The Odessa Land and Townsite Company was founded in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1886 to sell land along the Texas and Pacific Railway and to develop the town of Odessa by selling land and lots from the railroad sections it owned in township two, south, block forty-two, T&P Railway Company survey. Advertising depicted the area as having a healthful climate and fertile, inexpensive land that could easily be irrigated with underground water. Promises were made that Odessa would be a model town: no liquor would be allowed to be sold within its precincts, and an endowment of $12,000 was offered to any denomination that would build a college in the city. The area was described to be outside the range of dengue fever, hostile Indians, and Mexican raids and already in possession of a post office, Pacific Express office, telegraph office, and daily trains between St. Louis and San Francisco. Excursion trains to the area ran twice monthly from 1886 to 1888. Free sleepers were provided on the initial run, and later trips were made at the reduced rate of thirty-five dollars for a round trip from any northern city, with stop-over privileges at all intermediate points in Texas; travelers, however, had to bring blankets and food from home. Although these excursions brought many settlers to the area, a two-year drought caused the project to be abandoned in 1889, when the Odessa Land and Townsite Company ceased operations after going bankrupt.