Sweetwater, Texas

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Sweetwater, Texas
Municipal building north of the Nolan County Courthouse.
Municipal building north of the Nolan County Courthouse.
Motto(s): "Life Is Sweet In Texas"
Location of Sweetwater, Texas
Location of Sweetwater, Texas
Nolan County Sweetwater.svg
Sweetwater, Texas is located in the US
Sweetwater, Texas
Sweetwater, Texas
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 32°28′5″N 100°24′26″W / 32.46806°N 100.40722°W / 32.46806; -100.40722Coordinates: 32°28′5″N 100°24′26″W / 32.46806°N 100.40722°W / 32.46806; -100.40722
Country United States
State Texas
County Nolan
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Mayor Jim McKenzie
 • City Manager David A Vela
 • Total 10.0 sq mi (26 km2)
 • Land 10.0 sq mi (26 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 2,169 ft (661 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 10,906
 • Density 1,100/sq mi (420/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 79556
Area code(s) 325
FIPS code 48-71540[1]
GNIS feature ID 1348139[2]
Website The City of Sweetwater Texas

Sweetwater is a municipality in and the seat of Nolan County, Texas, United States.[3] It is 236 miles southeast of Amarillo and 181 miles west of Fort Worth. The population was 10,906 at the 2010 census.


Sweetwater received a U.S. post office in 1879. The Texas and Pacific Railway started service in 1881, with the first train arriving on March 12 of that year, beginning Sweetwater's long history as a railroad town. To encourage the railroads, Sweetwater increased its water supply by building a small town lake in 1898, and three larger lakes thereafter. Construction began on the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway in 1903. Sweetwater became a railroad town, with businesses and homes built along the rail line. Rail passenger service was discontinued in 1969.[4]

Gulf Refinery operated there from 1929 to 1954, and at one time the town was a large telegraph center. The International Harvester Company operated a factory in Sweetwater from 1920 to 1950. Gypsum plants, apparel manufacturers, cement plants, cotton compresses, a cottonseed oil mill, and packing companies were among the nearly 250 businesses operating there from the 1970s. Many still operate today. Sweetwater remains a production hub for cotton, oil, and cattle. The population of Sweetwater has remained steady between 11,000 and 13,000 since 1940.[5]

At Sweetwater during World War II, one class of British RAF pilots was trained before the air field was converted for training American women pilots. The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) were trained under the direction of the famed aviator Jacqueline Cochran at Sweetwater's Avenger Field. These WASPs were the first women to fly American military aircraft. The military airstrip closed abruptly at the end of the war, but pilots flying over Sweetwater can still land at Avenger Field – the Sweetwater Airport (SWW). The National WASP WWII Museum is located at Avenger Field.[6] The WASP women were not recognized for having served in the armed forces until 1977, when U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona and Colonel Bruce Arnold, late son of General Hap Arnold, persisted in obtaining their official recognition as military veterans. In 1970, the field became the site of Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater.[7]

Sweetwater also has a Pioneer Museum, with display rooms depicting the lives of early settlers with extensive photograph files, farm and ranch exhibits, Indian artifacts, and WASP exhibits.[8]

Sweetwater has a hospital (founded 1976),[9] an 18-hole golf course (opened 1958),[10] a local newspaper (founded 1881),[11] a municipal auditorium (where Elvis Presley once performed), a historic renovated movie theater, and a large public swimming pool, as well as public fishing and recreational facilities at Lake Sweetwater.[12]

One of the earliest congregations that continues to exist in Sweetwater is First Baptist Church.[13]

Parts of the south side of Sweetwater were devastated by an estimated EF3 tornado that swept through town early in the morning of April 19, 1986.[citation needed]

Sweetwater is the center of the Western Hemisphere's leading wind power generation region. It is sometimes incorrectly called the "Wind Turbine Capital of Texas", as the largest wind farm in Texas is the Roscoe Wind Farm.[14] which does not regulate wind power.[citation needed] About 1,330 direct wind-related jobs were created in Nolan County alone (in 2009), with almost $18,000,000 in annual landowner royalties and over $12,000,000 in annual local school taxes (2007).[15]

The world's largest rattlesnake round-up has been held annually by the Sweetwater Jaycees on the second weekend in March since 1958,[16] along with a gun and coin show hosted by the Sweetwater Rifle and Pistol Club, which was founded in the 1940s.[17]

According to Tom Henderson, a member of the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors:

"If you're bored here, it's your own fault."[18]


Sweetwater is located at 32°28′5″N 100°24′26″W / 32.46806°N 100.40722°W / 32.46806; -100.40722 (32.468147, -100.407125).[19]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.0 square miles (26 km2), all of it land.[citation needed]

Sweetwater is the center of the Western Hemisphere's leading wind power generation region and West Texas has more than 4,000 MW of operational wind energy. Nolan County alone would currently rank as the eighth-largest "nation" in terms of wind energy generation - with more than 1,500 MW installed.[20]


Climate type occurs primarily on the periphery of the true deserts in low-latitude semiarid steppe regions. The Köppen climate classification subtype for this climate is BSk (tropical and subtropical steppe climate).[21]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201610,755[22]−1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[23]

As of the census[1] of 2000, 11,415 people, 4,545 households, and 3,017 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,139.4 people per square mile (439.9/km²). There were 5,202 housing units at an average density of 519.2 per square mile (200.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.29% White, 5.83% African American, 0.58% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 15.71% from other races, and 2.21% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 31.70% of the population.

In the city, the population was distributed as 28.1% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,293, and for a family was $29,953. Males had a median income of $27,722 versus $18,064 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,065. About 20.5% of families and 23.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.5% of those under age 18 and 22.0% of those age 65 or over.


Wind turbine near Sweetwater, Texas

The City of Sweetwater is served by the Sweetwater Independent School District, which includes J.P.Cowen Early Childhood Center, East Ridge Elementary, Southeast Elementary, Sweetwater Intermediate School, Sweetwater Middle School, and Sweetwater High School. For more information about Sweetwater ISD, visit the official SISD website.

Sweetwater is the home of the West Texas campus of the Texas State Technical College System, which added the first community college wind energy program in Texas in 2007.[24] Also in 2007, TSTC constructed a demonstration 2 MW 60 Hz DeWind D8.2 prototype wind turbine for student training.[25]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 2017 novel “Shadow Thirteen” by Aaron K Richardson, Sweetwater is the hometown of President Katie Jefferson.

In King of the Pecos, a 1936 film starring John Wayne, Muriel Evans, and Cy Kendall, Sweetwater is portrayed as a single homestead and said to be a necessary watering stop for the first cattle drive presumably up what would become the Pecos Trail towards Abilene, where a new railhead has been completed. Pecos to Abilene is about 250 miles, but said to be 1600 miles by characters in the movie, though they cross the distance with cattle in a short time.

"Sweetwater, Texas" is the last song on the 1976 Charlie Daniels Band album Saddle Tramp.

"Sweetwater, Texas" is the title of the sixth episode of the CBS Western television series Trackdown, starring Robert Culp as Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman. The episode aired on November 8, 1957. In the story line, Gilman finds an abandoned baby in a stagecoach which has been robbed, and all other passengers were killed. His clue is the photograph of a woman, presumably the mother of the child. Paul Richards and Ray Danton guest star.[26][27]

On the album All the Pain Money Can Buy by Fastball, "Sweetwater, Texas" is name of the last song.[28]

Sweetwater is the namesake for the town in the film 1968 Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West. The town was a location in an episode of the American television show Maverick . Willie Nelson's film, Red Headed Stranger, was made in Sweetwater.

In Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Oklahoma!, Jud Fry refers to an act of arson that takes place in Sweetwater.

In J. K. Rowling's book Quidditch Through the Ages, one of the United States Quidditch teams mentioned is the Sweetwater All-Stars, based in Texas.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ "Texas and Pacific Railway, Sweetwater, Texas Historical Marker". flickr.com. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  5. ^ R., HUNT, WILLIAM (15 June 2010). "SWEETWATER, TX". www.tshaonline.org. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  6. ^ http://waspmuseum.org/%7CNational[permanent dead link] WASP WWII Museum website.
  7. ^ Marina Nemir of Sweetwater, "WASP (Women's Airforce Pilots) and the Avenger Field in Sweetwater", West Texas Historical Association, annual meeting, West Texas A&M University at Canyon, April 5, 2008.
  8. ^ "City of Sweetwater, TX - Official Website - Pioneer Museum". Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "RPMH – Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital". www.rpmh.net. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  10. ^ "24/7 Tee Time Booking, Golf GPS & Scoring, Memberships and Social - GolfNow". GolfNow. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  11. ^ "The Sweetwater Reporter". www.sweetwaterreporter.com. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  12. ^ TheMineForger (19 November 2013). "Austin VS Clay: The Pussying". Retrieved 2 April 2018 – via YouTube. 
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  14. ^ "The Roscoe Wind Farm Project, Texas, USA - Power Technology". power-technology.com. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  15. ^ http://www.moakcasey.com/articles/viewarticledoc.aspx/Nolan%20County%20Case%20Study.pdf?AID=168&DID=288
  16. ^ The Sweetwater Jaycees' Annual Rattlesnake RoundUp - Home Page.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-06. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  18. ^ Henderson, Tom (2009). The Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce Home Page. Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved from http://www.sweetwatertexas.org
  19. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  20. ^ Composite Technology's DeWind Announces Texas Wind Turbine Demonstration Site.
  21. ^ "Sweetwater, Texas Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  22. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  24. ^ Block, Ben (2008-07-24). "In Windy West Texas, An Economic Boom". Archived from the original on 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  25. ^ "DeWind Plans Wind Turbine Demo Site in Sweetwater, Texas". BNET Business Network. 2007-09-06. Archived from the original on 2009-04-25. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  26. ^ "Trackdown". Classic TV Archives. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  27. ^ Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), p. 105
  28. ^ "OOMH". Fastball The Band. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  29. ^ "Biography - Sammy Baugh". Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Retrieved 22 Nov 2011. 
  30. ^ "Roberts, Jack - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  31. ^ "Doyle Brunson Official Website". Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  32. ^ istria camping quantitative analysis pula at reiresearch.com Archived 2007-04-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  33. ^ "Ernest Wallace, "West Texas Historical Association"". tshaonline.org. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  34. ^ Zollie Coffer Steakley.
  35. ^ "Biography - Tex Robertson". Texas Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 29 November 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  36. ^ "Online World of Wrestling". Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  37. ^ "Online World of Wrestling". Retrieved 2012-07-29. 

External links[edit]