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VEGA, TX

VEGA, TEXAS. Vega, the county seat of Oldham County, is on Interstate Highway 40 in the southern part of the county. Its name is Spanish for "plain" or "meadow." As early as 1879 the area was opened by the state for homesteading. N. J. Whitfield became the first settler in the fall of 1899 when he purchased the future townsite. Early in 1903 he sold a 100-foot strip across the county's southern end to the Choctaw, Oklahoma, and Texas (later the Rock Island) Railroad as a right-of-way. In May of that year A. M. Miller and Howard Trigg surveyed the townsite. Miller opened the first store in 1903. The following year a post office and a saloon were opened, and a school, which doubled as a Masonic lodge, was also built. In 1907 ranchers Pat and John Landergin (see LANDERGIN BROTHERS) purchased part of the LS Ranch from the Swift company. Working in association with the Pool Land Company of Amarillo, they brought in more prospective settlers for the community. The Landergins established a bank in 1908, and, after the railroad was completed the following year, the town boomed, adding various stores, two churches, a blacksmith shop, and a hotel. A. S. Hornbeck founded the Vega Sentinel in March 1909. About the same time Ed Murphy began the Oldham County News. In a special election in 1915 Vega won a five-year battle to have the county seat transferred from Tascosa. By then Vega had a population of 223. Until a permanent courthouse was built, county business was conducted in the Oldham Hotel. J. N. Ivy installed the town's first telephone service. During the 1920s and 1930s the citizens of Vega sought to modernize their town. In 1927 it was incorporated with a mayor-commission government. A new school was built, and Southwestern Public Service opened an office in Vega in 1929. Two years later a fire, which destroyed six buildings west of the courthouse square, prompted the town to establish a city water system. The development of tourist courts and other facilities for travelers on then U.S. Highway 66 (now Interstate 40) greatly enhanced the economy. A volunteer fire department was organized in 1947. By 1967 Vega had four churches, two schools, a bank, and a newspaper, the Vega Enterprise. A county pavilion was built in 1966. The town is a farming and ranching trade center, and has grain elevators, farm implement houses, county and federal government offices, and several motels. The population increased from 658 in 1960 to 900 in 1980, when over one-third of the population of Oldham County resided in Vega. In 1990 the population of Vega was 840. The population reached 936 in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Laura V. Hamner Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Oldham County Historical Commission, Oldham County (Dallas: Taylor, 1981). F. Stanley [Stanley F. L. Crocchiola], The Vega, Texas, Story (Nazareth, Texas, 1975).

H. Allen Anderson

Citation

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

H. Allen Anderson, "VEGA, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlv07), accessed August 27, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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