Lamesa Farm Workers Community Derelict Buildings
The state historical marker at the site reads:
By the 1920s, Dawson County’s rapidly expanding cotton economy was outgrowing its labor supply. Like other areas of the country, Lamesa began to rely on migrant laborers from Mexico to increase the available pool of seasonal workers. One effort to federally regulate migrant labor was the creation of farm labor communities to ensure a dependable source of labor for farmers and to provide safe and sanitary living facilities for migrant workers and their families. The Lamesa Farm Workers Community, present day Los Ybanez, operated from 1942 until 1980.
In 1941, the Farm Security Administration approved an application for a migrant labor camp on 50 acres of land southeast of Lamesa. The first families moved in on August 17, 1942. The Lamesa Complex consisted of 50 residential buildings, a gate house, manager’s residence, and a community center. Unlike other labor communities, Lamesa provided its residents with indoor plumbing and running water. Additionally, Lamesa offered a medical clinic, educational programs, nursery, recreational activities, and religious services.
The families who lived at Lamesa harvested cotton, worked in cotton gins, cotton oil mills, feed mills, and egg processing plants. They did not pay rent for their homes but were expected to perform maintenance work around the camp and contribute to the camp welfare fund. The little time available for social activities included traditional Mexican entertainment and reflected their bicultural background. Residents played baseball, observed Mexican and U.S. Holidays, and enjoyed Conjunto music. In 1980, the Ybanez family bought the community to provide low-income housing for Hispanic families.
Texas Historic Sites Atlas
Project originally submitted by Larry Moore on December 9, 2018.
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