History of Tahoka

The Santa Fe Railroad was extended from Slaton to Tahoka in 1910, and for several years Tahoka was one of the largest cattle shipping points in the nation.

The Santa Fe Railroad was extended from Slaton to Tahoka in 1910, and for several years Tahoka was one of the largest cattle shipping points in the nation.

The citizens of Tahoka voted on June 2, 1915 to incorporate, the vote carrying 65-46, with the incorporation officially decreed on June 22. J.E. Stokes was elected Mayor on Aug. 7, and he drafted the Articles of Incorporation which were approved in Austin to a take effect Oct. 1, 1915. Among the first ordinances passed by the new city government: "prohibited the running of livestock at large, provided for working of city convicts on streets and alleys of the town, made spitting on the sidewalk illegal (subject to a $5 fine), and set an 8-mile per hour speed limit for autos."

The Lynn Hotel was Tahoka's first hotel.

In November of 1915, the Hotel Lynn was opened for business with 20 rooms for rent, a lobby, restaurant, and dining room. An article in the Lynn County News reported that "the hotel is the best to be found anywhere in West Texas." But the hotel was to suffer a sad fate when on December 30,1915 fire destroyed 13 businesses and almost the entire north side of the square which included the new hotel. Because the pioneers were built of sturdy stuff, almost everyone rebuilt and re- turned to business.

With large families moving into the county, 1916 saw the greatest growth and improvements so far, with more new businesses and homes built. The frame courthouse was sold and moved from the square and replaced with the current brick structure. Construction began in 1916 and was officially completed in 1918.

The Tahoka School District was originally called the Tahoka Common School District #2 of Lynn County. In 1917, the 35th Legislature of the State of Texas created the Tahoka Independent School District.
Early in 1922 Tahoka extended water lines, installed fire plugs, bought a fire truck and set up a fire station. Streets were paved with bricks in the downtown area.

Electricity came to downtown Tahoka in 1916 with the completion of a power plant. During the following year lines were built in the residential section, providing light to homes.

In August of 1927 the West Texas Gas Company was granted a franchise to lay gas lines in Tahoka. The lines were completed in mid 1928. Farmers Cooperative Assn. #1 in Tahoka was first organized in 1930 and has ginned a lot of cotton in the years since the first board of directors was formed with M.E. McCord as the first president.

The 1930 census revealed that Lynn County reached an all time high population of 12,362. Tahoka had 1,619 population. The latest census, in 2010, showed Tahoka's population at 2,673, with the county population at 5,915.

Lynn County cotton production has had a significant impact in the economy of Tahoka an Lynn County. In 1942, Lynn County produced the most cotton of any county in Texas and was 1st again in 1972 (also fifth in U.S.), and in 1975. In 2004 we rated 5th in Texas (and 1st in U.S. for dryland production 5th in Texas (and 1st in U.S. for dryland production w/227,500 bales produced on non-irrigated acres), and again in 2005, rated 5th in Texas (1st . 1n U.S. for dryland production).

Agriculture has long played an important role in the county, with thou- sands of bales of cotton produced annually here.

The cities of Tahoka, Wilson, New Home and O'Donnell are located with in the county, each with their own unique culture and personalities.

The courthouse that was built in 1916, designed by W.M. Rice to re- place the small wooden structure that served as the original courthouse during the county's early days. The new design was a four-story brick building, including a basement below ground level, and a jaiI on the top level, that would be built for $73,547. An additional $3,000 was added for cell blocks, special barred windows on the third floor, and a hangman's block (although there are no records of any hangings occurring at the courthouse). Withstanding the test of time is a beautiful black/gray marble staircase bisecting the first-floor foyer, and in fact all levels above ground have marble staircases leading to the next floor. Marble slab wainscoting throughout the building remains a unique feature of the Lynn County Courthouse.

Lynn County was named for Alamo defender Granderson "George" Washington Lynn in the legislative act of Aug. 21, 1876. The sparsely settled area called Lynn County was not officially organized until a quarter of a century later, in 1903.

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1807 Main Street · Tahoka, TX 79373 · Phone: 806-561-4211

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