like two-time Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes and former Governor of Texas Preston Smith, adding to Lubbock’s legacy of achievement.

Lubbock has been the birthplace of several notable figures in the world of music, including Buddy Holly, Natalie Maines and Mac Davis. Additionally, the band Flatland Cavalry originated during their time at Texas Tech University.

Lubbock’s history is characterized by its transformation from a small town on the Texas plains to a vibrant city with a diverse economy, a thriving arts and music scene and a strong sense of community.

On your next trip to the Hub City, visit the top 10 places for history buffs:

Visit the largest collection of windmills in the world featuring over 170 rare and fully-restored windmills. Must see: a 6,000-square foot, hand-painted mural titled Legacy of the Wind.

A permanent exhibit dedicated to the life and music of rock’n’roll legend Buddy Holly. View donated memorabilia, his iconic glasses and more with a trip to the center. 

Enjoy exhibits dedicated to celebrating art, culture, and identity with artwork from Africa and antiques donated by community members.

Explore the roots of agriculture as you learn about the journey from horse-drawn implements to the tech-savvy farmers of today.

Celebrate the lives of the South Plains heroes killed in action at this brick-and-marble monument.

Visit this unit of the Museum of Texas Tech University. The Lubbock Lake Landmark is an archaeological and natural history preserve that contains evidence of almost 12,000 years of occupation by ancient peoples on the Southern High Plains. 

The Museum of Texas Tech University is a diverse and multifaceted cultural resource with six collecting divisions and 8.8 million objects. Collections are comprised of Anthropology, Art, Clothing and Textiles, History, Paleontology, and Natural History. The museum is home to nine permanent and several rotating exhibits.

Learn about ranching in North America through real stories and the heritage of early settlers who forged the ranching lifestyle into what it is today.

See one of the few fully restored World War II gliders in existence at this impressive museum. The Silent Wings Museum also features a C-47 airplane and a multimedia theater.

Located in Downtown Lubbock, the Tornado Memorial Park honors and recognizes the victims of the tornado and the city leaders who responded and rebuilt Lubbock.

For a deeper dive into Lubbock’s rich history, keep reading or add a few stops to the city’s Historical Markers on your next visit. 


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