Lamesa is located south of Lubbock on US 87 between Seminole and Snyder along US 180, and Hwys 137 and 349, in Dawson County, where it is the county seat.
Lamesa prospered from farming and later through the development of the oil industry. The population was 1,188 in 1920 and rose to 6,038 in 1940 and to 10,706 in 1950. The peak years came in the 1960s, when the United States census reported 12,438 residents. Afterward the population fell slightly and stabilized around 11,559 in the 1970s and 1980s. In the mid-1980s Lamesa, the county's banking and marketing center, produced agricultural products, oil services, food processing, clothing and textiles, farming equipment, and cotton. Howard County Junior College, the Dawson County Museum, a hospital, a library, and several nursing homes are located in the city.
In 1990 the population was 10,809.