Hubbard is located on State highways 171 and 31 twenty-three miles southeast of Hillsboro in southeastern Hill County. The community, established around 1860 and known in its early years as Slap-out and McLainsboro, was formally organized when the St. Louis Southwestern Railway of Texas (the Cotton Belt) located a station depot there in 1881. Residents held a meeting to organize the town, and former Governor Richard B. Hubbard was present. The town was renamed in his honor. A post office opened in the same year. Later the Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway intersected the Cotton Belt at Hubbard. The region in which the town began developed rapidly after the Civil War.
The first mayor was F. A. Taulman. The first store was established by J. B. and Eugene McDaniel. The first newspaper was Texas Pick and Pan, established in 1881 by Sam Boyd and John Pitts. It was succeeded by the Hubbard City News in 1892. The first bank was a private one that opened in 1881. Later two new banks were established-a private bank run by Rod Oliver and H. B. Allen and the First National Bank, established by Joe McDaniel. The banks were housed in a building erected in 1895 and destroyed by a tornado in 1973. When the city drilled for water in 1895, the drillers found hot mineral water, and the town became a health resort. The sanatorium was still standing in 1980. Hubbard's population was 250 in 1884, 500 in 1890, and 2,702 in 1925. By 1952 the population had declined to 1,772, and in 1982 it was 1,676. In 1988 Hubbard had twenty-three businesses and 1,872 residents. In 1990 the population was 1,589. By 2000 the population was 1,586. Well-known persons who have resided in Hubbard include Baptist minister J. Frank Norris, Baseball Hall of Fame member Tristram E. Speaker, federal judge Sam Johnson, and Hiram W. Evans, national leader of the Ku Klux Klan.