Luling /ˈluːlɪŋ/ is a city in Caldwell County, Texas, United States, along the San Marcos River. The population, as of the 2010 census, is 5,411. The town of Luling was named after a New York banker, Charles Luling. He was a personal friend of Thomas Wentworth Pierce, and provided the financing for the railroad as well the purchase of the land that became Luling. (Reference>Caldwell County, Texas deeds. Reference article Galveston Newspaper article 1874.) Along with the rest of Caldwell County, Luling is part of the Austin metropolitan area.
Luling was founded in 1874 as a railroad town and became a rowdy center for the cattle drivers on the Chisholm Trail. Contempt of the law by the cowboys helped Luling become known as the "toughest town in Texas." After the great cattle drives ended in the late 1880s, Luling quieted down to a town of about 500 and cotton ruled the local economy. Perhaps due to arrival of immigrants, including some Jews, in the late-19th century, Luling began a long, slow, period of growth and by 1925 the population reached 1,500.
One of the most significant events in Luling's history was the discovery of oil by Edgar B. Davis. Davis mortgaged everything he owned to finance drilling operations around Luling. On August 9, 1922, The Rafael Rios No. 1 well struck oil at 2,161 feet (659 m), producing 150 barrels per day (24 m3/d). To repay his loans, Davis contracted 2 million barrels (320,000 m3) each to Atlantic Oil, and Magnolia Oil at $.50 a barrel, plus another 2 million barrels (320,000 m3) to Magnolia at $.75 per barrel.
Davis' discovery opened up an oilfield 12 miles (19 km) long and 2 miles (3.2 km) wide. The economy quickly moved from the railroad and agriculture to oil. The population of the town rapidly increased to over 5000. By 1924, the Luling Oil Field was producing over 15 million barrels (2,400,000 m3) of oil per year, and oil formed much of Luling's economy for the next 60 years.
As oil grew in importance in the 1930s and 1940s, the railroads that helped form the town declined and largely pulled out of Luling.
Luling is located approximately 53 mi (85 km) southeast of Austin.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.50 square miles (14.2 km2). 5.46 square miles (14.1 km2) of it is land, and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Luling has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
As of the 2010 census, there were 5,411 people, 1,907 households, and 1,315 families residing in Luling. The population density was 991.6 people per square mile (546.6/km²). There were 2,115 housing units at an average density of 384.5/sq mi (213.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.3% White, 9.8% African American, 1.0% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 18.4% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 52.6% of the population.
There were 1,907 households, out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 17.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75, and the average family size was 3.36.
In the city, the population age was spread out; 27.3% were under the age of 18, 6.3% from 20 to 24, 24.6% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,616, and the median income for a family was $43,083. Males had a median income of $34,708 versus $30,170for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,525. About 13.8% of families and 16.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 18.8% of those age 65 or over.
The Luling Watermelon Thump is held each year during the last full weekend in June. It is a big celebration for the locals and draws many people from out of town as well. A favorite activity associated with the 'Thump' is the watermelon seed spitting contest.
Luling is also home to Night In Old Luling, held in October. It features games, food, booths, and a scarecrow contest.
Some of the oil jacks along the main streets of Luling are decorated with whimsical characters, such as a girl eating a watermelon.
The Luling Dry Tri. is an annual event held in September. It is an athletic contest comprising three consecutive events: biking 12 miles, running 3.23 miles and paddling 6 miles. A no swim triathlon (Dry Tri) where anyone may participate either solo, as a two-person tag-team or three-person relay team. The event benefits several local groups, including the Luling Police and Fire Departments, and the Luling High School Cross Country Team.Michael Dorn, actor
Bo Burris, NFL player
Emory Bellard, American college football coach
Tamron Hall, anchor for MSNBC
Obert Logan, NFL football player for the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints
Riley Odoms, NFL football player for the Denver Broncos
Craig Mager, NFL football player for the San Diego Chargers