Wichita Falls, Texas: Wikis


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City of Wichita Falls
—  City  —
Nickname(s): The City that Faith Built
Location within the state of Texas
Map of Wichita Falls in 1890
Coordinates: 33°53′49″N 98°30′54″W / 33.89694°N 98.515°W / 33.89694; -98.515Coordinates: 33°53′49″N 98°30′54″W / 33.89694°N 98.515°W / 33.89694; -98.515
Country United States United States
State Texas Texas
County Wichita
 - Type Council-Manager
 - City Council Mayor Lanham Lyne
Glenn Barham
Michael Smith
Dorothy Roberts Burns
Rick Hatcher
Jim Ginnings
Charles Elmore
 - City Manager Darron Leiker
 - City 183.1 km2 (70.1 sq mi)
 - Land 183.0 km2 (70.66 sq mi)
 - Water 0.1 km2 (0.04 sq mi)
Elevation 289 m (948 ft)
Population (2006)
 - City 107,000
 Density 569.1/km2 (1,474.1/sq mi)
 Metro 147,826
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-6)
Area code(s) 940
FIPS code 48-79000[1]
GNIS feature ID 1376776[2]
Website www.cwftx.net
The Falls of the Wichita River photographed from near the Texas Tourist Bureau station in Wichita Falls

Wichita Falls is a city in and the county seat of Wichita County, Texas, United States, United States.[3] Wichita Falls is the principal city of the Wichita Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Archer, Clay and Wichita counties. According to the U.S. Census estimate of 2008, the city had a population of 101,202.[4]

Sheppard Air Force Base, a United States Air Force base, is located in Wichita Falls.

Wichita Falls is sister city to Fürstenfeldbruck in Bavaria, Germany.


Geography and climate

Wichita Falls is located at 33°53′49″N 98°30′54″W / 33.89694°N 98.515°W / 33.89694; -98.515 (33.897047, -98.514881).[5]

The city is about 15 miles (24 km) south of the border with Oklahoma, 115 miles (185 km) northwest of Fort Worth, and 140 miles (230 km) southwest of Oklahoma City.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 70.71 square miles (183.1 km2) of which 70.69 square miles (183.1 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.052 km2) (0.03%) is water.[6]

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 87 93 100 102 110 117 114 113 111 102 89 88
Norm High °F 52.1 58.1 67.2 75.5 83.5 91.7 97.2 95.8 87.5 77.1 63.7 54.5
Norm Low °F 28.9 33.4 41.1 49.3 59.3 67.8 72.4 71.3 63.7 52.4 40.1 31.3
Rec Low °F -5 -8 8 24 36 51 54 53 38 25 14 -7
Precip (in) 1.12 1.58 2.27 2.62 3.92 3.69 1.58 2.39 3.19 3.11 1.68 1.68
Source: USTravelWeather.com [1]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 104,197 people, 37,970 households, and 24,984 families residing in the city.[7] City-data.com reports the population has since declined to 99,354 in July 2006,[8] though the city disputes these numbers.[9] The population density was 1,474.1 inhabitants per square mile (569.2 /km2). There were 41,916 housing units at an average density of 593.0 per square mile (229.0 /km2).[6] The racial makeup of the city was 75.11% White, 12.40% African American, 0.86% Native American, 2.20% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 6.39% from other races, and 2.95% from two or more races. Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin accounted for 13.98% of the population.[7]

There were 37,970 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.04.[7]

In the city the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 15.2% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 106.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.7 males.[7]

The median income for a household in the city was $32,554, and the median income for a family was $39,911. Males had a median income of $27,609 versus $21,877 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,761. About 10.8% of families and 13.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.7% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.[7]

Based on a July 1, 2006 estimate, the metropolitan statistical area has a population of 145,528, a decline of nearly 4% since 2000 (see Table of United States Metropolitan Statistical Areas).[3]


The Choctaw Indians settled the area in the early 1700s[10]. White settlers arrived in the 1860s to form cattle ranches. The Fort Worth and Denver Railway arrived in 1882, the same year the city became the county seat of Wichita County, Texas.[10]

A flood in 1886 destroyed the original falls on the Wichita River for which the city was named. After nearly 100 years of visitors wanting to visit the non-existent falls, the city built an artificial waterfall beside the river in Lucy Park. The recreated falls are 54 feet (16 m) high and recirculates at 3,500 gallons per minute. They are visible to south-bound traffic on Interstate 44.

The city is currently seeking funding to rebuild and restore the downtown area.[10] Downtown Wichita Falls was once the city's main shopping area for many years, but lost ground to the creation of new shopping centers throughout the city beginning with Parker Square in 1953 and other similar developments during the 1960s and 1970s, culminating with the opening of Sikes Senter Mall in 1974. The last surviving major downtown retail store, Sears, moved to Sikes Senter in 1990. The former downtown Sears building, constructed in 1967, covered an entire city block and featured "roof top" parking.

Wichita Falls was once home to offices of several oil companies and related industries, along with oil refineries operated by the Continental Oil Company (now Conoco Phillips) until 1952 and Panhandle Oil Company (later American Petrofina) until 1965. Both firms continued to utilize a portion of their former refineries as gasoline/oil terminal facilities for many years.


1964 tornado

A devastating tornado hit the north and northwest portions of Wichita Falls along with Sheppard Air Force Base during the afternoon of April 3, 1964 leaving 7 dead, more than 100 injured and causing roughly $15 million in property damage (approximately 225 homes and businesses). This tornado was also among the first in the nation to be broadcast on live television[citation needed] through warning coverage by KAUZ-TV Channel 6 due to the efforts by station officials to drag a studio camera outside and point it toward the funnel as it was approaching the city's northwest edge.[citation needed] KFDX-TV Channel 3 also provided live tornado warning coverage; reporters were out in the field to report on the tornado's movement and aftermath utilizing two-way radio communication with news director Fred Brooks and weathercaster Ben Strickland back at the studio.[citation needed] A Wichita Falls Times Record News photographer shot a picture from the roof of the newspaper's downtown offices of the funnel as it was approaching Sheppard Air Force Base .

1979 tornado

An F4 tornado struck the heavily populated southern sections of Wichita Falls in the late afternoon on Tuesday, April 10, 1979 (known locally as "Terrible Tuesday").[citation needed] The storm was part of an outbreak that produced 30 tornadoes around the region. Despite having nearly an hour's advance warning that severe weather was imminent, 45 people were killed (25 in vehicles) and 1,800 were injured because the storm arrived just in time for many people to be driving home from work.[citation needed] The tornado left 20,000 people homeless and caused $400 million in damage, a U.S. record not topped by an individual tornado until the F5 Moore-Oklahoma City tornado of May 3, 1999.[11]



Wichita Falls is the western terminus for Interstate 44. U.S. Highways leading to or through Wichita Falls include 287, 277, 281, and 82. State Highway 240 ends at Wichita Falls and State Highway 79 runs through it.

Wichita Falls has one of the largest numbers of freeway mileage for a city of its size as a result of a 1954 bond issue approved by city and county voters to purchase right-of-way for several expressway routes through the city and county, the first of which was opened in 1958 as an alignment of U.S. 287 from Eighth Street at Broad and Holliday streets northwestward across the Wichita River and bisecting Lucy and Scotland parks to the Old Iowa Park Road, which was the original U.S. 287 alignment. That was followed by other expressway links including U.S. 82-287 east to Henrietta (completed in 1968), U.S. 281 south toward Jacksboro (completed 1969), U.S. 287 northwest to Iowa Park and Electra (opened 1961), U.S. 277-281 north to Burkburnett and the Red River (opened 1964), and Spur 325 from the U.S. 277-281-287 interchange on the city's north side to the main gate of Sheppard Air Force Base (completed in 1959). However, cross-country traffic for many years had to contend with several ground-level intersections and stop lights over Holliday and Broad streets near the downtown area for approximately 13 blocks between connecting expressway links until a new elevated freeway running overhead was completed in 2001.

Efforts to create an additional freeway along the path of Kell Boulevard for U.S. 82-277 began in 1967 with the acquisition of right-of-way that included a former railroad right-of-way and the first project including construction of the present frontage roads completed in 1977, followed by freeway lanes, overpasses and on/off ramps in 1989 from just east of Brook Avenue west to Kemp Boulevard; and similar projects west from Kemp to Barnett Road in 2001 followed by one now under construction from Barnett Road west past FM 369 to tie in which a project now underway to transform U.S. 277 into a continuous four-lane expressway between Wichita Falls and Abilene.

Air travel

The Wichita Falls Municipal Airport is served by American Eagle with five flights daily to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The Kickapoo Downtown Airpark and the Wichita Valley Airport serve smaller, private planes.

Ground transportation

Greyhound Lines provides intercity bus service from Wichita Falls to other locations served by Greyhound. Skylark Van Service shuttles passengers to and from DFW on several runs during the day all week long.


Wichita Falls is home to Midwestern State University, an accredited 4-year college and the only independent liberal arts college in Texas offering both bachelor's and master's degrees. A local branch of nearby Vernon College offers two-year degrees, certificate programs, and workforce development programs, and also Wayland Baptist University, whose main branch is located in Plainview, Texas.

Public primary and secondary education is covered by the Wichita Falls Independent School District, the City View Independent School District, and the Bright Ideas Charter School. There are several parochial schools, the largest of which is Notre Dame Catholic school. Other private schools operate in the city, as does an active home-school community. Many of the local elementary schools participate in the Head Start program for preschool-aged children. The Wichita Falls ISD is one of only a handful of school districts in Texas that does not require its students to attend a particular school in the district based on their residency. Instead, all schools have magnet programs to attract students, such as the Washington Jackson Math & Science Center.

Four schools in the Wichita Falls Independent School District participate in the International Baccalaureate programmes. Hirschi High School offers the IB Diploma Programme. Three others are candidate schools: G.H. Kirby Junior High School for the Middle Years Programme; and Washington/Jackson Math/Science Center and Lamar Primary Center for the Primary Years Programme.

Other public high schools are Wichita Falls High School and S. H. Rider High School (Wichita Falls ISD) and City View High School (City View ISD).



Radio stations

Television stations

Sports and recreation

Wichita Falls is the home of the annual Hotter'N Hell Hundred, the largest century bicycle ride in the US.

The city has been home to a number of semi-pro, development, and minor league sports teams, including the Wichita Falls Drillers, a semi-pro football team that has won numerous league titles and a national championship; Wichita Falls Kings(formerly known as Wichita Falls Razorbacks), another semi-pro football team; Wichita Falls Texans of the Continental Basketball Association; Wichita Falls Fever in the Lone Star Soccer Alliance (1989–92); the Wichita Falls Spudders baseball team in the Texas League; the Wichita Falls Wildcats (formerly the Wichita Falls Rustlers) of the North American Hockey League, an American "Junior A" Hockey league; and the Wichita Falls Roughnecks (formerly the Graham Roughnecks) of the Texas Collegiate League.

Lucy Park is a 170-acre (0.69 km2) park with a log cabin, duck pond, playground, a frisbee golf course, and picnic areas. It has multiple paved walkways suitable for walking, running, biking, or rollerskating, including a river walk that goes to a re-creation of the original falls for which the city was named (the original falls were destroyed in a 19th century flood; the new falls were built in response to numerous tourist requests to visit the "Wichita Falls"). There are also unpaved trails for off-road biking and hiking.

Notable people


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/usamap.cfm. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Fact Finder- 2008 Population Estimates - Wichita Falls, Texas". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-context=dt&-ds_name=PEP_2008_EST&-mt_name=PEP_2008_EST_G2008_T001&-CONTEXT=dt&-tree_id=808&-all_geo_types=N&-geo_id=16000US4879000&-search_results=16000US4879000&-format=&-_lang=en. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ a b "Geographic Comparison Table- Texas". American Fast Facts. United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GCTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=04000US48&-_box_head_nbr=GCT-PH1&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&-redoLog=false&-mt_name=PEP_2008_EST_GCTT1R_ST9S&-format=ST-7. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Fact Sheet- Wichita Falls city, Texas". American Fast Facts. United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFFacts?_event=&geo_id=16000US4879000&_geoContext=01000US%7C04000US48%7C16000US4879000&_street=&_county=wichita+falls&_cityTown=wichita+falls&_state=04000US48&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=geoSelect&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=160&_submenuId=factsheet_1&ds_name=null&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null&reg=null%3Anull&_keyword=&_industry=. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "Wichita Falls, Texas Detailed Profile". http://www.city-data.com/city/Wichita-Falls-Texas.html. Retrieved 2007-12-18. 
  9. ^ "City of Wichita Falls, TX - Official Website". http://www.cwftx.net/FAQ.ASP?QID=411. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  10. ^ a b c Wichita Falls History
  11. ^ OUN Webmaster (November 20, 2009). "The Great Plains Tornado Outbreak of May 3, 1999". Weather Events. National Weather Service. http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/?n=events-19990503. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  12. ^ Martin, Douglas. "William Conner, Judge Expert in Patent Law, Dies at 89", The New York Times, July 19, 2009. Accessed July 20, 2009.

External links


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