Tulia, Texas

Tulia, Texas

Tulia is a city in and the seat of Swisher County, Texas. Photograph by Fredlyfish4.
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Promotion: Nearby Swisher County

Tulia, the county seat of Swisher County, is on U.S. Highway 87 forty-nine miles south of Amarillo in the central part of the county. Its site was originally on the acreage of the Tule Ranch division of the JA Ranch. In 1887 a post office was established in James A. Parrish's dugout on Middle Tule Draw nine miles west of what is now the site of Tulia. Evidently the name Tule, after the nearby creek, had been selected for this post office, but at some point a clerk's error changed the name to Tulia. Parrish served as postmaster until 1889, when W. G. Conner took over and the post office was moved nine miles east to the homestead he had established in 1887. Also in 1889, a one-room schoolhouse was built; it doubled as a church. Eleven pupils attended school there that first year. Conner's section was chosen for the county seat when Swisher County was organized in 1890. He donated land for the courthouse, the school, and the city park, which is named after him, and ran a wagonyard in town. W. F. Wright began publication of the first newspaper, the Staked Plains Messenger, and by September a two-story frame courthouse had been constructed. Scott Thacker opened the first general store, and Mrs. S. E. Butts ran a boardinghouse. In 1897 the Methodists constructed the first church building.

By 1900 Tulia was prospering as a stopping point for freight-wagon traffic en route to the railheads of Colorado City and Amarillo. In 1892 the Tulia Standard began publication, and in 1909 the Tulia Herald appeared. Telephone lines had been run from Tulia to Amarillo by 1901. The Tulia National Bank (later the First National Bank of Tulia) was chartered in 1902. A booming new era began with the extension of the Santa Fe line to Tulia in December 1906. With it came more settlers, many of whom spent their first night at the Hotel Tulia, which was for years a city landmark. A brick schoolhouse was built in 1907, and in 1909 a three-story domed brick courthouse was built. That same year the city was incorporated, with W. G. Conner as mayor. By 1910 Tulia had a population of 1,216. The next year, bonds were voted to purchase, construct, and maintain a waterworks system and a light plant. Between 1910 and 1920 Tulia became known as the City of Windmills, because of the proliferation of windmills in the vicinity. During the 1920s the main streets were paved with bricks, and a new school building was constructed. An original Ozark Trail marker still stands on the square as a reminder that Tulia was a major stop on that historic route. In 1945 William Kirk Hulsey constructed a landing strip north of town; it was enlarged into a municipal airport in 1964.

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H. Allen Anderson | © TSHA

Handbook of Texas Logo

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Tulia is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Tulia is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Henry)


Latitude: 34.53761230
Longitude: -101.77416000

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Population Count, 2021 View more »