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Lamesa, Texas
Lamesa City Hall
Lamesa City Hall
Together, Progress with a Purpose
Location of Lamesa, Texas
Location of Lamesa, Texas
Dawson County Lamesa.svg
Country United States
State Texas
County Dawson
 • Total 5.14 sq mi (13.31 km2)
 • Land 5.11 sq mi (13.23 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
2,992 ft (912 m)
 • Total 8,674
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 806
FIPS code 48-41164
GNIS feature ID 1339590

Lamesa ( lə-MEE-sə) is a city in and the county seat of Dawson County, Texas, United States. The population was 8,674 at the 2020 census, down from 9,952 at the 2000 census. Located south of Lubbock on the Llano Estacado, Lamesa was founded in 1903. Most of its economy is based on cotton farming. The Preston E. Smith prison unit, named for the former governor of Texas, is located just outside Lamesa.


Lamesa is located in the center of Dawson County at 32°44′4″N 101°57′29″W / 32.73444°N 101.95806°W / 32.73444; -101.95806 (32.734439, -101.958190). U.S. Highway 87 (Lynn Avenue) passes through the eastern side of the city, leading north 61 miles (98 km) to Lubbock and southeast 44 miles (71 km) to Big Spring. U.S. Highway 180 passes through the center of town as 4th Street and leads west 41 miles (66 km) to Seminole and east 62 miles (100 km) to Snyder. Texas State Highway 137 passes through the city as Bryan Avenue and leads northwest 38 miles (61 km) to Brownfield and south 45 miles (72 km) to Stanton. Texas State Highway 349 branches off Highway 137 south of Lamesa and leads southwest 55 miles (89 km) to Midland.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.0 square miles (13.0 km2), of which 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2), or 0.62%, is water.

Dal Paso Museum

The Dal Paso Museum, a collection of local artifacts housed in an impressive former hotel, is located in downtown Lamesa. The name is derived from the fact that Lamesa is located on the table land of the Staked Plains. On display are home furnishings, pioneer tools, and ranch and farm equipment. There are also exhibits by local artists. The museum, at 306 South First Street, has limited afternoon hours to the public.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 1,188
1930 3,528 197.0%
1940 6,038 71.1%
1950 10,704 77.3%
1960 12,438 16.2%
1970 11,559 −7.1%
1980 11,790 2.0%
1990 10,809 −8.3%
2000 9,952 −7.9%
2010 9,422 −5.3%
2019 (est.) 9,147 −2.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 Census

As of the census of 2020, 8,674 people and 3,599 households are recorded as living in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 31.4% White non-Hispanic, 3.3% African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.1% Asian, and 3.2% two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 64.7% of the population.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,904. The per capita income for the city was $22,062. 29.4% of the population was recorded as living below the poverty line.


During the last weekend of April, Lamesa hosts the annual Chicken-fried Steak Cook-off. Lamesa has been called "the birthplace of the chicken-fried steak", but the reporter who made the designation later confessed that the claim is fictional. Nevertheless, in 2011, Governor Rick Perry declared Lamesa the home of the chicken-fried steak. In the 2013 competition, Mayor Dave Nix teamed with city councilman Greg Hughes as contestants. The community event attracted 65 sponsors and 104 booths.

La Entrada al Pacifico is an international trade corridor that begins in Topolobampo, Mexico, runs through Midland-Odessa and ends in Lamesa (according to the legal definition).

Lamesa's Sky-Vue Drive-In Theater at 3015 South Dallas Avenue, established in 1948, became a well-known regional fixture. It has been closed since a kitchen fire destroyed the snack bar on November 27, 2015. Known for its "Chihuahua sandwich", conceived by owners R. A. "Skeet" Noret and his wife, Sarah, the Sky-Vue was one of only fourteen remaining drive-in theaters in Texas. Others are in Lubbock and Clarendon. Before he became famous, musician Buddy Holly performed on the roof of the Sky Vue's projector building. The theater was also used as cover art and named in the title of country music album Down at the Sky-Vue Drive-In by country music artist Don Walser. Additionally, "Hot Rod Mercury", track #2 from the album, sings about life in Lamesa. Lamesa also has an indoor movie theater, Movieland, which has two screens. The Wall is an edifice on which graduating seniors of Lamesa High School spray-paint their names onto the wall until next year's class adds its own graffiti on top.

The CBS television series Dallas had one of its more profitable oil wells, Ewing 23, in Lamesa. In one of the more dramatic scenes of the series, in season four, J.R. Ewing flies in his Learjet to the Lamesa airport. Shortly thereafter, gunfire erupts and Dawson County sheriff's deputies shoot a man who blew up the oilfield after a failed effort to blackmail Ewing.


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Lamesa has a semi-arid climate, abbreviated "BSk" on climate maps. The town is known for blistering summers (frequently topping 100°F) and cold winter nights (where the temperature goes below freezing on an average of 91 nights). The average annual temperature is 61.4°F, making it the ninth coldest place in Texas after cities such as Amarillo and Lubbock. Lamesa averages 17.6 inches of rain and 4 inches of snow annually.

Photo gallery


Lamesa is served by the Lamesa Independent School District, which includes Lamesa High School and Lamesa Middle School, whose school mascots are the Golden Tornadoes.

A branch of Howard College, a community college in Big Spring, is located in Lamesa.

Notable people

  • Barry Corbin, actor
  • V. O. Key, Jr., political scientist
  • Lynn Morris, bluegrass musician
  • Steve Pearce, Former U.S. Representative from New Mexico
  • Bo Robinson, NFL player
  • Preston Smith, Governor of Texas
  • Jerry Taff, journalist
  • Don Walser, country musician

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