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ROPESVILLE, TX

ROPESVILLE, TEXAS. Ropesville is on U.S. Highway 62/82 and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, in the southeast corner of Hockley County. It was the first settlement of Hockley County, developed when the Spade Ranch opened for colonization in the early 1900s. Early homesteaders were led into the area by Jim Jarrott in 1901. Later, when the South Plains and Santa Fe Railroad Company ran a line from Lubbock to Seagraves, the company agreed to build stock pens, switches, a sectionhouse, and a depot on land donated by Isaac L. Ellwood of the Spade Ranch. The Spade cowboys who constructed rope corrals to hold cattle for shipment wanted to name the depot Ropes, but the name was rejected by the post office officials since it was similar to another Texas settlement called Ropers. The name Ropesville was submitted and accepted. The depot still displays the name Ropes and is now a permanent part of the Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock. The actual townsite was laid out in 1917, the same year the Ropes school district was established. The first business was a general store opened by J. R. Evans, who also became the first postmaster when the post office was established in 1920. Eventually the Whitehorn Hotel and Cafe, a gin, and a theater followed. The First State Bank, the first bank in Hockley County, was organized on November 21, 1924. The first school, built in 1920, also served as a church. A high school was built in 1925. The First Baptist Church, the first church organized in the county (in 1921), was followed by the Methodist church, the Church of Christ, and the Church of the Nazarene. In 1926 editor Nyles Morris started the first newspaper, the Ropes Hustler. It became the Ropes Plainsman and was sold to the Plainsman of Lubbock around 1968. The Ropesville Resettlement Project began in 1934 in conjunction with Franklin D. Roosevelt's Federal Emergency Relief Administration. The project eventually encompassed more than 16,000 acres divided into eighty-one farms of 140 to 160 acres to grow cotton, sorghums, and other crops. In 1943 federal funds in support of the project were transferred to the war effort, and participating farmers were allowed to purchase the land they worked. Seventy-six farms resulted, ranging in size from 146 to 300 acres. Ropesville increased from a population of 500 and fifteen businesses in 1930 to a peak of 950 residents and forty-eight businesses in 1965. By the late 1980s it had a population of 500, nine businesses, and a post office. In 1990 the population was 494. The population was 517 in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Mary Alma Blankenship, The West Is for Us: The Reminiscences of Mary A. Blankenship, ed. Seymour V. Connor (Lubbock: West Texas Museum Association, 1958). Lillian Brasher, Hockley County (2 vols., Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains, 1976). Arthur Hecht, comp., Postal History in the Texas Panhandle (Canyon, Texas: Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, 1960). S. G. Reed, A History of the Texas Railroads (Houston: St. Clair, 1941; rpt., New York: Arno, 1981).

Denise A. Pani

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Denise A. Pani, "ROPESVILLE, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlr38), accessed December 28, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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