In Caldwell County
, Luling is located just above I-10 southeast of San Marcos
on US 183 on the banks of the San Marcos River.
Early settlement of the area began in the 1840s and was concentrated along Plum Creek. The discovery of the Luling oilfield in 1922 prompted rapid growth in the community and attracted various support industries associated with the oil business.
In spite of the dominance of oil, agriculture remains an important part of the local economy. By the 1950s local farmers had diversified their crops to include watermelons and tomatoes. Truck farming became such a large industry in the area that Luling residents began holding an annual 'Watermelon Thump,' a festival that included a seed-spitting contest and prizes for the largest watermelon. As many as 40,000 came to one of the gatherings in the 1980s.
Estimates for 1990 placed the population at 5,693 and the number of businesses at 123.