A recent town in
Texas history, Los Ybanez only appeared in 1980. The core of the community
was built around what was left of a government CCC camp built in the
1930s. The town founder was Israel Ybanez who purchased the property
and rehabilitated the buildings as rental properties.
The town incorporated in 1983 and the town’s “business district” consisted
of a single beer store – operated by Israel and Mary Ybanez. The 1985
population was given as 300 people – many of them related to the founder.
The 1990 census reported just 83 people which has since declined to
a mere 19 people.
Lamesa Farm Workers Community Historical
"This was a very depressing visit. In the heat of the dusty afternoon,
there was nothing but dirt streets and dilapidate houses. A few were
occupied, but most were in various stages of decay; none well cared
for. I only saw people in one house. It was originally a planned government
housing project, but time and neglect have taken a toll. There were
30-35 houses. I looked for some kind of central building like chapel
or community center. The store looks to be of 1950's vintage."
Gibson, April 18, 2015
|Lamesa Farm Workers
Community Historical Marker
1919 County Rd M
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, April 2015
By the 1920s, Dawson
County’s rapidly expanding cotton
economy was outgrowing its labor supply. Like other areas of the country,
Lamesa began to rely
on migrant laborers from Mexico to increase the available pool of
seasonal workers. One effort to federally regulate migrant labor was
the creation of farm labor communities to ensure a dependable source
of labor for farmers and to provide safe and sanitary living facilities
for migrant workers and their families. The Lamesa Farm Workers Community,
present day Los Ybanez, operated from 1942 until 1980.
In 1941, the Farm Security Administration approved an application
for a migrant labor camp on 50 acres of land southeast of Lamesa.
The first families moved in on August 17, 1942. The Lamesa Complex
consisted of 50 residential buildings, a gate house, manager’s residence,
and a community center. Unlike other labor communities, Lamesa
provided its residents with indoor plumbing and running water. Additionally,
Lamesa offered a medical
clinic, educational programs, nursery, recreational activities, and
The families who lived at Lamesa
harvested cotton, worked in cotton
gins, cotton oil mills, feed mills, and egg processing plants. They
did not pay rent for their homes but were expected to perform maintenance
work around the camp and contribute to the camp welfare fund. The
little time available for social activities included traditional Mexican
entertainment and reflected their bicultural background. Residents
played baseball, observed Mexican and U.S. Holidays, and enjoyed Conjunto
music. In 1980, the Ybanez family bought the community to provide
low-income housing for Hispanic families.
From Texas state map #4335
Texas General Land Office
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