Luling is a city in Caldwell County, Texas, United States, along the San Marcos River. The population was 5,080 at the 2000 census. There is some debate as to how Luling got its name. Some say it was named for a Chinese railroad worker, others for a judge named Luling, or that it was the maiden name of a railroad builder's wife. It is part of the Greater Austin area.
Luling was founded in 1874 as a railroad town and became a rowdy center for the cattle drivers on the Chisholm Trail. Contempt of the law by the cowboys helped Luling become known as the "toughest town in Texas." After the great cattle drives ended in the late 1880s, Luling quieted down to a town of about 500 and cotton ruled the local economy. Perhaps due to arrival of immigrants, including some Jews, in the late-19th century, Luling began a long, slow, period of growth and by 1925 the population reached 1,500.
The single most important event in Luling's history was the discovery of oil by Edgar B. Davis. Davis had mortgaged everything he owned to finance drilling for oil around Luling. On August 9, 1922, The Rafael Rios No. 1 well came in at 2,161 feet (659 m) and produced 150 barrels per day (24 m3/d). To repay his loans, Davis contracted 2 million barrels (320,000 m3) at $.50 a barrel to Atlantic Oil and another 2 million to Magnolia Oil, plus another 2 million barrels (320,000 m3) to Magnolia at $.75 per barrel.