The great town of Odessa Texas was founded in 1881 and was utilized as a cattle-shipping point and water stop for the up and coming Texas and Pacific Railways. This West Texas town is located primarily in Ector County, and because one county doesn’t seem to be enough, a small portion of Odessa also extends over into Midland County.
They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If that holds true, then the port city of Odesa in Ukraine, which is in Russia, should feel pretty darn special. Because you see, Odessa Texas was named after this third largest city in Russia.
As in most areas of Texas, oil was discovered here and the without hesitation the town became incorporated in 1927. People soon flocked to the area causing the population to rapidly inflate in just a few short years from about seven hundred and fifty residents to over five thousand. As the country expanded and grew and new and better things were discovered, Odessa’s population influx slowed down to almost a crawl and has settled nicely at the one hundred and ten thousand mark. Recently it seems to be back on the mend with Forbes Magazine ranking Odessa as the third fastest-growing small city in the United States.
When an abundance of oil was being discovered, it was the primary source for the Odessa economy. Now, with oil slowly drying up, they are turning to a more green energy source. A wind power driven economy has been developed to help sustain the population that now calls Odessa home. When asked, many people would say that they hate wind. That is, until your livelihood depends on it.
The city is littered with museums dedicated to keeping the spirit of history and the old west alive. Including a large amount of houses and structures that still stand after being constructed almost one hundred and fifty years ago.
In 2013, Odessa had the highest rate of violent crime in the great state of Texas, which is not something to be proud of. But when it gets you a mention by one of the most well-known authors out there…well no, it still is not something to be proud of. Odessa is mentioned in the novel by James A. Michener titled Texas, published in 1985. Right there in black and white it states that this is a city where “you are more likely to be murdered than in any other city in the nation”. There must be something in the water, as the saying goes, because the second most dangerous city was also in West Texas at the time.
On a more positive note and giving you a real reason to cheer, literally, there are many local sports teams that play in the area. The Indoor Football League offers The West Texas Roughnecks and the Odessa Jackalopes junior ice hockey team plays all of its home games at Ector County Coliseum. High school football is also very popular and one of the local high school stadiums was featured in the movie Friday Night Lights, which is home to both the Odessa Bronchos and Permian Panthers. Ratliff Stadium is one of the largest high school stadiums in the state. High school and college sports bring in a big crowd in Texas and with these teams there is no exception. No matter what time of year it is or what is being played, local sports will always give Odessa residents a reason to cheer.
Along the same lines as sports, apparently in Odessa rabbits are not just for Easter. Here they were once used in rabbit rodeos, which quickly became quite popular in the early 1900’s. Although these events were similar to what calf roping is today, this bunny type of rodeo did not last due to the thoughts that it was a form of animal cruelty and was cut short in 1977. However, in honor of what once was, many residents and shop owners still proudly display rabbits.