Odessa, Texas

Odessa, Texas

View of the Odessa Presidential Museum.
Photograph Credit: Robert Plocheck.

Odessa, the largest town and county seat of Ector County, is the chief shipping point for the surrounding livestock area as well as a center for the oil and gas industry. Located at 31°51' north latitude and 102°22' west longitude in the heart of the vast oil-rich area known as the Permian Basin, it is 321 miles west of Fort Worth and 280 miles east of El Paso on the Texas and Pacific Railway. U.S. highways 80 and 385 and Interstate Highway 20 are the major transportation links. The warm dry climate and 300 days of sunshine per year make it a haven for retirees from the colder climates. Situated at the hub of West Texas, Odessa traces its founding to the extension of the Texas and Pacific Railway across the South Plains in July 1881, and to a real estate promotion by the Odessa Land and Townsite Company. A local legend associates the town name with a Native American princess who wandered into the railroad camp of the Texas and Pacific Railroad. Used as a water stop by the railroad, Odessa was more likely named by the railroad workers who thought the region resembled their home in Odessa, Ukraine. In 1885 C. W. Rathburn became the first postmaster of the newly established post office. The actual platting of Odessa took place in 1886; 300 acres of the original townsite are now at the center of the city's downtown. Odessa became the county seat when Ector County was formally organized in January 1891. In 1927 it incorporated as a city and elected its first mayor, S. R. McKinney.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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Odessa is classified as a Town


  • Latitude

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Odessa by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
114,428 2020 United States Census Bureau
125,720 2019 Texas Demographic Center
99,940 2010 United States Census Bureau
90,943 2000 United States Census Bureau
89,699 1990 United States Census Bureau
90,027 1980 United States Census Bureau
78,380 1970 United States Census Bureau
80,338 1960 United States Census Bureau
29,495 1950 United States Census Bureau
9,573 1940 United States Census Bureau
2,407 1930 United States Census Bureau