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City of Odessa
—  City  —
Nickname(s): City of Contrasts, OD
Location within the state of Texas
Coordinates: 31°51′48″N 102°21′56″W / 31.86333°N 102.36556°W / 31.86333; -102.36556Coordinates: 31°51′48″N 102°21′56″W / 31.86333°N 102.36556°W / 31.86333; -102.36556
Country United States United States
State Texas Texas
Counties Ector, Midland
 - Type Council-Manager
 - City Council Mayor Larry Melton
Bill Cleaver
James B. Goates
Royce Bodiford
Dean Combs
Benjamin Velasquez
 - City Manager Richard Morton
 - Total 95.5 km2 (36.9 sq mi)
 - Land 95.3 km2 (36.8 sq mi)
 - Water 0.2 km2 (0.1 sq mi)
Elevation 884 m (2,900 ft)
Population (2000)
 - Total 90,943
 Density 954.3/km2 (2,471.6/sq mi)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 432
FIPS code 48-53388[1]
GNIS feature ID 1343067[2]
Odessa welcome sign along Interstate 20
The American State Bank building is the tallest building in Odessa.
Ector County Library in downtown Odessa
"Somewhere a Bird Is Singing": Sculpture of child in Noel Plaza adjacent to Ector County Library
The Ector County Coliseum in Odessa hosts hockey, indoor football, and rodeo.

Odessa is a city in Ector and Midland counties in the U.S. state of Texas. It is located primarily in Ector County, in which it is the county seat.[3] Odessa's population was 96,943 at the 2000 census(though a July 1, 2008, estimate placed the population at 98,801). It is the principal city of the Odessa, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Ector County. The metropolitan area is also a component of the larger Midland–Odessa, Texas Combined Statistical Area, which had a population of 261,435 as of July 1, 2008. estimate.[4]



Living with only 13 inches of rain each year, it may be hard to imagine that Ector County was once the bottom of a deep stagnant marine basin full of organisms. But that was about 225 million years ago when conditions were right to create one of the world's largest reservoirs of oil and natural gas. The underground wealth was not discovered until 1929.

The first tourists to visit Odessa 446 years ago were three adventurous Spanish Conquistadors and a Black man from the Mediterranean Sea. Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca) and his companions, CapitanAlonso del Castillo Maldonado, Capitan Andres Dorantes de Carranza and Estevanico (Dorantes' Black Moorish slave) trekked westward across the continent from Galveston Island where they had been shipwrecked. During this 1534-36 journey, they passed the Llano Estacado, just south of Odessa. In 1761, Felipe de Rabago y Teran blazed a trail from Mission San Saba (present day Menard, Texas) to New Mexico. There were 40 men in his party. The group went from the headwaters of the Concho River overland to the Pecos River. They were the first travelers on record to have traversed the route that is now U.S. Highway 80 and the first to tread the soil of what was to be downtown Odessa.

There is a record of the founder-promoters naming it in 1884 for Odessa in the Russian Empire (now Ukraine), wheat distribution center of the Old World, because it looked like good wheat country. There is also a published letter dated March, 1886 to the Townsite officials from Henry Thatcher, 'You gentlemen.. made the happiest choice of a name for your town 'Odessa'...(it) will be in the heart of this great wheat belt and, with adequate railroad facilities.. .the famous wheat market of the plains."


Odessa is located at 31°51′48″N 102°21′56″W / 31.86333°N 102.36556°W / 31.86333; -102.36556 (31.863294, -102.365490)[5].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 36.9 mi² (95.5 km²). 36.8 mi² (95.3 km²) of it is land and 0.1 mi² (0.2 km²) of it (0.19%) is water.



Performing Arts

The Midland-Odessa Symphony & Chorale (MOSC) has performed in the Permian Basin for over 45 years, and is the region's largest orchestral organization, presenting both Pops and Masterworks concerts throughout the year. Composed of professional musicians from the area as well as Lubbock, San Angelo and other surrounding cities, the MOSC also is home to three resident chamber ensembles, the Lone Star Brass, Permian Basin String Quartet and West Texas Winds. These ensembles are made up of principal musicians in the orchestra, who come to the area from across the United States.

The Globe of the Great Southwest, located on the campus of Odessa College, the community college in Odessa, features an authentic replica of William Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. It hosts plays and other community groups throughout the year as well as an annual Shakespeare festival.

Built in 1951, the Ector Theater served as one Odessa's finest theaters until it closed. Today, the renovated 700-seat theater provides the community with classic movies, live theatrical productions and concerts.

The Permian Playhouse has been enriching the lives of West Texas residents with music, dance, drama, suspense, tears and laughter for over 40 years. The Playhouse offers an opportunity for young people to explore the fascinating aspects of theater through the Kaleidoscope Company.


The Ector County Coliseum in Odessa features events as diverse as Indoor football as played by the Indoor Football League's Odessa Roughnecks, ice hockey with the Central Hockey League's Odessa Jackalopes, and rodeo every year in the form of the Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo. High school football is also a hit in this city; Ratliff Stadium which was featured in the movie Friday Night Lights is home to the Odessa Bronchos and the Permian Panthers. It is one of the largest high school stadiums in the state.


The Globe of the Great Southwest, Permian Playhouse and Ector Theater serve the region with live theatrical productions.

The Ector County Coliseum hosts many annual events such as the Permian Basin Fair and Expo, the International Oil Show and Merry Marketplace also events such as county fairs and the Cinco de Mayo celebration known as Fiesta West Texas which has brought in bands like Los Lonely Boys in 2007. Fiesta West Texas a three-day event provides fun for all ages. Enjoy a carnival, live entertainment, authentic food booths and the experience of traditional Mexican customs

Local Music Venues include The Roadhouse and Dos Amigos which play local bands as well as big hits ranging from Willie Nelson to Chevelle to Cross Canadian Ragweed.

The night life in Odessa is supported by many local clubs, bars and restaurants, including Graham Central Station, La Playa de Colores, Dos Amigos, Toby's, and Oasis Bar and Grill

Eagles Nest Airport Parachuting /Soaring - It's been said, if riding in a plane is flying, then riding in a boat is swimming. If you want to experience the element, you must get out of the vehicle. Skydive Eagle's Nest will give you the experience of flight and the rush of being high in the air... two miles above.

Music City Mall Indoor Ice Skating - You can shop around then have some fun and cool off at the local indoor ice skating rink.

Not far from Odessa are a couple of raceways. Champion Motor Speedway is to the west of Odessa 16 miles and Desert Thunder Raceway is to the East 8 miles.

Two Bowling Lanes create a great scene for locals to hang out, Sherwood Lanes and Diamond Lanes. Fun City offers as a place to arcade, race go-karts and play a round of miniature golf.


Odessa has ten local television stations: KMID-2, an ABC affiliate; KOSA-7, a CBS affiliate and a MyNetwork TV affiliate on its digital cable station located atop the American State Bank building; KWES-TV-9, an NBC affiliate; KUPB-18, a Univision affiliate; KPEJ-24, a Fox affiliate; KWWT-30, a CW affiliate; KPBT-36, a PBS affiliate; KTLE-LP, a Telemundo affiliate; and K69IT, a Multimedios Television affiliate. It also has one local religious television station: KMLM, a God's Learning Channel affiliate that is a worldwide institution offering pro-Israel programming.

Local radio stations include KOCV-FM, broadcasting National Public Radio news and talk mixed with locally-produced music content at a frequency of 91.3 MHz. Country music, classic rock, oldies, and pop stations are also available.

The Odessa American, a Freedom Communications publication, is the local newspaper.


The White-Pool House, built in 1887, is the oldest structure still standing in Odessa. Open to visitors at 112 East Murphy Street near South Grant Avenue, the building is included among the National Register of Historic Places.
Entrance sign at Odessa College

Odessa's Presidential Museum and Leadership Library, on the campus of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, is the only facility of its kind in the United States—dedicated to the office of the Presidency, not any particular holder of the Oval Office. There are also displays about the Presidents of the Republic of Texas. The museum was pushed to fruition by the late State Representative George "Buddy" West of Odessa.

After fighting financial hardships, the Presidential Museum closed its doors to the public as of 21 August 2009.[6]

The White-Pool House east of downtown is the oldest surviving structure in Odessa. It was built in 1887 and opened as an historic house museum in 1984.

Texon Santa Fe Depot has recently been relocated to West Odessa and serves as a museum in honor of the old west and the railroads.

The Parker House Museum is Odessa's newest addition to the historical records of Odessa. In 1935, the Parker family moved into this modest house located on 1,290 acres. It represents the lifestyle of a prominent ranching family, who served the communities of Andrews and Ector counties since 1907

Odessa Meteor Crater, an impact crater with 550 feet in diameter, is located southwest of the city.

Odessa has a Stonehenge replica on the campus of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Completed in 2004, the replica is horizontally equal to the Stonehenge in England but only 70 percent of the vertical height of the original.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 95.5 km² (36.9 sq mi). 36.8 square miles (95.3 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.19%) is water.

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 90,943 people, 33,661 households, and 23,697 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,471.4 people per square mile (954.2/km²). There were 37,966 housing units at an average density of 1,031.7/sq mi (398.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 44.43% White, 6.88% African American, 0.77% Native American, 0.88% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 16.07% from other races, and 2.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 48.42% of the population.

There were 33,661 households out of which 37.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.6% were non-families. 25.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.8% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 52 years. For every 100 females there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24000 and the median income for a family was $27869. Males had a median income of $50,000 versus $19,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,096. About 16.0% of families and 18.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.9% of those under age 18 and 000.1% of those age 65 or over.


Local Government

According to the city’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city’s various funds had $136.8 million in Revenues, $126.4 million in expenditures, $319 million in total assets, $155 million in total liabilities, and $123.6 million in cash and investments.[7]

The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:[8]

City Department Director
City Manager Richard Morton
Billing and Collection Director Donna Carrasco
Building Inspection Director Ralph M. McCain
Building Services Director Don Clark
City Secretary Norma Aguilar
Assistant City Manager-Community Services Michael Marrero
City Engineer Director Ajay Shakyaver, P.E.
Equipment Services Director Doug Hildebrand
Director of Finance Felicia Nzere
Interim Fire Chief Roger Boyd
Human Resources Director Don Byrne
Information Services Director Don Carlton
City Attorney Larry Long
Municipal Court Director Kathryn Wells-Vogel
Parks & Recreation Director Steve Patton
Planning & Zoning Director Marwan Khoury
Police Chief Timothy Burton
Public Safety Communications Director Vicky Davis
Public Works Director Matthew S. Squyres, P.E.
Purchasing Director Mark A. Simpson
Risk Management Director Darrell E. Wells
Solid Waste Director Oscar Maldonado
Street Director Pat Sullivan
Traffic Engineering Director Hal Feldman
Utilities Director Debbie McReynolds



-Ector County Library

-Murry H. Fly Learning Resource Center

-The J. Conrad Dunagan Library


The Ector County Independent School District was established in 1921, a consolidation of then seven schools. A new Odessa High School opened in 1929 at 10th and Sam Houston and operated at that site until 1947, when it was converted to the Odessa Junior High School campus, which continued there until 1982. The district now contains thirty-five campuses.

Odessa is home to Permian High School (mascot: Panther, nickname: MOJO), the school whose 1988 football team was featured in the book and film Friday Night Lights, and Odessa High School (mascot: Broncho). The two are the only high schools in the Ector County Independent School District. The Ector County Career Center is also an alternative to the two High schools in the city and is affiliated with ECISD. The private high school, the Richard Milburn Academy (mascot: Bulldogs), was founded in 2003 and is free to the public though not affiliated with ECISD.

The Career Center is no longer considered a high school, and students from both high schools can bus there for certain career electives.

Colleges and Universities

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and Odessa College are all located in Odessa.

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin began in 1973. UTPB was an upper level and graduate university until the Texas Legislature passed a bill in spring 1991 to allow the university to accept freshmen and sophomores. The Institute provides seminars, training and research on public leadership all over Texas, and offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Leadership Studies. The Institute is also well-regarded for its Shepperd Distinguished Lecture Series, which has brought a variety of internationally-recognized individuals, such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Robert McNamara, Ralph Nader, William F. Buckley, Jr., and most recently Malcolm Gladwell to discuss salient political and social topics. As of 2006, the university was holding discussions with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about construction of a new High-Temperature Teaching and Test Reactor which, if successful, would finish licensing and construction around 2012. It would also be the first university based research reactor to be built in the US in roughly a decade and be one of the few HTGR type reactors in the world. In January 2006, UTPB's School of Business was awarded accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). AACSB is generally regarded as the premier accreditation agency for the world's business schools. According to the University, only 30 percent of business schools in the United States, and 15 percent of world business schools, have received AACSB accreditation.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Permian Basin Campus opened as a School of Medicine in 1979, beginning in the basement of Medical Center Hospital. Since 1994, TTUHSC Permian Basin has included a School of Allied Health, offering a master's degree in physical therapy. Also, on the campus of Midland College, it offers a physician assistant program. Additionally, TTUHSC Permian Basin includes a School of Nursing focusing on primary care and rural health. In June 1999, the Texas Tech Health Center opened as a clinic providing increased access to primary and specialized health care for the Permian Basin. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Permian Basin also operates 21 WIC clinics located in nearby small communities.

Odessa College is a public two-year college based in Odessa, Texas, USA serving the people of Ector County and the Permian Basin. It opened in 1952 and currently enrolls about 5,000 annually in its university-parallel and occupational/technical courses, and 11,000 students annually in its Basic Education, Continuing Education, and Community Recreation courses.


According to the City's 2008 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[9] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Ector County Independent School District 3,340
2 Medical Center Hospital 1,786
3 Saulsbury Co. 1,165
4 Holloman Companies 1,000
5 Wal-Mart 923
6 City of Odessa 867
7 Odessa Regional 740
8 Halliburton 685
9 University of Texas of the Permian Basin 659
10 Ector County 617

Though the economy is primarily driven by the area's oil industry, new economic steps are currently being taken to ensure the city's existence after oil is no longer abundant in the area. Odessa is also a stop on—and a supporter of—the La Entrada al Pacifico trade corridor. In 2003 Family Dollar Corporation opened its 8th distribution center in Odessa's new industrial business park. Telvista, an inbound customer service call center, opened its doors in 2004 in its own new building in the industrial park. Coca Cola built a new distribution center in Odessa in early 2007. Growth in construction of new retail in the city's Northeast side has increased in recent years, with 3 new shopping centers currently planned and 1 in the construction phase. Many hotels have also been planned with some in the completion phase. In November 2007, the city approved a contract with a company that develops armaments for U.S. Army helicopters to begin operations in Odessa.

Odessa has also taken steps to diversify the energy it provides. A new wind farm has been constructed in Northern Ector County[10]. A new clean coal plant has also been announced for a site previously entered in the Futuregen bidding. The new plant will be run by Summit Power and will be located near Penwell[11]. This new plant could lead to the creation of 8,000 jobs to the area.[12] There are also plans for a nuclear power plant to be run in conjunction with the nuclear engineering department at UTPB, called HT3R, or the "High-Temperature Teaching and Test Reactor". This reactor is planned to be near Andrews. There have also been recent visits from prospective developers of a solar collector in the area.[13]

The Ector County Coliseum is host to the Permian Basin International Oil Show on every even numbered year. The Permian Basin International Oil Show, one of the largest expositions of its kind, showcases the latest technology in the petroleum industry and also honors the industry’s past. Attendees to the Oil Show hail from various parts of the United States and various foreign countries. The Oil Show is for executives and workers in various phases of the petroleum industry and is not open to the public. For the 2008 oil show an attendance exceeding 50,000 guests walked through the door despite the sluggish economy. A new venue has also been discussed which would make it the new home for the Odessa Jackalopes

Odessa has one regional enclosed mall (Music City Mall), which includes Dillards, JC Penney, Sears, Bealls, indoor ice skating rink, and television station. Additionally, more than 100 specialty retailers are located in the mall.

Rabbit as symbol

The jack rabbit has become the symbol of Odessa. This true South Plains animal has burro-like ears and a protective coloration which blends with the sand and dry grass of West Texas. His long legs can allow him to run as fast as 45 miles per hour. He is hunted by greyhounds. The Native Americans prized him for the food and fur. The rabbit was commonly used for food by many during the Great Depression. Beginning in 1932, Odessa held a rodeo for roping rabbits. In one competition, cowgirl Grace Hendricks roped a rabbit from horseback in five seconds and beat her male competitors. The unusual rodeo ended in 1977 because of objections from the Humane Society.[14] Many businesses and residences about Odessa display models of rabbits.


By Air

  • Odessa is served by Midland International Airport, which is located halfway between Odessa and Midland.
  • Odessa's Regional airport Schlemeyer Field, also used for more general aviation, is located on Odessa's Northeast side. Plans are currently under way to extend the runway for larger aircraft.

Midland International Airport is served by:

By Road

People from Odessa

In popular culture

  • Odessa is the hometown of NBC drama Heroes characters Claire Bennet, her adoptive father Noah Bennet, and his employer Primatech Paper. The series is, however, filmed entirely in California (according to the Internet Movie Database). The shots in the pilot episode show Odessa to be in a mountainous region but the closest mountain range is the Davis Mountain range in far West Texas.
  • The book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by author H. G. Bissinger and subsequent movie (Friday Night Lights) are based on the 1988 football season of the Permian Panthers, one of the two high school football teams in Odessa.[17] Many of the characters mentioned in the book still reside in Odessa (as of January 2007). A TV show, also by the name Friday Night Lights, is currently running on NBC. It is loosely based on the book and movie but takes place in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas.
  • A reality series on the TV Guide Channel followed the reporters of the local CBS affiliate, KOSA-TV. The show was titled Making News: Texas Style. The program states that the affiliate is based in nearby Midland, Texas though the main bureau is in Odessa. The second season of Making News is being filmed in Savannah, Georgia.
  • Odessa is featured in the 2005 novel No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy, which was made into an Oscar award-winning movie of the same name by the Coen Brothers in 2007. In both the book and the movie, the town is the home of Llewellyn Moss' in-laws, to which his wife flees.
  • A portion of the Tommy Lee Jones film The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada was filmed in Odessa.
  • The truTV reality show Black Gold is based on three oil wells outside of Odessa, as well as some locations in Odessa, such as the local Hooters restaurant.
  • The character of Linda Moon in Elmore Leonard's novel Be Cool was from Odessa, "Odessa" also being the name of the band (this was changed for the film).
  • At Noel Plaza adjacent to the Ector County Library downtown is a unique bronze bust by Una Hanbury in which an unidentified boy proclaims "Somewhere a bird is singing."
  • The character of Frank Cushman (played by Jerry O'Connell) in the film Jerry Maguire was from Odessa.
  • Odessa was mentioned in the movie Tin Cup.


Climate data for Odessa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 84
Average high °F (°C) 57
Average low °F (°C) 30
Record low °F (°C) -8
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.6
Source: [18] {{{accessdate}}}

[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Table 2. Annual Estimates of the Population of Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007 (CBSA-EST2007-02)" (CSV). 2007 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ Presidential Museum Closes. CBS7 News, 21 August 2009. [1] Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  7. ^ City of Odessa CAFR Retrieved 2009-07-20
  8. ^ City of Odessa Retrieved 2009-07-20
  9. ^ City of Odessa CAFR Retrieved 2009-07-20
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Texas Historical Commission marker, Jack Rabbit, downtown Odessa, 1964
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links


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