The City of Odessa was founded in 1881. It’s the county seat, and the largest city in Ector County. The city was named after the Ukraine city of Odessa. Odessa is home to almost 100,000 people. The town started out as a small ranching and farming community until oil was found in 1926 on the W. E. Connell Ranch, just 16 miles southwest. It wasn’t an immediate boom until the opening of Penn Field in 1929. Like Midland, Odessa became an established oil center and grew rapidly. Odessa is also the chief shipping point for the surrounding livestock businesses.
Odessa’s Presidential Museum and Leadership Library is truly one of a kind. It is the only facility of its kind that is dedicated to the entire office of the Presidency, and not just a single president. The concept of the organization began immediately after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The museum opened its doors in 1964, and is now located on the UTPB (University of Texas of the Permian Basin) campus. State Representative George “Buddy” West, a long time resident of Odessa, pushed fellow legislators to fund the 14,000 square-foot establishment. Exhibits cover the Presidents and their wives, Vice Presidents, and the Presidents of the Republic of Texas.
The Globe of the Great Southwest is also located in Odessa. The Globe is an authentic replica of William’s Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre that once stood in London. The 418 seat theatre opened its doors in 1968. The unique octagonal shape along with the construction materials gives the theatre nearly perfect acoustics. The complex also houses a replica of Anne Hathaway’s cottage. The theatre is a non-profit organization, presenting plays on an Elizabethan stage. It holds community theatre performances, monthly country-western shows called The Brand New Opree, and an annual Shakespeare festival.
Odessa is home to the Ector County Coliseum. This 5,131 seat multi-purpose arena hosts a variety of different events. It is the home of the Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo, where over 900 PRCA cowboys and cowgirls start their yearly competition. The Coliseum hosts the homes games of the Odessa Jackalopes ice hockey team. The Jackalopes team is a member of the Central Hockey League and is an affiliate of the New York Islanders. The Odessa Roughnecks also call the Coliseum home. The Roughneck’s are an indoor football team and are part of the Intense Football League.
Like many other Texas towns, High school football is a hit in Odessa. Ratliff Stadium is one of the largest and finest high school stadiums in Texas. It has been nicknamed the "Epicenter of Texas High School Football". The stadium seats 19,500 at capacity and plays home field to Odessa High and Permian High school. It’s used for football, soccer, track, and marching contests. The stadium was featured in the hit movie Friday Night Lights, which follows the story of the 1988 Permian High Panthers Football team.
Ector County Independent School District has two public high schools Permian High School and Odessa High School. Odessa High School was established in 1908 and is one of the oldest high schools in west Texas. It is home of the Broncos and it’s colors are red and white. Odessa High’s biggest rival is Permian High School. Permian High opened in 1959. It is the home of the Permian Panthers and the school colors are black and white.
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is the only 4 year university in the Permian Basin. UTPB opened its doors in 1973. In the beginning it only offered junior, senior, and graduate level programs but in 1991 started to accept freshman and sophomores. Since then, the campus has upgraded and grown tremendously. In the recent years UTPB has added a library, lecture hall, visual arts studio, and on campus housing. This year the university broke ground for a new Science and Technology complex. The new 70,000-square-foot building will contain 41 labs, 56 offices, 6 classrooms, and 3 sunken lecture halls. UTPB expects the complex to be completed by 2010.
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Last Modified on September 12, 2013