Lubbock is a city in and the county seat of Lubbock County, Texas, United States. The city is located in the northwestern part of the state, a region known historically as the Llano Estacado, and is home to three universities: Lubbock Christian University, Texas Tech University, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. According to a 2011 Census estimate, Lubbock had a population of 233,740, making it the 83rd 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 2011 population of 290,002.
Lubbock's nickname is the "Hub City", which derives from it being the economic, education, and health care hub of a multicounty region commonly called the South Plains. The area is the largest contiguous cotton-growing region in the world and is heavily dependent on irrigation water drawn from the Ogallala Aquifer. Lubbock was selected as the 12th best place to start a small business by CNNMoney.com. They mentioned the community's traditional business atmosphere, less expensive rent for commercial space, and its central location and cooperative form of 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. Lubbock High School is home to the only international baccalaureate (IB) program in the region. The IB program is one of the criteria examined by Newsweek in formulating their list of top high schools.
The county of Lubbock was founded in 1876, 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 named Lubbock existed in Yellow House Canyon. However, the town of Lubbock was not founded until 1890, when it was formed from a unique merger arrangement between two smaller towns, "Old Lubbock" and Monterey. The terms of the compromise included keeping the Lubbock name, but the Monterey townsite, so the previous Old Lubbock residents relocated south to the Monterey location, including putting Old Lubbock's Nicolette Hotel on rollers and pulling it across a canyon to its new home. In 1891, Lubbock became the county seat and on March 16, 1909, Lubbock was incorporated.
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. Another part of the museum, the National Ranching Heritage Center, houses historic ranch-related structures from the area.
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 study of the UFO mystery, did an extensive investigation of the Lubbock Lights. They concluded the photographs were not a hoax and showed genuine objects. However, they did dismiss the UFOs themselves as being either "night-flying moths" or a type of bird called a plover. The Air Force argued that the underside of the plovers or moths was reflected in the glow of Lubbock's new street lights at night. 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 91.9% white and 8.0% black.
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 task of rebuilding the downtown 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
Until May 9, 2009, Lubbock County allowed "by the drink" sales of alcohol, but not package sales, except at private institutions, such as country clubs. Inside the Lubbock city limits, the situation was reversed, with restaurants and bars able to serve alcohol, but liquor stores are 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 nearly a margin of 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.