Texas Day by Day
On this day in Texas history…
First oil well in Ector County signals development of Odessa
December 28th, 1926
On this day in 1926, the first producing oil well in Ector County was brought in on the W. E. Connell ranch, southwest of the county seat of Odessa. Its limited production of twenty barrels a day did not bring about an immediate boom, but with the opening of Penn Field in 1929 and Cowden Field in 1930, Odessa became an established oil center and grew rapidly. In 1925, just prior to the discovery of oil, the town's population was 750; by 1929 it had risen to 5,000. As the demand for oil grew during World War II the population exceeded 10,000, and Odessa became the world's largest inland petrochemical complex. By 2016 the city's population had grown to approximately 120,000.