in a Pecan Shell
Briefly known as
Stemmons, Texas, Chicago was first named in jest after the
landowner’s hometown. The irony was that this Chicago had virtually
no population compared to the “City of Big Shoulders.” But a post
office for area ranches did open in 1889, and the postal authorities
recognized the name, whimsical or not.
A settlement did develop, necessitating a move of the post office
in 1904. The joke was getting stale by that time and so the name was
changed to Stemmons, after the surname of a ranch foreman.
When Dawson County
was organized, the two contenders for county seat were Stemmons and
Lamesa. Stemmons had
been ordered to close their post office, but in order to give the
community a fair shot and not influence the election, postal authorities
allowed the two post offices to exist until after the 1905 election.
Lamesa won by a mere
The Stemmons post office closed and the offer of help in relocation
businesses was taken up by Stemmons residents. In the span of a few
days in July of 1905, the community of Chicago / Stemmons became a
Chicago is remembered today by a historical marker and a Lamesa
street named after the short-lived town.
Lamesa, a city mostly
set up on a grid of numbered streets and avenues does have a few streets
named after cities. The mix is an interesting one, including Akron,
Boston, Detroit, Flint, and Hartford – and of course, Chicago.
Chicago" historical marker
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, April 2009
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact