Luling, Texas

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Luling, Texas
Entrance to Luling City Hall
Entrance to Luling City Hall
Location of Luling, Texas
Location of Luling, Texas
Location of Luling, Texas
Coordinates: 29°40′50″N 97°38′44″W / 29.68056°N 97.64556°W / 29.68056; -97.64556Coordinates: 29°40′50″N 97°38′44″W / 29.68056°N 97.64556°W / 29.68056; -97.64556
Country United StatesUnited States
State TexasTexas
County Caldwell, Guadalupe
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Mayor John Wells (pro-tem)
 • City Council Jackie Campbell
John Wells
John Bell
James Nickells
Woody Cox
 • City Manager Boskyler Harmoner
 • Total 5.50 sq mi (14.2 km2)
 • Land 5.46 sq mi (14.1 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
Elevation[1] 410 ft (125 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 5,411
 • Density 991.6/sq mi (546.6/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 78648
Area code(s) 830
FIPS code 48-45096
GNIS feature ID 1340735[3]
Website City Website

Luling /ˈluːlɪŋ/ is a city in Caldwell County, Texas, United States, along the San Marcos River.[3] The population, as of the 2010 census, is 5,411.[2] The town of Luling was named after a New York banker, Charles Luling. He was a personal friend of Thomas Wentworth Pierce, and provided the financing for the railroad as well the purchase of the land that became Luling. (Reference>Caldwell County, Texas deeds. Reference article Galveston Newspaper article 1874.) Along with the rest of Caldwell County, Luling is part of the Austin metropolitan area.[4]


Luling was founded in 1874 as a railroad town[5] and became a rowdy center for the cattle drivers on the Chisholm Trail. Contempt of the law by the cowboys helped Luling become known as the "toughest town in Texas." After the great cattle drives ended in the late 1880s, Luling quieted down to a town of about 500 and cotton ruled the local economy. Perhaps due to arrival of immigrants, including some Jews, in the late-19th century, Luling began a long, slow, period of growth and by 1925 the population reached 1,500.[6]

One of the most significant events in Luling's history was the discovery of oil by Edgar B. Davis.[5] Davis mortgaged everything he owned to finance drilling operations around Luling. On August 9, 1922, The Rafael Rios No. 1 well struck oil at 2,161 feet (659 m), producing 150 barrels per day (24 m3/d). To repay his loans, Davis contracted 2 million barrels (320,000 m3) each to Atlantic Oil, and Magnolia Oil at $.50 a barrel, plus another 2 million barrels (320,000 m3) to Magnolia at $.75 per barrel.[7]

Davis' discovery opened up an oilfield 12 miles (19 km) long and 2 miles (3.2 km) wide. The economy quickly moved from the railroad and agriculture to oil. The population of the town rapidly increased to over 5000. By 1924, the Luling Oil Field was producing over 15 million barrels (2,400,000 m3) of oil per year, and oil formed much of Luling's economy for the next 60 years.[7]

As oil grew in importance in the 1930s and 1940s, the railroads that helped form the town declined and largely pulled out of Luling.


Luling is located approximately 53 mi (85 km) southeast of Austin.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.50 square miles (14.2 km2). 5.46 square miles (14.1 km2) of it is land, and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.[2]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Luling has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[8]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,114
1890 1,792 60.9%
1900 1,349 −24.7%
1910 1,404 4.1%
1920 1,502 7.0%
1930 5,970 297.5%
1940 4,437 −25.7%
1950 4,297 −3.2%
1960 4,412 2.7%
1970 4,719 7.0%
1980 5,039 6.8%
1990 4,661 −7.5%
2000 5,080 9.0%
2010 5,411 6.5%
Est. 2015 5,764 [9] 6.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
The Luling Oil Museum, based on the 1922 petroleum discovery, is housed in the Chamber of Commerce office.
William Johnson shotgun-style cabin in Blanche Square in Luling
Though it once aired regular films, the Stanley Theatre in Luling now houses collectibles.
One of Luling's many decorative pumpjacks

As of the 2010 census, there were 5,411 people, 1,907 households, and 1,315 families residing in Luling. The population density was 991.6 people per square mile (546.6/km²). There were 2,115 housing units at an average density of 384.5/sq mi (213.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.3% White, 9.8% African American, 1.0% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 18.4% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 52.6% of the population.[2]

There were 1,907 households, out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 17.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75, and the average family size was 3.36.[2]

In the city, the population age was spread out; 27.3% were under the age of 18, 6.3% from 20 to 24, 24.6% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.1 males.[2]

The median income for a household in the city was $32,616, and the median income for a family was $43,083. Males had a median income of $34,708 versus $30,170for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,525. About 13.8% of families and 16.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 18.8% of those age 65 or over.[2]

Cultural events[edit]

The Luling Watermelon Thump is held each year during the last full weekend in June. It is a big celebration for the locals and draws many people from out of town as well. A favorite activity associated with the 'Thump' is the watermelon seed spitting contest.[11]

Luling is also home to Night In Old Luling, held in October. It features games, food, booths, and a scarecrow contest.

Some of the oil jacks along the main streets of Luling are decorated with whimsical characters, such as a girl eating a watermelon.[11]

The Luling Dry Tri. is an annual event held in September. It is an athletic contest comprising three consecutive events: biking 12 miles, running 3.23 miles and paddling 6 miles. A no swim triathlon (Dry Tri) where anyone may participate either solo, as a two-person tag-team or three-person relay team. The event benefits several local groups, including the Luling Police and Fire Departments, and the Luling High School Cross Country Team.[12]


Luling Independent School District
School name Grades taught Students enrolled [13]
Rosenwald Primary Head start 190
Luling Primary PK-K -1 231
Leonard Shanklin Elementary 2 - 5 310
Gilbert Gerdes Junior High 6 - 8 302
Luling High School 9 - 12 432

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Geographic Names Information System". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  3. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Luling
  4. ^ "Revised Delineations of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and Combined Statistical Areas, and Guidance on Uses of the Delineations of These Areas" (PDF). Office of Management and Budget. 28 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Smyrl, Vivian Elizabeth. "Luling, TX". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Luling, TX". Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Davis, Edgar Byram". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Luling, Texas Köppen Climate Classification". Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Malewitz, Jim (28 February 2014). "Missing Out on the Latest Texas Oil Boom, One Town Repurposes Its Leftovers". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  12. ^ Ferguson, Sandy. "Luling Dry Tri". Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  13. ^ "2011-12 Academic Excellence Indicator System Campus Reports". Texas Education Agency. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 

External links[edit]