A Pretty Dang Selective Tour of
Downtown Lubbock, Texas.
Downtown Lubbock didn't die, exactly.  It just fell into the same sad coma that lots
of little downtowns fell into back in the 70's. As people moved into the brand new tract houses on the outskirts of town, the old downtown businesses-- the department stores and the movie houses and the glassy diners on Broadway-- followed them out. Only the professionals stayed behind: the bankers and lawyers and accountants. Lawyers mostly. Maybe they liked being close to the court house. Or maybe they just couldn't imagine running a law office out of one of those strip malls up on 50th Street. Anyway, that was the only downtown I ever knew: the one that closed at 5pm. The one that belonged to the runaways at the bus station and to the railroad cop cruising the downtown yard and to the guys smoking cigarettes and reading porn at the 24- hour bail bond joints across from the jail. It was good place to go to be alone, because at night, no one went downtown. And it was a good place to come back to after being away, because it never, ever changed. Maybe that's why I still think of Lubbock as my hometown. It's not because I'm real fond of the place. It's just that I know where stuff is and that stuff mostly stays put, which counts for a lot when it comes to a hometown. The Western Wear sign is a good example. It's painted at the entrance to an alley that runs between a Masonic temple and an abandoned retirement hotel. The Western Wear store is long gone, but the sign's been there for years. No one's even tagged it.