Odessa, Texas

Enlarge University of Texas of the Permian Basin Ector County, Texas
Odessa, Texas
City of Odessa
Odessa City Hall in April 2014
Odessa City Hall in April 2014
Official seal of Odessa, Texas
Location in the state of Texas
Location in 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
State Texas
CountiesEctor, Midland
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • City CouncilMayor David Turner
Michael K Shelton Sr.
Dewey Bryant
Detra White
Tom Sprawls
Mari Willis
 • City ManagerMichael Marrero
 • At-LargePeggy Dean
 • Total51.36 sq mi (133.02 km2)
 • Land51.08 sq mi (132.29 km2)
 • Water0.28 sq mi (0.72 km2)
2,900 ft (884 m)
 • Total99,940
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,414.62/sq mi (932.29/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s)432
FIPS code48-53388[3]
GNIS feature ID1343067[4]

Odessa /ˌˈdɛsə/ is a city in and the county seat of Ector County, Texas, United States. It is located primarily in Ector County, although a small section of the city extends into Midland County.[5] Odessa's population was 99,940 at the 2010 census, making it the 28th-most populous city in Texas; estimates as of July 2019 indicate a population of 123,334 in the city.[6] It is the principal city of the Odessa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Ector County. The metropolitan area is also a component of the larger Midland–Odessa combined statistical area, which had a 2010 census population of 278,801; a recent report from the United States Census Bureau estimates that the combined population as of July 2015 is 320,513.[7][8] In 2014, Forbes magazine ranked Odessa as the third-fastest growing small city in the United States.[9] In 1948 Odessa was also the home of First Lady Barbara Bush, and the onetime home of former Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Former President George H.W. Bush has been quoted as saying "At Odessa we became Texans and proud of it."[10]


Odessa is said to have been named after Odessa, Ukraine, because of the local shortgrass prairie's resemblance to Ukraine's steppe landscape.[11]


Odessa was founded in 1881 as a water stop and cattle-shipping point on the Texas and Pacific Railway. The first post office opened in 1885. Odessa became the county seat of Ector County in 1891 when the county was first organized. It was incorporated as a city in 1927, after oil was discovered in Ector County on the Connell Ranch southwest of Odessa.[12]

With the opening of the Penn Field in 1929, and the Cowden Field in 1930, oil became a major draw for new residents. In 1925, the population was just 750; by 1929, it had risen to 5,000. For the rest of the 20th century, the city's population and economy grew rapidly during each of a succession of oil booms (roughly in the 1930s–50s, 1970s, and 2010s), often with accompanying contractions during the succeeding busts (particularly in the 1960s and 1980s).[12]


Odessa is located along the southwestern edge of the Llano Estacado in West Texas. It is situated above the Permian Basin, a large sedimentary deposit that contains significant reserves of oil and natural gas.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 44.0 square miles (114 km2); 43.9 square miles (114 km2) of it are land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.05%) is covered by water.


Odessa has the semiarid climate typical of West Texas. Summers are hot and sunny, while winters are mild and dry. Most rainfall occurs in late spring and summer; snowfall is rare. The area exhibits a large diurnal temperature range and frequent high winds.[13]

Climate data for Odessa, Texas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 91
Average high °F (°C) 57.5
Average low °F (°C) 34.7
Record low °F (°C) 2
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.50
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 3.3 3.4 3.5 2.6 4.0 3.9 4.2 4.8 4.8 4.8 2.7 3.1 45.0
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.1
Percent possible sunshine 66 69 73 78 78 81 81 77 77 72 74 65 74
Source: NOAA (normals 1981−2010, percent sunshine through 2009)[14][15]


As of the 2010 Census,[3] 99,940 people, 35,216 households, and 27,412 families resided in the city. The population density was 2,276.5 people per square mile (954.2/km2). There were 43,687 housing units at an average density of 995.1 per square mile (384.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.4% White, 5.7% Black, 1.1% Asian, 1.0% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 14.2% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino residents of any race was 50.6%.[16]

Of the 35,216 households, 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 not families. About 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 distributed as 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 $24,000 and for a family was $27,869. 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.


Prosperity Bank Building is the tallest building in Odessa.
Downtown Odessa as seen after a drizzle on March 21, 2020. 12-story Prosperity bank is currently the tallest building in Odessa
MCM Grande Hotel in Odessa includes the West Texas Events Center.

Historically, the Odessa economy has been primarily driven by the area's oil industry, booming and busting in response to rises and falls in the crude oil price. Many of the city's largest employers are oilfield supply companies and petrochemical processing companies. In recent decades, city leaders have begun trying to decrease the city's reliance on the energy industry to moderate the boom-bust cycle and develop greater economic sustainability.[12]

Odessa has also taken steps to diversify the energy it produces. A new wind farm has been constructed in northern Ector County.[18] A new coal pollution mitigation plant has 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.[19] This new plant could lead to the creation of 8,000 jobs in the area.[20] Plans are in place for a nuclear power plant to be run in conjunction with the nuclear engineering department at University of Texas of the Permian Basin, called High-Temperature Teaching and Test Reactor. This reactor is planned to be near Andrews.

Odessa's main enclosed shopping mall is Music City Mall, which includes Dillards, JC Penney, At Home, Burlington Coat Factory, an indoor ice skating rink, and CBS News. Construction of new retail in recent years has been concentrated on the city's northeast side. In November 2007, the city approved a contract with a company that develops armaments for US Army helicopters to begin operations in Odessa.

Largest employers

As in many municipalities, some of the largest employers are in the education, government, and healthcare industries. Outside of those areas, the city's major employers are concentrated in the oil industry. According to the city's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[21] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer Number of
1 Saulsbury Companies 4,000
2 Ector County Independent School District 3,873
3 Halliburton 2,700
4 Medical Center Hospital 1,922
5 Keane Group 1,593
6 Odessa Regional Medical Center 1,000
7 Walmart 938
8 City of Odessa 900
9 Weatherford 900
10 Ector County 668

Arts and culture

Odessa welcome sign along Interstate 20
Ector Theater in Odessa, Texas as shown on May 30, 2020. The 700-seat Ector Theatre at 500 N. Texas Ave. in Odessa opened in 1951. Now closed for regular films, it still hosts occasional community events, performing arts, and musical expositions. The theater is undergoing a major renovation and is now attached to the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.
The abandoned Rio Theater on North Grant Street in Odessa opened in 1947 as the Scott Theater. In 2010, a community group attempted to acquire the building.
First Baptist Church in downtown Odessa; pastor Byron V. McWilliams (2014), a former accountant for an oil company in Houston and a two-term past president of Southern Baptists of Texas[22]

Performing arts

The Midland–Odessa Symphony and Chorale (MOSC) was founded in 1962,[23] 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 is also 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 theater is now part of the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center which is scheduled to open in August 2019.

The Permian Playhouse has provided music, dance, drama, suspense, and comedy for over 40 years.


The Odessa Jackalopes junior A ice hockey team plays its home games at Ector County Coliseum. High-school football is also popular. 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, listed as seventh in capacity within Texas.[24]


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 listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Parker Ranch House Museum at 1118 Maple Ave.: The restored structure was once the headquarters of a ranch that includes 175 sections of land in Andrews and Ector Counties. Owned from the 1930s to the 1950s by Jim and Bessie Parker, the museum features exhibits of the ranching family.

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 occupant of the Oval Office. It also has 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. The building itself is named for West and his wife, Shirley.

After fighting financial hardships, the Presidential Museum closed its doors to the public as of 21 August 2009.[25] In February 2010, additional funding allowed the doors to reopen, with negotiations pending for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin to take control of the museum.[26]

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

Texon Santa Fe Depot, recently relocated to West Odessa, 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 (5.2 km2). 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 550 feet (170 m) 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% of the vertical height of the original.


Local government

Odessa has a council–manager government, with a city council of five councillors (elected from geographic districts) and a mayor (elected at-large). The council appoints and directs other city officials, including the city manager, and sets the city's budget, taxes, and other policies.[27]

In the 2014 fiscal year, the Odessa government had $179.1 million in revenues, $146.3 million in expenditures, $454 million in total assets, and $203 million in total liabilities. The city's major sources of public revenues were fees for services (such as public utilities), sales taxes, and property taxes, and its major expenses were for public safety and for water and sewer service.[28]

State representation

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates the Odessa District Parole Office in Odessa.[29]

Federal representation

The United States Postal Service operates three post offices in Odessa: Odessa,[30] Northeast Odessa,[31] and West Odessa.[32]


Universities and colleges

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) 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. 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 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, which is generally regarded as the premier accreditation agency for the world's business schools. According to the university, only 30% of business schools in the United States, and 15% of world business schools, have received AACSB accreditation.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

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

Entrance sign at Odessa College

Odessa College is a public, two-year college based in Odessa, serving the people of Ector County and the Permian Basin. It opened in 1952 and currently enrolls about 6,000 annually in its university-parallel and occupational/technical courses, and 11,000 students annually in its Basic Education, Continuing Education, and Community Recreation courses.[33]

Primary and secondary schools

The Ector County Independent School District was established in 1921, in a consolidation of seven area schools. The district now contains 38 campuses. It administers these high schools: Permian High School, Odessa High School, George H. W. Bush New Tech Odessa, OC Techs at Odessa College and Falcon Early Collge High School, also at Odessa College.

Odessa's private schools include Montessori Mastery School of Odessa, Latter Rain Christian School, Odessa Christian School, Permian Basin Christian School, Faith Community Christian Academy, St. John's Episcopal School, St. Mary's Central Catholic School, Rainey School of Montessori, Sherwood Christian Academy, and Zion Christian Academy. Odessa is also home to four charter schools: Compass Academy Charter School, Harmony Science Academy-Odessa, Embassy Academy, and Richard Milburn Academy-Odessa.


Ector County Library in downtown Odessa


The city's main daily newspaper is the Odessa American.



Rabbit as symbol

The jack rabbit has become the symbol of Odessa. 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.[34] Many businesses and residences about Odessa display models of rabbits.


Air and space

Midland International Airport is served by:

Midland Spaceport is not currently served by any commercial space companies.


Notable people

In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  7. ^ "Midland-Odessa CSA leads the nation in population growth". MRT.com. 29 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
  8. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  9. ^ Kotkin, Joel (3 September 2014). "America's Fastest-Growing Small Cities". Forbes. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Odessa home to former presidents, first lady". Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  11. ^ "Ector County, Texas History". Historic Texas. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  12. ^ a b c Klepper, Bobbie Jean (15 June 2010). "ODESSA, TX". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Midland Texas Climate Narrative". National Weather Service. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  14. ^ "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  15. ^ "Average Percent Sunshine: Data Through 2009". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on August 25, 2004. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Odessa city, Texas - QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  17. ^ "Odessa". Texas Almanac. Texas State Historical Association. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  18. ^ Folsom, Jeff (20 October 2009). "Extension agents look forward". Odessa American. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  19. ^ "Clean coal project could be game-changer for Texas". Texas Clean Energy Project. Archived from the original on January 26, 2010. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  20. ^ Folsom, Jeff (24 December 2009). "Summit impact". Odessa American. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  21. ^ "City of Odessa 2018 CAFR". Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  22. ^ "Pastor Byron V. McWilliams". fbcodessa.com. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  23. ^ "MOSC History". Midland–Odessa Symphony Orchestra. Archived from the original on 26 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  24. ^ "Stadiums with Capacity Greater Than 16,500". Texas Football Stadium Database. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  25. ^ "Presidential Museum Closes its Doors". KWES-TV. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  26. ^ "Presidential Museum to Reopen Just in Time for President's Day Weekend". KWES-TV. 12 February 2010. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  27. ^ "CITY COUNCIL". City of Odessa. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  28. ^ "Popular Annual Financial Report For Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2014". City of Odessa. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  29. ^ "DIRECTORY - REGIONAL AND DISTRICT PAROLE OFFICES REGION V Archived September 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on July 28, 2010.
  30. ^ "Post Office Location - ODESSA Archived 2010-06-21 at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on July 28, 2010.
  31. ^ "Post Office Location - NORTHEAST ODESSA Archived 2010-06-19 at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on July 28, 2010.
  32. ^ "Post Office Location - WEST ODESSA Archived 2010-11-17 at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on July 28, 2010.
  33. ^ College, Odessa. "Odessa College - Community Home". www.odessa.edu.
  34. ^ Texas Historical Commission marker, Jack Rabbit, downtown Odessa, 1964
  35. ^ "Odessa Airport-Schlemeyer Field". AirNav. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  36. ^ Patoski, Joe Nick (September 1997). "Law, Lucius D. Bunton III". Texas Monthly.
  37. ^ "Lonesome Onry and Mean: Roy Orbison and Odessa". Houston Press.com. 23 October 2008. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
  38. ^ "Roy E. Williams". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  39. ^ "Marvin R. Young". thevirtualwall.org. Archived from the original on March 9, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  40. ^ Merron, Jeff. "The Reel Life". Page 3. ESPN.com. Archived from the original on 2 July 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  41. ^ ""Making News: Texas Style" (2007)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  42. ^ "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005) - Filming locations". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  43. ^ "Black Gold: Going Deeper: Facts and Stats". trutv.com. Archived from the original on July 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-02.