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County
Ector
Region
Big Bend
Population
2010 Census - 99,940
2000 Census - 90,943
Nearby
Towns
Odessa, Texas
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Odessa Texas History:
Odessa was founded in 1881 when the Texas and Pacific Railway built a line to the area and established a water stop at the current townsite. The Odessa Land and Townsite Company promoted the area. The post Odessa post office was established in 1885. Odessa was platted in 1886, and in 1891 Odessa became the county seat of the newly organized Ector County. Odessa remained a small ranching community until oil was discovered 16 miles southwest of Odessa in 1926. Between 1925 and 1929 the town’s population grew from 750 to approximately 5,000. The 1929 opening of the Penn Field established Odessa as an oil center and caused rapid population growth. Odessa incorporated in 1927. During World War II Odessa became the world's largest inland petrochemical complex. Today, Odessa is a commercial and shipping center for area ranches and is the center for the Permian Basin oil and gas industry. Odessa is located at the intersections of IH-20, U.S. 385, SH 349, and SH 158, 336 miles northwest of San Antonio, 274 miles northeast of El Paso, 41 miles southwest of Stanton, 20 miles southwest of Midland, 63 miles northwest of Seminole, 32 miles north of Crane, 36 miles northeast of Monahans and Monahans Sandhills State Park, 53 miles northeast of Wink, 46 miles east of Kermit, and 34.5 miles southeast of Andrews, Texas.
 
Ector County Courthouses:
“The 1891 courthouse was frame, the remodeled town sanitarium, moved to the present square. Its first floor had rooms for the sheriff, court clerks and Odessa school, while the county and district courtroom was upstairs. As the only public building in town, it provided space for dances, socials and church services. Picnics and baptisms were held at the windmill and tank on the northwest corner of the square. As the townsite restriction banned the sale of liquor, Odessa was usually quiet. However, fights broke out when settlers rushed to the courthouse to file claims on public lands.”  The 1904 two story, red stone courthouse was built just east of the 1891 courthouse. In 1938 a three story concrete courthouse was built. In 1964 architects Peters and Fields built a modern, concrete and steel exterior around the 1938 courthouse. The courthouse is located at 3rd Street and Grant Avenue. 
 
Pecos Depot:
This 1892 Santa Fe depot is now privately owned and is located at 2140 North Grant Street, adjacent to the Barn Door Restaurant (2140 Andrews Highway, 79761).
 
Stonehenge Replica, University of Texas of the Permian Basin:
This Stonehenge is a replica of England’s famous prehistoric Stonehenge. The replica is 70% as tall as the original; horizontally it is identical in size to the original. The stones weigh more than 20,000 pounds each, and are composed of limestone slabs donated by TexaStone of nearby Garden City. This Stonehenge is located at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin on the northeast side of the campus across from the Home Depot. Another Stonehenge replica is located at the Hill Country Arts Foundation & Playhousein Ingram, Texas. Campus Map  Odessa Stonehenge England's Stonehenge
 
Jackrabbit Statue, 1962:
The jackrabbit is not a rabbit, it is a hare. Odessa’s eight foot fiberglass Jack Ben Rabbit statue is billed as world’s largest jackrabbit. A jackrabbit roping contest was held during Odessa’s 1932 Annual Rodeo. The plaque reads: “Contest began as “Hare-Brained” publicity stunt during the 1932 annual Odessa Rodeo and was held at 3rd and Grant Street despite objections from out-of-town do-gooders. The local sheriff opposed the event but the mayor and a judge ruled there was no violation of Texas law. Cowgirl Grace Hendricks roped a rabbit from horseback in five seconds flat winning the contest over numerous male competitors. The notorious contest was revived in 1977 causing a coast-to-coast outcry.  A Midland animal lover delayed action by liberating captive jackrabbits. The event proceeded on schedule when the former “prisoners” returned at feeding time. Seven ropers competed on foot. Jack Torian placed first with a six second scamper. In 1978 the Humane Society blocked all future ropings with a court order.” This often photographed statue is located at 802 N. Sam Houston in front of the ECISD Administration Building. 
 
Friday Night Lights:
This 1990 non-fiction book was written by H.G. Bassinger. The story follows the story of Odessa’s 1988 Permian High School Panthers football team as they made a run for the Texas State Championship. The Panthers had a long, rich history of winning in Texas' 4A and 5A division, winning championships in 1965, 1972, 1980 and 1984. A movie version of Friday Night Lights was made and then released in the United States on October 6, 2004. It starred Billy Bob Thornton as Permian Coach Gary Gaines. The film was a box office and critical success and, in turn, spawned an NBC television series of the same name which lasted five seasons from 2006-2011.