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Odessa is located in the Permian Basin region of West Texas. A geological region formed during the Permian Period (approximately 280 million years ago), the Permian Basin is approximately 250 miles wide and 300 miles long. At one time this region was an ocean filled with marine life and plants. As the ocean dried up, the decaying plants and animals eventually helped form the gigantic pools of oil and gas that are still being taken from the basin.


Odessa’s history as a settlement can be traced to the 1881 extension of the Texas and Pacific Railway across the south plains. The availability of cheap land encouraged settlers to the area in the period from 1879 to 1885. The first ranchers arrived in 1885, but it was the railroad that made Odessa vital to the cattle industry. By the mid-1890s, Odessa was an established cattle-shipping center.


When oil was discovered in the area in 1926, people of varied interests and occupations migrated to the area and the local economy began to change from a ranching base into an industrial one. After the oil boom of 1927, it became obvious that the new oil fields would need equipment and support services. Since Odessa was the closest point to the fields by railroad, it soon became the service, work force, transportation, supply and manufacturing center of the Permian Basin. It remains so today and is considered one of the major oil field technology centers in the world. 


Located at the strategic crossroads of U.S. Interstate Highway 20, a main east/west route, and U.S. Highway 385, a main north/south route, Odessa is ideally situated to capitalize on the growing state and national economies, and is uniquely positioned to benefit as trade between Mexico, the United States and Canada continues to expand into the future.


Odessa offers a unique balance between the benefits of a small town – such as a moderate cost of living and a high quality of life, and the benefits of a large community – such as high-quality educational, cultural and health care facilities. It’s why Odessa is the Right Place in Texas for your future! (source: Odessa Chamber of Commerce)

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