Historic Resources of Dickens County
Dickens and Spur (Dickens County)
Dickens County, named for a soldier at the Alamo, was formed in 1876. Located about fifty miles east of Lubbock on the Llano Estacado, the early economy of Dickens County centered on ranching and agriculture. Settlement increased after the arrival of the railroad in 1909 and a cotton boom that lasted into the 1920s. The county population peaked in 1930 at just under 9,000; today, Dickens County is home to 2,291. The Dickens County Courthouse, located in Dickens, awaits restoration, and historic assets in Dickens and nearby Spur represent a cross-section of Texas architecture of the 20th century that can be the basis of a strong preservation-based heritage tourism economy.
The preservation challenges related to the historic resources of Dickens County are representative of those faced by sparsely populated rural counties across Texas that have lost population over the years. Rural Texas counties offer breathtaking landscapes, dramatic history and remarkable architecture, yet without the support of a robust statewide heritage tourism program, places like Dickens County will not get the attention they need. The potential loss of funding for the Texas Heritage Trails program endangers the opportunity in Dickens County and counties around the state to harness heritage tourism as basis for economic growth and a stimulant to historic preservation activity.