Luling is an incorporated community at the intersection of U.S. highways 90 and 183 and State Highway 80, fifteen miles south of Lockhart in southern Caldwell County. Early settlement of the area began in the 1840s and was concentrated along Plum Creek. The Plum Creek post office opened in 1848. In 1874 the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio line laid track from Columbus to a terminus three miles west of Plum Creek. This terminus became the city of Luling, drawing much of its early population from the Plum Creek area and from the Atlanta community. Sources vary on how Luling came by its name: one said that it was named for a Chinese worker; a second, that it was named for a Judge Luling; and a third, that Luling was the maiden name of the wife of the man who built the railroad. The Luling post office opened in 1874, and the community grew rapidly. Within ten years Luling had five churches, several mills, a bank, a school, a weekly newspaper, and 1,800 residents. Its primary shipments were cotton, cottonseed oil, livestock, and pecans. In 1889 a second railroad, the San Antonio and Aransas Pass, built through Luling, connecting it with both Lockhart and Shiner. By 1890 the community had an opera house, two hotels, and a population of 2,000. The number of residents fell to 1,349 by 1900 but increased again to 1,502 by the 1920s.
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