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Lamesa (pronounced "la-MEE-sa", "la-MEE-suh") is a city in and the county seat of Dawson Countymarker, Texasmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 9,952 at the 2000 census. Located south of Lubbockmarker on the Llano Estacadomarker, Lamesa was founded in 1903. Most of the economy is based on cattle and cotton. The Preston E. Smith prison unit, named for the former governor of Texas, is located just outside of Lamesa.

A branch of Howard College, a community college in Big Springmarker, is located in Lamesa.

Notable people

Preston Smith, a Democrat, served as governor of Texas from 1969-1973. He grew up in Lamesa and graduated from Lamesa High School in 1928. He was born in Williamson County and launched his successful business and political career from Lubbock.

Barry Corbin, though usually associated with Lubbockmarker, where he graduated from Monterey High Schoolmarker, was born in 1940 in Lamesa. He co-starred in the NBC series Boone in the 1983-1984 season and thereafter on CBS's Northern Exposure, which ran from 1990-1995. In 2001, he had a role in Tom Selleck's Turner Network Television film, Crossfire Trail based on a Louis L'Amour novel. Corbin's father, Kilmer Blaine Corbin (1919-1993) was a judge and a Democratic member of the Texas State Senate from 1949-1957.

Edward R. Tinsley (born 1950), a Lamesa native, is the chairman of the board of K-Bob's Steakhouse, a regional restaurant chain primarily in Texas and New Mexicomarker. In 2008, Tinsley, also a rancher from Capitanmarker, New Mexico, was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for the open seat in the New Mexico 2nd congressional district.

James E. Airhart (November 24, 1915–March 25, 2007) was a farmer and rancher who served from 1955-1985 on the Dawson County Commissioners Court, in which capacity he worked to obtain the county livestock and fair barn, the Dawson County general aviation airport, and numerous highway improvements. He was instrumental in the successful negotiation of rights-of-way for U.S. Highway 87 north to O'Donnellmarker and south to Ackerlymarker.

James Dillard Dyer, Jr. (December 24, 1922–June 22, 2009), the owner of the former Dyer Furniture and Appliances, served on the city council and thereafter as mayor of Lamesa from 1958-1959. He was a founding partner in the company which brought cable television to Lamesa. Through the chamber of commerce, he a steadfast supporter of the expansion Highway 87. A 1940 graduate of Lamesa High School, he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Austinmarker and an ensign's commission in the United States Navy. He survived a kamikaze attack at the Battle of Guam during World War II. He was a Presbyterian. Survivors included his second wife, the former Odessa L. Williamson, originally of Levellandmarker, a daughter, Gwen Dyer Johnson of Austinmarker, Dr. James R. Dyer of Argylemarker, and William J. Dyer of Houstonmarker. Dyer is interred at Lamesa Memorial Park.

Orville Wilson Follis (May 4, 1920–April 2, 2009), was a prestigious basketball coach at Lamesa High School from 1946-1982. During his 36 years as head basketball coach he totaled 857 career wins, which ranks him among the top 25 coaches in the nation for all-time wins. His teams won 20 district titles and three State Championships (1960, 1967, & 197), and he never had one losing season in all 36 years of coaching. He was inducted in 1986 into the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame. The gym in which the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes varsity basketball team plays is named Follis Gym in his honor.

Larry D. Johnson (May 12, 1959–April 13, 2008) was until his death the Lubbock Countymarker Precinct 2 constable. A Lamesa native and a 1977 graduate of Lamesa High School, he was also a reserve officer for the Slatonmarker Police Department. Survivors included his wife, Bee Johnson; daughter, Kami Johnson; sons, Chris Johnson and Bobby Ponce; mother, Deen Johnson, and brother, Jerry Johnson. He was affiliated with Bible Baptist Church in Slaton. He is interred at Edgweood Cemetery in Slaton.

John W. "Johnny" Palmore, III (June 21, 1909–August 11, 2008), was a prominent businessman and civic leader in Lamesa. Born in Ravennamarker to John Palmore, II, and the former Merle Moffitt, he graduated from Ravenna High School in 1926, Sherman High School in 1927, and Texas Tech University in 1931, where he procured a bachelor of science degree in agriculture. He taught and coached in Windommarker in Fannin Countymarker. Palmore was a county agent for Van Zandtmarker (1936-1938), Lubbockmarker (1938-1939), and Swishermarker (1939-1944) counties. He worked in his in-law's business, Eiland Lumber Company, in Lamesa from 1944 until his retirement at the age of ninety-five in 2005. He was also an automobile and truck dealer. He served as member and president of the Lamesa School Board. He was a Lamesa City Council member from 1968-1977. Active in the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Internationalmarker, Palmore was a former president of Lamesa Girl Scouts of the USA. A Presbyterian elder, he is interred at Lamesa Memorial Park. He was predeceased by his wife, the former Helen Francis Eiland, and survived by two daughters, Pam Koehler and husband Jimmie of Lamesa, and Sunny Parish and husband Mel of Las Cruces, New Mexicomarker, and six grandchildren.

David N. Smiley (December 6, 1930–July 30, 2009), a Lubbock native, was a physician/surgeon and school board member in Lamesa. He graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branchmarker at Galvestonmarker. Smiley practiced with his wife, Dr. Evelyn Smiley, at the Medical Arts Building from 1962-1990. Active in the educational community, he argued in federal court in Lubbock for the desegregation of Lamesa public school. A friend of Governor Preston Smith, he worked to secure funds for vocational technical education at Lamesa High School, where he taught physics during his first year of medical practice. After his retirement, he worked for three years as the prison physician at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice facility in Lamesa, named for Governor Smith. He was active in the Church of Christ. Smiley died in Austin of complications from a fall. He is interred at Lubbock City Cemetery. In addition to his wife, he was survived by four children, Samuel Neil Smiley, Susan Emma Smiley, Sarah Imogene Donnelly, and Stephen Ted Smiley. His late brother, James Donald Smiley, was also a physician.


Lamesa is located at (32.734439, -101.958190).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all of it land.

Dal Paso Museum

Entrance to Dal Paseo Museum in Lamesa

Dal Paseo Museum, a collection of local artifact housed in an impressive former hotel, is located in downtown Lamesa. The name is derived from the fact that Lamesa is located halfway between Dallasmarker and El Pasomarker. On display are home furnishings, pioneer tools, and ranch and farm equipment. There are also exhibits by local artists. The museum, at 306 South First Street, has limited afternoon hours to the public.


As of the census of 2000, there were 9,952 people, 3,696 households, and 2,679 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,080.8 people per square mile (803.9/km²). There were 4,270 housing units at an average density of 892.8/sq mi (344.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 41.9% White Non-Hispanic, 4.2% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 19.51% from other races, and 2.13% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 52.96% of the population.

There were 3,696 households out of which 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.5% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.5% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,362, and the median income for a family was $31,556. Males had a median income of $26,393 versus $16,826 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,211. About 18.1% of families and 21.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.4% of those under age 18 and 12.9% of those age 65 or over.


The City of Lamesa is served by the Lamesa Independent School District, which includes Lamesa High School, and Lamesa Middle School, whose school mascots are the Golden Tornadoes and the Whirlwinds.


  • The La Entrada al Pacificomarker is an international trade corridor that begins in Topolobampomarker, Mexicomarker, runs through Midland-Odessa and ends in Lamesa (According to the legal definition).
  • Lamesa's Sky-Vue Drive-In Theater (established in 1948) is well known regionally. It is one of only fourteen remaining drive-in theaters in the state of Texas. The survival of this cultural landmark is largely due to the excellent food available in the snack bar. The "Chihuahua" sandwich (stacked fried corn tortillas filled with homemade chili, onions, shredded cabbage and pimento cheese with a jalapeño pepper on the side) is a specialty of the snackbar and many local residents order takeout even when they don't watch the movie. Before he became famous, musician Buddy Holly once performed on top of the concession stand at the Sky-Vue.
  • The Wall is most likely one of the most graffiti tagged brick walls in the nation. Every year graduating seniors at Lamesa High School paint the wall with their names and other pictures. This started in the late 1920s when local teenagers painted on the wall without permission, but the owner did not mind it and it has been painted on ever since. In the past the wall was a popular hangout spot for teenagers.
  • The television series Dallas had one of its more profitable oil wells, Ewing 23, in Lamesa. In one of the more dramatic scenes of the series, in season four, J.R. Ewing flies in his Learjet to the Lamesa airport. Shortly thereafter, gunfire erupts and Dawson County sheriff's deputies shoot a man who blew up the oilfield after a failed effort to blackmail J.R.
  • Lamesa is alleged to be the locale of the invention of chicken fried steak.


The city is served by a bi-weekly newspaper (The Lamesa Press Reporter) which charges $.75 for every issue, and by local and area radio stations KPET (AM 690), KBKN (FM), KTXC (FM), and KBXJ (FM) The cable TV system is operated by Northland Cable Television. Other signals are received from stations in Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, and other area towns. Television signals are provided by ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, Telemundo and CW stations in Lubbock and the Univision station in the Permian Basin (Midland-Odessa).


  1. Texas Department of Criminal Justice Retrieved on 2007-11-08
  2. Social Security Death Index Interactive Search
  3. Barry Corbin Official Site Retrieved on 2007-11-08
  4. Airhart Obituary, Retrieved on 2007-11-08
  5. Larry Johnson | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
  7. Texas Transportation Commission, Texas State Travel Guide, 2007, p. 123
  8. Dallas, Season four DVD, Episode eight, "Trouble at Ewing 23".
  9. "Sky-Vue Drive In Lamesa".
  10. "Drive In Movies in Texas".
  11. Dallas, Season four, Episode eight, "Trouble at Ewing 23".
  12. FCC Retrieved on 2007-11-08

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