John Hope and Levelland mosaic
On the courthouse lawn, artist John Hope talks about the history of Hockley County depicted in this artwork created by him and his wife, Bette -- a living testimony to how Levelland came to earn its reputation as the "Mosaic City."
Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour

THE 52-COUNTY TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL is the largest of the ten Heritage Trails Regions of Texas, an award-winning heritage tourism initiative of the Texas Historical Commission. We help you discover the real places that tell the real stories of Texas--places you'll want to explore on vacations, road trips, hikes, weekend excursions with your family and friends.

We invite you to join us throughout 2015 for our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour--once a week online, and in person whenever you're ready to hit the road! Follow along with a different county each week, from Armstrong to Yoakum. Visit us at TexasPlainsTrail.com to plan your adventure by city, site, theme, or event. Watch your e-mail newsletter weekly for fun facts, games, prizes, and travel ideas.

Download our THC regional travel guide here (pdf).
And we'll see you along the trail!  
Yellow House Ranch Quanah Parker Trail arrow
Hockley County leaders and members of the Quanah Parker Trail steering committee help artist Charles Smith install a giant arrow marker on the site of the historic Yellow House Ranch.
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Hockley County, Texas   
Hockley County, Texas 
Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf) 
FLATTER THAN A TABLE TOP....  
So begins the 1995 song by James McMurty that memorializes Levelland, Texas, county seat of Hockley County. South of the Panhandle on the Llano Estacado, much of the history of the area revolves around Yellow House Canyon, once a tributary of the Brazos River. After displacing the native Apaches in the early eighteenth century, the Comanches watered at the springs in the canyon for decades before white settlers first took an interest in the region.
 The Great Depression of the 1930s produced difficult times in Hockley County, as it did elsewhere. Nevertheless the number of farms in the county grew significantly during this period as the cotton boom continued and more land was put into cultivation.
The first house in the county was built at Yellow House Canyon in 1877 by the Causeys, who hunted buffalo in Kansas and Texas. Until the early twentieth century, the area was dominated by a few large cattle operations, including a portion of the well-known XIT Ranch and the Spade Ranch, formed in 1902 by Isaac Ellwood, co-owner of the barbed wire patent. The settlement of the county accelerated during the 1920s, encouraged by the construction of two branches of the Santa Fe Railroad-one crossing east to west, the other crossing the southeast corner of the county. Thousands of settlers moved into the county to establish new farms during this period. Most of the newcomers grew cotton.
Oil was discovered in the county in 1937, and by mid-century the economy had diversified into other activities, including the cotton compress industry, the dairy industry, and machine shops. Today, South Plains College attracts many newcomers to this Texas Main Street City, with its renowned programs in music business and its contributions to local arts and industry.
(Information from tshaonline.org and Wikipedia)

Texas Historical Commission HISTORICAL MARKERS AND SITES   The Texas Historical Commission's online Texas Historical Sites Atlas  guides you to locations and information on museums, cemeteries, military sites, historical markers, national register properties, and more--including 23 listings in Hockley County. Click and explore for history on your desktop!
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HOCKLEY COUNTY QUICK FACTS
Founded  1921
County seat  Levelland
Population  22,935

Communities    Anton   Levelland   Opdyke West   Oklahoma Flat   Pep   Pettit   Roundup   Ropesville   Smyer   Sundown   Whitharral

Mascots   Anton Bulldogs   Levelland Logos  Whiteface Antelopes   Ropes Eagles   Smyer Bobcats   Sundown Roughnecks   Whitharral Panthers  

Anton bills itself as the "Rabbit Capital of Texas."

WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO

Levelland mosaic
THE CITY OF MOSAICS 
Levelland, a Texas Main Street city, makes sure that visitors and residents alike know about the city's achievements. Among Levelland's Main Street accoutrements are seasonal banners, rotated throughout the year to announce citywide events; gateway signage at each of the four city entrances; and the installation of courthouse benches and pavers installed around the entrances to the Hockley County courthouse, centerpiece of Levelland and the Hockley County seat.

Also to be found on the courthouse grounds are a City of Levelland historical marker noting that the area was originally surveyed and platted in 1912 as Hockley City by cereal magnate C. W. Post, and a white marble War Memorial detailing the names of those lost from Hockley County during WWI, WWII, the Korean Conflict, and Vietnam.

  
Levelland logo On a tour of the city, you will find a series of ten brightly colored tile mosaics on the sides of many of the town's buildings, celebrating everything from a West Texas sunrise, to Levelland's oil industry, to the unity of races. A description of each mosaic can be found online and is a perfect accompaniment to a self-guided driving tour through town. Around the town square, there are a variety of shops and services including historic Malouf's J Bar M Western Wear, the local music supply store and the Honeycomb Pie Shop (we recommend the chicken salad and the buttermilk pie!).
 
In addition, the city hosts a downtown historical walking tour each May in honor of National Preservation Month. Each site is described on the city's Chamber of Commerce website under "Main Street."
On a summer's evening, a Shakespeare play at the Devitt Fine Arts Center
On a summer's evening, a Shakespeare play at the Devitt Fine Arts Center
 
Christine Devitt Fine Arts Center
Christine Devitt Fine Arts Center, South Plains College, Levelland 
A short distance outside the city center on US 385 is South Plains College, which offers two-year degrees as well as technical and certificate options, and renowned for its music program.


Just south of the college is the Mallet Event Center and Arena. Opened in 2012 and operated by the county, the center provides classroom, banquet hall, kitchen, and expo space, as well a livestock arena that can seat 2,000 and boasts 121 horse stalls.
Mallet Event Center, Hockly County
Mallet Event Center, Hockley County
 
Lobo Lake, along US 385 in Levelland
Lobo Lake, along US 385 in Levelland
At Avenue H and 13th Street is the 11.5-acre Lobo Lake Park, which takes its name from the high school mascot, the Lobos. The park features a man-made lake, amphitheater, playground, walking track and picnic area and is home to domestic ducks and geese year-round as well as wintering Canadian Geese. Swimming is not allowed but it is a popular spot for catch-and-release fishing.

For an additional jaunt in Hockley County, the small town of Anton, located 26 miles northeast of Levelland, bills itself as the "Rabbit Capital of Texas" and holds an interesting Texas record. Anton's first mayor was Paul Grover Whitfield, who was born in July of 1908, so in 1924, when he took office, was only 16 or 17 years old, but told everyone he was older and so was able to accept the position. He's therefore on record as being the youngest mayor ever in the state of Texas at the time -- and since he was under the age of 18 it's likely that record stands to this day and will for all time.

The tiny community of Pep, in the western part of the county, has a big reputation -- for feeding a crowd at Thanksgiving. Each year the St. Philip Neri Catholic Church cooks a traditional meal with turkey, German sausage, and all the fixin's. Hundreds will line up this year for the church's 70th annual Thanksgiving Festival.
Roadside wildflowers, Levelland
Roadside wildflowers, Levelland

Petticoats on the Prairie 2015
PLAN AHEAD FOR THESE EVENTS IN HOCKLEY COUNTY

October 16-17: Petticoats on the Prairie Vintage Market, Levelland
Over 80 hand-picked vendors with vintage and repurposed items, antiques, clothing, furniture, handmade goods, salvage and industrial, jewelry and cool JUNK too!
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A WINNING HAND FOR YOUR TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL ADVENTURE

  Hockley County card
Our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Deck of Cards is a sweet deal to help plan your trip. Pre-order yours now--each face summarizes a different county's travel highlights. $5.95 per deck (plus tax & shipping), in custom tuck box. Keep a deck in the glove compartment. Or use them in your favorite game of Texas Hold 'Em or Fifty-Two-Card Pickup!

AVAILABLE EARLY FALL 2015
Retailers and Texas Plains Trail partners, please contact us at 806.747.1997 or info@TexasPlainsTrail.com for bulk sales and shipping.




'52 DeSOTO PHOTO FUN
Flat 52 Car Cutout As you travel the 52 counties of the Texas Plains Trail Region, take our Plains Trail kids and dog along with you -- in our #C52NTX 1952 DeSoto Ragtop (pdf). Download and print the graphic on heavy paper on your own color printer. Cut along the dashed line. Then glue a stir stick or popsicle stick to the back -- and feature it in your photos of destinations all around the region. Along the way, share your pix to www.Facebook.com/TexasPlainsTrail
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TX Highway 52 "52" TRIVIA TIME

Who's turning 52 this year in the Texas Plains Trail Region? Email us your name and address, and we'll send you a birthday goodie bag with lots of great travel information!


FOLLOW US ON THE TRAIL . . . AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Like us on Facebook for regular event and travel updates. "See 52 in Texas" and discover great destinations by following our #C52NTX hashtag on Twitter, and statewide travel info on #TexasToDo. For driving and weather conditions, visit www.DriveTexas.org. And please with your Texas traveling friends!
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WHERE IN THE REGION? COMING UP THIS WEEK
Texas Time Travel posters
It's quiz time!
We've got great prizes to share.

To win a full set of these attractive 24 x 30 Texas Heritage Trails posters, suitable for framing, be the first to email us with the correct identification of this place, located in next week's featured county.

Congratulations to all our weekly winners so far. We have only a few of these collectible poster sets to give away!

Our next county is the annual site of the US Hang Gliding Nationals.
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PARTNER AND DESTINATION REMINDER
Partners, do take this opportunity to review your community, site, and event information on our Texas Plains Trail website as well as your own sites. We'll want to add your photos, update any obsolete contact info, add your events, and enhance your text content before your week comes up.  Consult the Texas Fifty-Two-Step schedule (pdf), and email with me with updates or questions.

Did you know you can add your own events to the TexasTimeTravel.com website? You'll need event name, date and time, location and address, and contact info -- and for best results, a photo. Post your festivals and heritage events now!

Like those Texas Fifty-Two-Step county license plate graphics? They are available free to partners for promotional use. Click and scroll down to select, then download your desired images. Please credit Texas Plains Trail/Tomato Graphics.

Our campaign has been designed by a team of creative minds. Our thanks go to Rock Langston of Tomato Graphics, Amarillo, for the design of campaign components and to Stephanie Price of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, for the #C52NTX concept. Barbara Brannon is responsible for copywriting and the weekly newsletter. Photo credits: 1952 blue Chevy Styleline, Hemmings Motor News; 1952 red DeSoto, Daniel Schmitt & Co.; 1952 blue Chevy rear 3/4 view, Walt Pinkston.

DID YOU MISS AN ISSUE?
Every week's issue is archived on our website.  Click here and scroll to search and download your county!
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Texas Plains Trail Region | 806.747.1997 | E-mail | Website
Barbara A. Brannon, Executive Director

Copyright 2015 Texas Plains Trail Region. All Rights Reserved.