Lela, on Interstate Highway 40 in southern Wheeler County, was originally called Story when it was established in 1902 as a station on the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway. By 1903 Story had a post office, a school, and a weekly newspaper (the Wheeler County Texan, published by T. C. Richardson). About that time the postmaster, Bedford F. Bowers, changed the town's name to Lela after Lela Smith, his wife's sister. By 1906 Lela had been supplanted as a trade center by Shamrock. The Texan moved to Shamrock that year, as did most of the other businesses. From the 1930s on, Lela's high school students attended school in Shamrock. In 1947 Lela had a population of fifty, an elementary school, a church, and four businesses. By 1976 the Lela post office had been discontinued, and the mail was routed to Shamrock. The community's population was estimated at 112 in 1970 and at 135 in 1980 through 2000.