Early Hispanic residents of frontier Lubbock County included ranch hands in the 1880s. Railroad lines brought many workers to the south plains, the majority recruited from El Paso. Rail companies built row houses near construction sites, and Lubbock's rail labor camps became ethnic enclaves for Hispanic workers. One of the early settlements southwest of town was called Shipley's Railroad Camp. Cotton raising, which began as a side crop on area ranches, also attracted temporary labor as production increased. One field labor camp developed near the Slaton Roundhouse. Cotton pickers from south Texas and Mexico arrived in a seasonal migration, although some found year-round ranch work. While on the migration circuit, Hispanic citizens lived in large labor camps throughout the county and along every major highway into Lubbock.
In the city, a barrio called "Mexican Town" or the "Chihuahua District" developed in this locale. Standard homes were tents or simple structures, and the neighborhood was poverty-ridden and overcrowded. The Great Depression worsened living conditions for most residents but especially for the working poor. Mexican migrants and Hispanic citizens also faced segregated facilities including schools, theaters and restaurants. In 1948 the city council paid for a corrugated metal building
at the largest camp as a labor recruiting site. In may 1970, a tornado destroyed much of the neighborhood, and of the twenty-six people killed nearly half were barrio residents. By 2000, Hispanics made up about one-third of the city population and one-half of the public school enrollment. Lubbock also boasted dozens of Hispanic organizations advocating for business, civil rights, leadership, families, the arts, youth and education. Aztlan Park is the site of the former migrant labor camp.