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Odessa Business Signs
The city of Odessa is located in the western portion of Texas. Prior to existing under Spanish, Mexican, then United States control, this area was inhabited for several hundred years. People native to this area include the Jumano and Eastern Pueblos tribes. The city of Odessa, Texas itself, however, would not be founded until 1881. According to Historic Texas, the city was named after the city of Odessa, Ukraine (Odessos in Greek) due to “the local shortgrass prairie’s resemblance to Ukraine’s steppe landscape.” The city of Odessa, Texas served as a water stop and cattle-shipping point along the Texas and Pacific Railway. Following the discovery of oil nearby, Odessa, Texas was officially incorporated as a city in 1927.
Modern day Odessa, Texas has a total population of 159,436 people, according to a July 2015 estimate by the US Census Bureau. This makes it the 29th most populous city in the state of Texas. Odessa is part of the Midland-Odessa combined statistical area. According to that same 2015 estimate, the Midland-Odessa combined statistical area has a total population of 326,115 people. In 2014, Forbes Magazine named Odessa, Texas as the third fastest-growing small city in the United States.
Historically, Odessa, Texas was heavily involved in the oil industry. Recently, despite many of the city’s largest employers’ involvement in this industry, Odessa’s leaders have made moves in order to diversify the local economy. For example, the logistics industry has recently made strides in the area. This is most likely due to Odessa’s location along the major road and rail links crisscrossing West Texas. In fact, the city is a stop on the Entrada al Pacifico trade corridor. Odessa now serves as the home of several major retail distribution centers including one for Family Dollar and one for Coca-Cola.
The largest employer in the city of Odessa, Texas is far and away Ector County Independent School District. This school district is responsible for 3,413 jobs in the area, according to the city’s 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The next largest employer in Odessa is Medical Center Hospital, employing 1,899 people. Saulsbury Industries comes in at third with 1,628 employees while Halliburton is responsible for 1,200 local jobs.
One of the most interesting features of Odessa, Texas is The University of Texas of the Permian Basin. This state university was established in 1973. As of Spring 2016, there were 6,050 students enrolled, with a total of 140 people on the administrative staff payroll. What’s most interesting about this university, however, is its main attraction. The campus boasts the Stonehenge replica, which consists of 20 stone blocks arrayed similarly to the world famous ancient monument in the UK. Odessa’s Stonehenge replica is 14% shorter than its namesake, however. On a nearby community college campus, though, there is another replica of an entirely different UK monument. Odessa College is home to the Globe of the Great Southwest, which, of course, is a replica of William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Elsewhere in the city is the 700-seat capacity Ector Theatre, which opened in 1951.
Odessa, Texas is home to two professional sports teams. These include the West Texas Roughnecks of the Indoor Football League. The Roughnecks play their home games in Ector County Coliseum. They have one championship to their names. Junior A Ice Hockey’s Odessa Jackalopes also play their home matches in Ector County Coliseum.
Odessa, Texas isn’t known for its professional sports franchises, however. It is most well-known for high school football. In fact, H.G. Bissinger’s book, Friday Night Lights (which spawned a movie and a TV show) focuses on this intense aspect of Odessa’s culture. Odessa is home to Ratliff Stadium, the seventh biggest high school football stadium (by capacity) within the state of Texas.
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