Hispanic ties, city buildings mark legacies
“In 1912 Ventura Flores was the first Mexican American to settle permanently in Lubbock, when he pitched a tent by the railroad depot.”
That note in the book “Las Tejanas: 300 years of History” is one of the very few written documentations of the life of Flores. But, the oral history that has stayed with the family members places Flores at the core of Hispanic presence in Lubbock.
Persons labeled as “Mexicans” were treated as lower class by the early white population. The irony is that Flores wasn’t Mexican. His lineage traces to Spanish colonists who settled in what is now New Mexico, according to family members. His migration was from the Roswell and Artesia area.
In 1917 he became the first Hispanic to acquire a home in Lubbock. The site of that home was in the area now known as the Guadalupe neighborhood. His brother Benjamin would soon join him in what was becoming a bustling area.
The early Flores family raised goats and sheep, making them the first Hispanic businessmen in the city. Their children worked as barbers. Markets and grocery stores cropped up around the neighborhood.
The mantra handed down through more than five generations is that when Ventura Flores moved to Lubbock, the family came to “el mundo nuevo” or the new world.
W.G. McMillan Sr.
W. G. McMillan Jr.
The McMillans, both father and son, built some of the most recognizable public buildings in Lubbock and at Texas Tech. And they shared interests from exotic wildlife to ethnographic expeditions involving isolated Native American tribes.
The elder McMillan established the W.G. McMillan Construction Co. in 1927 and was involved in building a portion of the county courthouse, more than a half-dozen structures at Texas Tech, Reese Air Force Base facilities, the Avalanche-Journal building and several major downtown businesses. He also constructed Meadowbrook Golf Course.
He may be best known though for devising a plan to expand Tech’s Jones Stadium by sliding back the existing seats, excavating the remaining area to lower the field and add seating. He died though before the project was accomplished.
He also served four terms on the Lubbock City Commission.
The younger McMillan, a graduate of Lubbock High and Texas Tech, joined his father in the business in 1954 and later became president.
The McMillans accompanied W.C. Holden on 1934 and 1955 expeditions to study social interactions of the Yaqui Indians of Sonora, Mexico.
Their interest in exotic wildlife took them around the world in search of trophy animals.
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