Lubbock is the largest city on the Texas South Plains; in 2016, the census estimated the population at 252,506. Founded in 1876, Lubbock is also called "Hub City" for its regional prominence. The city is named for the former Texas Ranger Thomas Saltus Lubbock (1817-1862), who died of typhoid fever in the American Civil War while fighting for the Confederacy. He was the brother of Governor Francis Richard Lubbock (1815-1905).
Lubbock is 315 miles west of Fort Worth. and approximately equidistant, c. 120 miles, from Amarillo to the north via Interstate 27 and Midland on the south via U.S. Highway 87. Cotton is grown throughout the area. Lubbock is home to Texas Tech University, founded in 1923, and Lubbock Christian College, a Church of Christ-affiliated institution. There are also branch campuses of South Plains College, a community college, and Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas. The Texas Tech Museum encompasses the Lubbock Lake Landmark, an archeological exhibit, and the National Ranching Heritage Center, which has nearly fifty restored ranch buildings in an outdoor setting. From 1941 to 1996, the former Reese Air Force Base was located in Lubbock. The famous musician, Buddy Holly, killed in a plane crash in 1959, was from Lubbock, as is Scott Pelley, the CBS former news anchorman.
Lubbock has been politically conservative (it was rated the #2 most conservative city in America and the most conservative in Texas, notwithstanding the presence of a large public university). In the 2018 United States Senate general election, the Republican incumbent, Ted Cruz polled 58,780 votes (64.7 percent) to 32,068 votes (35.3 percent) of the two-party vote for the Democrat Beto O'Rourke. Lubbock has been represented since 1985 in the United States House of Representatives by three consecutive Republican legislators.
Lubbock is the home of a large number of Christian churches of different denominations. In May 2021 it became the 26th city (and by far the largest) to pass an ordinance making it an abortion sanctuary city (the ordinance was passed via public vote after the city council unanimously voted against it).
On May 11, 1970, Lubbock sustained a deadly F-5 tornado in which twenty-six persons were killed, and property damage was estimated at $125 million (826 million in 2020 dollars). On the fiftieth anniversary of the tornado in 2020, the Lubbock community gathered at the Lubbock Tornado Memorial Gateway at Lubbock National Bank Park on Avenue Q downtown to memorialize the victims and honor the city leadership under Mayors Jim Granberry and Morris "Moe" Turner which brought out the recovery.
On the 50th anniversary of the tornado, former Mayor Granberry said from his home in east Texas: “Fifty years ago, I had the great honor of serving the fantastic people of Lubbock as their mayor. Edwina and I will never forget how the citizens of Lubbock responded to the tornadoes that hit the city just nineteen days after I was elected. The recovery of Lubbock has been golden and the memory of the golden efforts put forth by Lubbock’s citizens will always have a golden place in my heart. …
Former Queen City subdivision
Queen City was an historic African-American neighborhood which existed in East Lubbock from the 1930s to the early 1960s. With 1,150 residents in 275 homes and a few small businesses, including a grocery store, beauty shop, barber shop, and a "hotel" that was really a bawdy house and gambling den. Most of the houses were built from scrap lumber, tin, or cardboard. In its issue of February-March 1981, the African-American newspaper The Lubbock Digest, reported that some residents had leased “small, unfurnished dilapidated units renting from $30 or $50 per month.” Most of these "shotgun" houses, as they were called, were no larger than 288 square feet. Many of the structures had “sagging roofs, little or no foundations, flimsy and leaking walls, cracked and warped floors, dangerous wiring, little or no plumbing, and very little space.”At first, bathroom accommodations were practically non-existent in Queen City until the city health department stepped in and ordered the landowners to close the “pit-type" facilities that served as restrooms. Landowners replaced them with commodes, which stood in privies at the end of a path outside the residences. No water lines existed in Queen City until the middle 1930s, and residents used kerosene lamps and wood and coal-burning stoves. Eventually natural gas, water, and electric lines were brought into the neighborhood.
In its early years, Queen City was plagued with crime. In 1981, according to The Lubbock Digest, "almost one-fourth” of Queen City households received incomes “under $150 per month (1,310 in 2020 do0llars) with about 60 percent of the household income being under $225 per month (1,966 in 2020 dollars). Frustration and desperation may have spurred the crime wave. Still daily activities continued as children played in empty lots and on unpaved streets. On Sundays, many residents attended Methodist or Baptist churches in the Carver Heights subdivision, since renamed Chatman Heights. In 1932, an elementary school opened in Carver Heights, and in 1955, the private Mary and Mac Elementary School opened at 902 East 28th St. The school began with four and five-year olds. The first kindergarten commencement was held at the New Hope Baptist Church. Junior and senior high school students attended the historically black Dunbar High School.
In the fall of 1960, Lubbock municipal officials began “slum clearance," and Queen City residents were forced to relocate. Developers built a cul-de-sac at the south end of Juniper Avenue with sidewalks in the southern half of the community, and encouraged new home construction. Federal aid financed the Coronado Apartments between East 28th and East 29th streets. The Lubbock Digest reported that Queen City had fallen apart. A week later the newspaper complained, “This is the worst case of reverse progress in Lubbock.”
Developers rebuilt and renamed eight large buildings as the Spanish Oaks Apartments, and citizens reoccupied them for a time. Today Queen City consists of a few well-kept duplexes along Juniper Avenue. To the east are the abandoned Spanish Oaks Apartments and a deserted cul-de-sac sets on East 29th Street in a field of prairie dogs.
- Tom Abraham, businessman
- Jay Boy Adams, musician
- Bidal Aguero, editor of first Hispanic newspaper in Texas; Democrat political activist
- J. T. Alley, former police chief in Lubbock
- Don Allison, musician
- Bud Andrews, radio broadcaster
- Roy Alvin Baldwin, state representative from Lubbock County who worked for establishment of Texas Tech
- John Henry Ballard, Southern Baptist clergyman
- Ernest Barton, started first Spanish language radio station in West Texas in 1967
- Steven Berk, physician and kidnapping victim
- William Bledsoe, former legislator who pushed for establishment of Texas Tech
- Stan Blevins, Southern Baptist clergyman
- Paul H. Carlson, historian
- Warlick Carr, attorney
- Richard Chitwood, state representative from Sweetwater; named the first business manager for Texas Tech
- J. R. Church, Independent Baptist clergyman
- Kilmer Corbin, attorney and state senator, 1949-1957; father of actor Barry Corbin
- Larry Corbin, radio pioneer
- Lane Crockett, journalist
- Aaron Denson, Independent Baptist pastor, formerly in Lubbock
- Robert Duncan, former member of both houses of the Texas legislator and chancellor of the Texas Tech University System (2014-2018)
- John Frullo, state representative for District 84 since 2010
- Peggy Sue Gerron, inspiration for the Buddy Holly song, "Peggy Sue"
- Ron Givens, former state representative
- Glenna Goodacre, sculptor and painter
- Rip Griffin, businessman and philanthropist
- Adolph Hanslik, dean of the West Texas cotton producers
- Buddy Holly, singer
- Carl Isett, state representative for District 84 (1997-2010)
- Jim Landtroop, former state representative from Plainview; since relocated to Lubbock
- Florence Littauer, author of forty Christian books
- Charles Maple, journalist
- John David Nelson, politician and civic figure
- Kevin O'Brien, Independent Baptist clergyman
- Charles Perry, state senator, former state representative
- Joe B. Phillips, anti-abortion activist
- Harold Philmon Reeves, Southern Baptist clergyman
- David Seim, banker and business advocate
- Preston Smith, governor from 1969 to 1973; lieutenant governor from 1963 to 1969
- Ross Spencer, Independent Baptist clergyman
- Oliver Clark Thomas, World War II prisoner of war
- Morris "Moe" Turner, construction company owner and mayor of Lubbock from 1972 to 1974
- Don Walker, historian
- Ernest Wallace, historian
- "Big Ed" Wilkes, radio broadcaster
- Lubbock (city) QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau. Geographic Identifiers. United States Census Bureau (2015). Retrieved on September 28, 2017.
- Lubbock remembers: 50 years after deadly tornado, city pauses to reflect on loss, progress. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (May 10, 2020). Retrieved on June 16, 2020.
- Paul H. Carlson (March 6, 2020). Caprock Chronicles: Lubbock's Queen City Neighborhood. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved on March 10, 2020.