TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
 
New   |   Texas Towns   |   Ghost Towns   |   Counties   |   Trips   |   Features   |   Columns   |   Architecture   |   Images   |   Archives   |   Site Map

Dawson County TX
Dawson County

Hotels


CHICAGO, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Dawson County, Texas Panhandle / West Texas

2 Miles somewhere N of Lamesa
Population: 0

Book Hotel Here > Lamesa Hotels
Chicago Drive sign in Lamesa, Texas
Chicago Drive in Lamesa
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009

History 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 five votes.

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 historic footnote.

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.
"Site of Chicago" historical marker
"Site of Chicago" historical marker
NE corner of FM 2592 and North 22nd St, Lamesa

Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
Historical marker:

Site of Chicago

W.C. Bishop of Chicago, Illinois, and wealthy lumberman George N. Fletcher established the Oto (later Bar To) ranch about 1887 on Fletcher's extensive landholdings in Dawson County. A post office was opened at the ranch headquarters on May 15,1889, and named Chicago, both in honor of Bishop's home town and in humorous reference to the sparse population of the area. The postal facility served other large ranches in this vicinity, such as C. C. Slaughter's Long S.

In the 1890s, Fletcher left the ranching venture, and A. F. Crowley and W. H. Godair became Bishop's partners. By that time, a village had begun to grow up around the post office. B. A. Oden served as Oto ranch foreman and Postmaster of Chicago from 1894 to 1903. When Walter Stemmons replaced him in both positions in 1904, the settlement was renamed Stemmons. The same year, a post office was established in the new town of Lamesa, two miles south of Chicago.

Dawson County was organized in 1905, and both towns entered the contest for county seat. When Lamesa won, residents of Chicago quickly relocated their homes and businesses there. The school and Baptist and Methodist churches also moved to Lamesa, within days, the Community of Chicago has disappeared.
( 1977)

Take a road trip

Chicago, Texas Nearby Towns:
Lamesa | Brownfield
See Dawson County | Texas Panhandle | West Texas

Book Hotel Here:
Lamesa Hotels | More Hotels
Texas Escapes, 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 us.

 


Texas Towns A - Z Texas Regions:
Gulf Texas Gulf Coast East East Texas North Central Texas North Central Woutn Central Texas South Panhandle Texas Panhandle
South South Texas Hill Texas Hill Country West West Texas Ghost Texas Ghost Towns counties Texas Counties

Texas Escapes Online Magazine »   Archive Issues » Go to Home Page »
TEXAS TOWNS & COUNTIES TEXAS LANDMARKS & IMAGES TEXAS HISTORY & CULTURE TEXAS OUTDOORS MORE
Texas Counties
Texas Towns A-Z
Texas Ghost Towns

TEXAS REGIONS:
Central Texas North
Central Texas South
Texas Gulf Coast
Texas Panhandle
Texas Hill Country
East Texas
South Texas
West Texas

Courthouses
Jails
Churches
Schoolhouses
Bridges
Theaters
Depots
Rooms with a Past
Monuments
Statues

Gas Stations
Post Offices
Museums
Water Towers
Grain Elevators
Cotton Gins
Lodges
Stores
Banks

Vintage Photos
Historic Trees
Cemeteries
Old Neon
Ghost Signs
Signs
Murals
Gargoyles
Pitted Dates
Cornerstones
Then & Now

Columns: History/Opinion
Texas History
Small Town Sagas
Black History
WWII
Texas Centennial
Ghosts
People
Animals
Food
Music
Art

Books
Cotton
Texas Railroads

Texas Trips
Texas Drives
Texas State Parks
Texas Rivers
Texas Lakes
Texas Forts
Texas Trails
Texas Maps
USA
MEXICO
HOTELS

Site Map
About Us
Privacy Statement
Disclaimer
Contributors
Staff
Contact Us

 
Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved