Luling was established in 1874 as the terminus of a branch of Southern Pacific Railroad. In early years it was a cattle center, shipping point and the end of a freight trail from Chihuahua, Mexico. The crossroads frontier settlement was once known as "the toughest town in Texas."
Oil was discovered here in 1922, and today, visitors can see active wells in and around the town, some on such incongruous spots as church lawns, residential back yards and city parks.
The world-famous Watermelon Thump Festival is held here the last weekend in June, and the town's water tower is painted to look like a giant watermelon.