Tarzan is on State Highway 176 in central Martin County. J. B. McNerlin was the first settler in the area. In 1925 a two-room school was built, and soon after, Tant (or Fant) Lindsay built a store which, along with the school, formed the center of the community. In 1927 Lindsay submitted a list of possible town names to the post office department. Postal officials chose Tarzan and made Lindsay the first postmaster. Both Baptist and Church of Christ congregations met in the schoolhouse until they built their own buildings, the Baptists in 1937 and the Church of Christ after World War II.qv The first gin in Tarzan, built in 1932, burned just four years later.
The turning point for the town came around 1938, when it was learned that a highway was to be built from Big Spring to Andrews and would pass through Tarzan. J. T. Glaze promptly built a combination grocery and gas station.
After World War II local farmers organized the Tarzan Marketing Association. The discovery of oil in Martin County in the 1950s led to the establishment of the Tarzan Hot Oil Company; oil production remains a major industry, and oil wells dot the surrounding area.
the postwar years Tarzan has served as an entry point into Martin County for Mexican
braceros, seasonal workers usually employed in the cotton fields. In 1976 the Tarzan gin
became cooperatively owned. In 1980 and 1990 eighty people lived in Tarzan.