Bovina, TX - Bovina was first established in the late 1800s by the XIT Ranch, which was one of the largest cattle ranching operations in the world.
The XIT Ranch spanned three million acres and 200 miles across the Texas Panhandle. Bovina was right at the center of it.
"XIT drove all their cattle here, put them on rail cars and shipped them out," said Don Spring, the president of the Bovina Chamber of Commerce. "In 1898, more cattle were shipped out of Bovina than anywhere else in the world."
For years, Bovina was mostly made up XIT cowboys and bulls that wandered freely. "The crew on the train started calling it Bull Town because bulls would get up on the track and stop the train. They would have to get off the train and move them off the train," said Spring.
The name "Bull Town" stuck until the U.S. Post Office came to town. "The post office department would not see of that," said Spring. "They said it was too vulgar, so they called it Bovina. So we didn't name Bovina. It was named for us."
Bovina continued to grow through the years and hit its hay day in the 1950s when Main Street was booming with business. "On Main Street it was just solid stores on both sides," recalled Gladys Spring, a Parmer County historian. "If mother happened to pick us up or daddy did after school, we'd go down to town to get a coke or something at the drug store. You couldn't even park on Main Street if you didn't get down there really quick."
Today Main Street is emptier and less busy, but the Springs believe Bovina can make a comeback. "One of the first businesses in town, Gaines Hardware, had a slogan on the front of their store that said "Nothing knocks on Bovina but opportunity. We welcome you." We think that has never been more true than right now," said Don Spring.