Day Trips: Levelland

Mosaics on the High Plains


Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Levelland was named for the surrounding topography, but it got its nickname for the public art on walls around the county seat of Hockley County

The Panhandle town 31 miles west of Lubbock calls itself "The City of Mosaics" because of 13 murals made with glass and clay tiles around town. 


The art project began in 1968 when South Plains College professor Don Stroud created a mosaic for the lobby of the school's fine arts building. The art teacher purchased the glass tiles in Mexico for the colorful mosaic of wild mustangs. 

Over the next 50 years, mosaics were added on other buildings on the college campus, the hospital, the chamber of commerce building, and a medical clinic. The latest was done in 2018 on the Levelland Fire Department building. 

To download a map of the mosaic locations around town, go to www.levelland.com/the-city-of-mosaics


The subject of a James McMurtry song, Levelland was originally surveyed by C.W. Post in 1912. The cereal magnate wanted to turn the Panhandle plains into a utopia of grain fields to supply his breakfast food company. He also founded the town of Post south of Lubbock. 

Levelland didn't begin to be developed around agribusiness until 1921. It's said that the first county commissioners court met in a Cadillac because of the lack of adequate buildings. 

Perhaps the most famous thing to happen around Levelland was a series of UFO sightings in November 1957. Several motorists, including the sheriff and fire chief, reported seeing an egg-shaped object emitting a blue glow that caused their automobiles to shut off. The U.S. Air Force said the cause was ball lightning from a storm.


1,467th in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Levelland, Hockley County, South Plains College, Don Stroud, James McMurtry, UFO sightings, C.W. Post, Lubbock, The City of Mosaics

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