While known primarily for oil, gas and shale now, Odessa in Texas has a long history that stretches back to 1881.
The name comes from a Ukrainian city of the same name but nobody knows quite why. It is said that the region looks a similar shape to the Ukrainian namesake, but opinion is still divided.
Located equally between El Paso and Fort Worth, the original settlement was placed here to act as a water stop for the Texas and Pacific Railway. It quickly became a cattle stop too, with hundreds of heads of cattle being loaded onto wagons to shipping to auction in the cities.
The availability of cheap land and the expansion of the railroad encouraged settlement with ranchers moving in around 1885, bringing work and money to the area. It was cattle that kept the town going in those early years, becoming a significant cattle center for this part of Texas.
The stop began evolving with the opening of a Post Office in 1885 and was made into the county seat of Ector County in 1891. The town grew steadily with stores and houses being built as more commerce arrived. Eventually, the town became incorporated in 1927, about the same time oil was discovered.
Odessa sits on the Permian Basin. This is a huge rock formation approximately 250 miles by 300 miles and is rich in oil. It was formed during the Permian period, over 280 million years ago. The Permian Sea covered the area and as it dried, the rich plant and animal life layered the sediment on the ground which would eventually form oil.
Penn Field was opened in 1929 which was quickly followed by Cowden Field in 1930. Oil caused massive expansion of the town with the population going from 500 in 1926 to over 5,000 in 1930. That expansion accelerated further with expansions to the fields and Odessa was home to over 10,000 souls by 1945. Currently, around 100,000 people call Odessa home.
The modern city still counts oil and gas as its main economic driver but has diversified significantly to include healthcare, industry, manufacturing and supporting businesses. It now has a healthy economy and the expansion of shale exploration has ensured our continued prosperity for some time to come.
If you’re thinking of moving to Odessa, or working within the oil and gas industry here, contact Fox Corporate Housing. We can secure a fully furnished corporate apartment to use while you settle in.
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