The Duke of Wellington had been dead a half century when the Rowe brothers came from England to the southeastern Panhandle in late 1880’s. Naming a town in honor of the victor of Waterloo was a way to hang onto memories of their homeland. Wellington and Collingsworth County were of the earliest settlements in the Panhandle. The town was organized in 1890 as a center for the burgeoning sandhill cotton industry. Wellington became the county seat in 1890 and was incorporated November 11, 1909.
In July 1913 the city granted W.H.Mims and Tom L. Miller the right to erect and operate an electric plant. In the early 1920’s red brick streets were laid around the square and on streets leading to it for a few blocks: they are still in very good condition and are historical since asphalt is used now.
The City Hall and auditorium were constructed in 1940-42; the city sold bonds for $20,000 and the county agreed to pay not more than $3500. It was constructed with the help of the WPA, and is known as the Bura Handley Community Center. The building’s name, designated in November 1965 honored Bura O. Handley who “dedicated his life in service to the people of Wellington. His engineering ability, ingenuity, foresightedness and love for this city are responsible for much of the progress made in Wellington for half a century” (from bronze plaque cornerstone by entry to Club Room at Community Building)
In 1946 the city sold $110,000 in bonds for the water and sewer system, street improvements and the airport. In 1984 city employees dug up a section of four inch wooden water line that was installed in 1909. In 1972 the city issued $350,000 in revenue bonds for the purpose of improving and extending the city’s waterworks system. These were paid off in 1982. The city now has approximately 1400 water meters.
In 1983 the city built and paid for a new fire station; there are 24 volunteer firemen. Also in 1983 the city lengthened the runway at the airport to 4035 feet. The city now has 37 miles of paved streets.
Nell McKinney, City Secretary 1979-1996
For more information about the history of Wellington click on the following link: