Lubbock is the county seat of Lubbock County, Texas, United States. The city is located in the northwestern part of the state, a region known historically and geographically as the Llano Estacado and ecologically is part of the southern end of the Western High Plains. According to a 2013 Census estimate, Lubbock had a population of 239,538, making it the 84th most populous city in the United States of America and the 11th most populous city in the state of Texas. The city is the economic center of the Lubbock metropolitan area, which had an estimated 2013 population of 301,038.
Lubbock's nickname, "Hub City", derives from it being the economic, education, and health care hub of the multicounty region, north of the Permian Basin and south of the Texas Panhandle, commonly called the South Plains. The area is the largest contiguous cotton-growing region in the world and is heavily dependent on water drawn from the Ogallala Aquifer for irrigation. Lubbock was selected as the 12th best place to start a small business by CNNMoney.com. CNN mentioned the city's traditional business atmosphere: low rent for commercial space, central location, and cooperative city government. Lubbock High School has been recognized for three consecutive years by Newsweek as one of the top high schools in the United States. based in part on its international baccalaureate program.
Lubbock county was founded in 1876. It was named after Thomas Saltus Lubbock, former Texas Ranger and brother of Francis R. Lubbock, governor of Texas during the Civil War. As early as 1884, a federal post office existed in Yellow House Canyon. A small town, known as Old Lubbock, Lubbock or North Town, was established about 3 miles to the east. In 1890, the original Lubbock merged with Monterey, another small town south of the canyon. The new town adopted the Lubbock name. The merger included moving the original Lubbock's Nicolette Hotel and across the canyon on rollers to the new townsite. Lubbock became the county seat in 1891, and was incorporated on March 16, 1909. In the same year the first railroad train arrived.
Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) was founded in Lubbock in 1923. A separate university, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, opened as Texas Tech University School of Medicine in 1969. Both universities are now overseen by the Texas Tech University System, after it was established in 1996 and based in Lubbock. Lubbock Christian University, founded in 1957, and Sunset International Bible Institute, both affiliated with the Churches of Christ, have their main campuses in the city. South Plains College and Wayland Baptist University operate branch campuses in Lubbock.
The city is home to the Lubbock Lake Landmark, part of the Museum of Texas Tech University. The landmark is an archaeological and natural history preserve at the northern edge of the city. It shows evidence of almost 12,000 years of human occupation in the region. the National Ranching Heritage Center, also part of the Museum of Texas Tech University, houses historic ranch-related structures from the region.
In August 1951, a V-shaped formation of lights was seen over the city. The "Lubbock Lights" series of sightings received national publicity and is regarded as one of the first great UFO cases. The sightings were considered credible because they were witnessed by several respected science professors at Texas Technological College and were photographed by a Texas Tech student. The photographs were reprinted nationwide in newspapers and in Life magazine. Project Blue Book, the US Air Force's official investigation of the UFO mystery, concluded the photographs were not a hoax and showed genuine objects, but dismissed the UFOs as being either "night-flying moths" or a type of bird called a plover reflected in the nighttime glow of Lubbock's new street lights. However, other researchers have disputed these explanations, and for many, the "Lubbock Lights" remain a mystery.
In 1960, the Census Bureau reported Lubbock's population as 128,691 and 75.0 square miles.
On May 11, 1970, the Lubbock Tornado struck the city. Twenty-six people died, and damage was estimated at $125 million. The Metro Tower (NTS Building), then known as the Great Plains Life Building, at in height, is believed to have been the tallest building ever to survive a direct hit from an F5 tornado. Then Mayor Jim Granberry and the Lubbock City Council, which included Granberry's successor as mayor, Morris W. Turner, were charged with directing the rebuilding of downtown Lubbock in the aftermath of the storm.
In 2009, Lubbock celebrated its centennial. The historians Paul H. Carlson, Donald R. Abbe, and David J. Murrah, co-authored Lubbock and the South Plains.
Events since 2009
Prior to May 9, 2009, Lubbock County allowed "package" sales of alcohol (= sales of bottled liquor from liquor stores), but not "by the drink" sales, except at private establishments such as country clubs. Inside the city limits, the situation was reversed, with restaurants and bars able to serve alcohol, but liquor stores forbidden.
On August 12, 2008, the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce announced they would lead the effort to get enough signatures to have a vote on allowing county-wide packaged alcohol sales. The petition effort was successful and the question was put to the voters.
On May 9, 2009, Proposition 1, which expanded the sale of packaged alcohol in Lubbock County, passed by a margin of nearly two to one, with 64.5% in favor. Proposition 2, which legalized the sale of mixed drinks in restaurants county-wide, passed with 69.5% in favor. On September 23, 2009, The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission issued permits to more than 80 stores in Lubbock.