Quick History of a Ghost Town: Lubbock, TX

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While I have done ghost walks in other towns, identifying random cities and their hauntings deserves a write. Also, I’m sure reading about North Carolina and Tennessee gets dull if it is written about continuously. The next towns with an eerie past will be from a randomizer, because why not. So, let’s see what Lubbock, Texas has to offer.

In ghost hauntings, Lubbock, Texas is no stranger. It has a history of attraction and farm life, which is associated with the area’s cattle birth boom and, thus, the area became very popular. Settlement in the area began around 1873 and Lubbock County was founded in 1876. Cattle and cattle ranchers sprouted soon after and the town itself became known in 1891. Lubbock, Texas is also a contender for holding the record for most places with nicknames. I am kidding about this, but I am not kidding about this.

It is the largest city in the South Plains, which is the lower portion of Texas, including the panhandle. From the World Population Review, Lubbock has roughly 263,000 people residing in it. It is nicknamed “Hub City” as it has associations to being an all-around decent place to live, with prestigious education, exceptional hospitals, and a thriving market. 

So, what makes Lubbock a haunted area? Well, coming from the south, it has some major, no-so-well documented events that allow ghosts to hang out.

Santa Fe Railroad, Lubbock

We shall start with the most famous place, a trestle behind the Lubbock Cemetery. Nicknamed “Hell’s Gates”, this trestle is seen as a probable doorway to Hell. For those uninitiated with railroads, a trestle is part of a bridge that has close frames and acts as a support system for the railroad. You can see these on many bridges and even piers. This particular trestle is located near Buddy Holly’s grave, who died on February 3, 1959, and is buried in the Lubbock Cemetery.

Hell's Gate Trestle from Texas Hill Country, lubbock
Hell’s Gate Trestle from Texas Hill Country

The surrounding area includes Dunbar Park, a lake, and the cemetery. The trestle itself has many stories, such as having the myth of being a bridge from Lubbock to the spiritual plane, which could be a good reason for it having such an ominous nickname. There are many burials near the trestle that are not in the cemetery. The first known is of a cowboy who was buried underneath the trestle, but this is the only source for that possible finding.

Shadow people are abound

People have encountered shadow figures and creatures around the trestle, giving it a more ominous feel. Because it is a bridge, there are some suicides associated with it, like one young woman who hung herself. There is also a story of a name nicknamed “the Rail Man”, who is a supposed dead man who worked on the rails. His wife was having an affair with a conductor who thought it would be nice for the rail man to disappear. Apparently, this man has a light and if you get too close to it, he will drag you to hell.

There is also a man who is nicknamed “the Hunter”, who is supposedly an angry spirit who doesn’t like people on the trestle, but this could be the same guy as “the Rail Man” as their stories seem fairly similar.

Maxey Park, Lubbock

The Maxey Park is settled in Lubbock and houses the community center. A story was published by Darrell Maloney about two people at the park who were having a picnic. The woman noticed a child with dark hair standing on the island that sits in the middle of the lake. She waved to him, but it seems that he just ignored her. They were going to see if the kid needed help, but when they were on their way to assist, the boy disappeared.

Afterwards, the couple found out that a boy drowned in the lake a week earlier, resembling the one she had seen earlier. I had tried to locate the article, but the closest drowning in the mid-to-late 1970’s was a 15-year-old boy in 1977, along with another drowning of a 12-year-old sometime earlier, so it could be either one.

The Pioneer Hotel, Lubbock

In downtown Lubbock sits this hotel, which seems to be one of the oldest buildings in the town. It was built in 1926, serving as a contender for folks to stay in the town, much like what happened in Dandridge, TN. The hotel was renamed from Lubbock Hotel to Pioneer Hotel in 1961.

It is a grand building and was once the tallest in the town. In the 1950s, something changed the hotel that is still unexplained to this day. In 1958, a couple stayed in the hotel on the fourth floor, but somehow never left.

Pioneer Hotel from Downtown Lubbock
Pioneer Hotel from Downtown Lubbock

There is no further evidence of this. In fact, there was no newspaper in Lubbock, Texas speaking of the Lubbock Hotel from January 16th until the beginning of February, but this could be from lack of scans given to Newspapers.com.

It is said that the hotel has other hauntings and strange happenings, but I could not find any other evidence other than the ones stated before, from the web or articles. The entire hotel seems to be an enigma of mystery.

37th Street

This street used to be home to a barn before development of the actual suburbia construction. Apparently, some “occult” activities happened here in the early 1900’s. I looked through archives to find more information on this and nothing came up except the town’s worry of the occult taking over in the 1970’s.

A family who lived on the property where the barn was had apparently had radios turn on without provocation and a ghostly figure was speaking to the kids. For these events, the blame was put on a little boy ghost, but there is no further evidence of a very young death near the street in the 1900s, but this could be an incident from before that time.

I just think it’s neat, in terms of Lubbock.

This place has some interesting hauntings, although it is not given enough credit through text. The hauntings seem to be very similar to the ones we have seen before, but I was intrigued to find that the town was really into bringing the occult to life in their old newspaper articles. You may be wary to visit, but be rest assured the town does appear to have some fascinating history.

References

Maloney, Darrell. Haunted Lubbock: True Ghost Stories from the Hub of the Plains. 2013.

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