5 Things Newcomers Don’t Know About Midland/Odessa
If you are new to the area, there are some things you might not know about Midland/Odessa, here are 5 of them that I can think of off the top of my head.
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- Midland is named because it is halfway between El Paso and Ft. Worth - The original name of Midland was Midway when it became a stop on the Texas Pacific Railroad but when it was revealed that there was already a Midway, TX, the name was changed to Midland.
- Odessa was named by the founding promoters who were from Odessa, Russia - The original Odessa is now in Ukraine but back in the 1890s when the town was getting started, it was in Russia, and the founding promoters said the flat prairies resembled the wheat country back home. The only difference is Odessa, Ukraine is a port city on an ocean and we are 400 miles from anything that resembles an ocean.
- Midland International Air and Space Port used to be a military airfield - If you are wondering why your airline ticket to and from Midland says MAF, that stands for Midland Air Field which is the FAA location identifier dating back to its military base days. Beginning in 1942 it was known as Midland Army Airfield and became an Army Air Forces Bombardier training base for World War II. The airfield was returned to the City of Midland after the war in 1947. It was originally known as Sloan Field when it began in 1927 by Samuel Addison Sloan and was sold for the first time to the City of Midland in 1939.
- The movie "Friday Night Lights" did most of the stadium scenes at Ratliff Stadium - That was really a lot of fun having film crews in the area for about six months. I was working at Big 2 at the time and the film crew put realistic-looking dummies in the stands at the stadium to where it looked like there were people in the stands. That caused many calls to come in from concerned residents near the stadium that they were keeping people out at the stadium all night long. I also got to meet Billy Bob Thornton while we were at the stadium doing a story for the station during filming.
- Midland used to have a zoo when I was a kid - Yes, Midland had a zoo in the 1950s to the 70s, I can only remember going to it a few times back when I was little. I do remember there were monkeys, zebras, and tigers but don't remember too much else about it. It was like one day it was there and the next it was gone which was weird to me but it may have been closed for many years before I found out about it. It was located next to what used to be Cole Park which is now the practice firing range for the Midland Police Department.
So there are some things newcomers might not realize about Midland/Odessa but now you do.
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