Famous Odessans

Past and Present


President George W. Bush

President George Bush

The Gatlin Brothers

(Larry, Rudy and Steve)
Country and western singers

Larry King

Author, journalist, screen writer

Ty Murray

World Champion Cowboy

Roy Williams

Professional football player

Tatum Hubbard

Miss Texas 1998

Dr. Ray Perryman

International Economist
2012 Texan of the Year

Toby Stevenson

2004 Silver Medal Olympic Winner
Pole Vaulting

Hayden Fry

Head football coach at University of Iowa, SMU and North Texas State University

Jack Eric Williams

Composer and Lyricist

Larry Henley

Actor, singer and songwriter

Larry Johnson

Professional basketball player

Chuck Greenwood

Thunderbird pilot

Britt Hager

Professional football player

Stoney Case

Professional football player

Daryl Hunt

Professional football player

Jim Bullock


Raymond Benson


Daniel Ray Herrera

Professional baseball pitcher

Virgil Johnson

Founder of The Velvets

Gene Mayfield

College and high school football coach

Bill Noël

Oil industrialist and philanthropist

Ellen Witwer Noël

Ellen Noël Art Museum is named in her honor.

J. L. "Dusty" Rhoades

One of the founders of the American Quarter Horse Association

Bill Myrick

Country music singer

Kelly Schmedes

Professional soccer player

John Ben Shepperd

Texas attorney general

Kim Smith

Model and actress

Stephnie Weir

Actress and comedian

Alfred Mac Wilson

United States Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient

Marvin Rex Young

U.S. Army Medal of Honor recipient

Robert Rummel-Hudson


Bradley Marquez

Professional Football Player

Marcus Cannon

Professional Football Player










West Texas

Time Zone


Area Code


Zip Codes



Mild and Semi-Arid



Interstate 20
Interstate 20 Business
(aka Highway 80)
U.S. 385
Texas Highway 191


Fun Facts: 


  • Odessa is the 30th largest city in Texas
  • Odessa is approximately 2,851 feet above sea level.
  • Summer Average Temps range 60's to upper 90's
  • Winter Average Temps range low 30's to upper 50's
  • Many Odessa residents have gone on to become famous. See the complete list to your right.TEXAS SMALL MAP
  • Odessa’s main industry is oil production.
  • Odessa is home to three higher education institutions.
  • Odessa is home to two high schools.
  • The book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by author H. G. Bissinger and subsequent movie (Friday Night Lights) are based on the 1988 football season of the Permian Panthers, one of the two high school football teams in Odessa. Many of the characters mentioned in the book still reside in Odessa (as of January 2007).
  • A TV show, also by the name Friday Night Lights, aired from 2006 to 2011. It is loosely based on the book and movie but takes place in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas.
  • A reality series on the TV Guide Channel followed the reporters of the local CBS affiliate, KOSA-TV. The show was titled Making News: Texas Style.
  • A portion of the Tommy Lee Jones film The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada was filmed in Odessa.
  • The truTV reality show Black Gold is based on three oil wells outside of Odessa, as well as some locations in Odessa, such as the local Hooters restaurant.
  • Odessa is used as the hometown setting for Claire Bennett and her family in Season 1 of the NBC show Heroes. The show Heroes is responsible for giving Odessa another famous catch phrase, "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World".
  • Odessa is home to the second largest meteor crater in the nation.
  • Odessa is home to the World's Largest Jackrabbit.
  • Odessa is the home of the World Famous Odessa Chuck Wagon Gang.


Odessa History

Odessa , Texas was established in 1881 as a stop on the Texas and Pacific Railroads. It has been said that Odessa’s name originated from an area that resembled our region around the Russian city in Ukraine named Odessa . The unsurpassed beauty of the West Texas sunsets and a climate that is warm and inviting make this uncommon city a true paradise. Odessa is also well known for its hospitality, and people with deep appreciation of colorful past and enthusiasm for a future rich with possibilities. Odessa is a city where cowboys, culture, oil and everything in between bring visitors a flavor so delicious it can only be described as “A City of Contrasts.”

Map of Texas

Odessa is located in Ector County

Approximately midway between Ft. worth and El Paso , covering an area of 35.04 square miles. This area is called the Permian Basin. The Permian Basin is approximately 250 mile wide and 300 miles long. The basin was formed during the Permian Period, the final portion of the Paleozoic Era approximately 280 million years ago. A shallow sea, known as the Permian Sea , which was densely populated with life, once covered the Permian Basin . 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. Three of the state’s major land resources meet here- the High Plains, Trans Pecos and Edward’s Plateau.

Odessa train depot 1919

Located in a region where the Comanche Indians

Once roamed, Odessa ’s history as a settlement can be traced to the 1881 extension of the Texas and Pacific Railway across the south plains and the need to provide water for the steam engines. The availability of cheap land encouraged settlers to the area 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 1890’s Odessa was an established cattle shipping center.

Sunset When oil was discovered in 1926

The destiny of the community took a different course. This discovery brought people of varied interests and occupations to the area, and the local economy began to change from a ranching base into an industrial one.

Today, Odessa is alive and thriving, although oil and gas still remain our largest industry the city has begun to diversify. Odessa is quickly being recognized as a major health industry hub with three hospitals, a cancer center and several medical specialists in the area.