"Life Is Sweet In Texas"
|• Mayor||Jim McKenzie|
|• City Manager||David Adrian Vela|
|• Total||11.07 sq mi (28.68 km2)|
|• Land||11.07 sq mi (28.68 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
|Elevation||2,169 ft (661 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||945.37/sq mi (365.01/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
Sweetwater is a municipality in and the seat of Nolan County, Texas, United States. It is 123 miles southeast of Lubbock and 40 miles west of Abilene, Texas. Its 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 called City Lake in 1898 (now called Newman Park), then three larger lakes were constructed thereafter. Construction began on the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway in 1903. By 1912 the Santa Fe Railway was serving Sweetwater via its new Coleman Cutoff and completing a connection with the T&P nearby at "Tecific" junction. Businesses and homes were built along the rail lines. Texas and Pacific Railway passenger service was discontinued in 1969.
Gulf Refinery operated from 1929 to 1954, and at one time the town was a large telegraph center. The International Harvester Company operated a factory on W. Third Street 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 such commodities as cotton, oil, and cattle. The population of Sweetwater has remained steady between 11,000 and 13,000 since 1940.
At Sweetwater during World War II, one class of British RAF pilots was trained before the airfield was converted for training American women pilots. The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) were trained under the direction of famed aviator Jacqueline Cochran at Sweetwater's Avenger Field. These WASPs were the first women to fly American military aircraft. The military airstrip was closed at the end of the war.
Pilots flying over Sweetwater can still land at Avenger Field – the Sweetwater Airport (SWW). The National WASP WWII Museum is located at Avenger Field. The WASP women were not recognized for having served in the armed forces until 1977, after U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona and Colonel Bruce Arnold, late son of General Hap Arnold, gained their official recognition as military veterans. In 1970, the field was developed for Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater.
Sweetwater also has a Pioneer Museum, with display rooms depicting the lives of early settlers. It has extensive photograph files, farm and ranch exhibits, Indian artifacts, and WASP exhibits.
The local newspaper, Sweetwater Reporter, was founded in 1911. The newspaper, first established in 1881, was called the Sweetwater Advance. It was later published as the Nolan County Review, and became the Daily Reporter in 1911. An historic, early 20th-century, stage theater has been renovated and is in full use. The Municipal Auditorium, where Elvis Presley performed twice in 1955, continues to feature live acts. Sweetwater's Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital was founded in 1976.
First Baptist Church had one of the earliest congregations in Sweetwater, and it continues to thrive.
Sweetwater is the center of the leading wind power generation region of the Western Hemisphere. It is sometimes called the "Wind Turbine Capital of Texas". The largest wind farm in Texas is Roscoe Wind Farm. In 2009 about 1,330 direct wind-related jobs were created in Nolan County alone, where the industry generated almost $18,000,000 in annual landowner royalties and over $12,000,000 in annual local school taxes (2007).
Special events include the world's largest rattlesnake round-up, held annually since 1958 by the Sweetwater Jaycees on the second weekend in March. It is held along with a gun and coin show hosted by the Sweetwater Rifle and Pistol Club, which was founded in the 1940s.
Sweetwater is located at (32.468147, –100.407125).
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.
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).
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Black or African American (NH)||592||5.57%|
|Native American or Alaska Native (NH)||24||0.23%|
|Pacific Islander (NH)||2||0.02%|
|Some other race (NH)||22||0.21%|
|Hispanic or Latino||4,411||41.53%|
As of the 2020 United States census, 10,622 people, 3,752 households, and 2,464 families were residing in the city.
As of the census of 2000, 11,415 people, 4,545 households, and 3,017 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,139.4 people/sq mi (439.9/km2). The 5,202 housing units averaged 319.2/sq mi (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 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.
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. Also in 2007, TSTC constructed a demonstration 2 MW 60 Hz DeWind D8.2 prototype wind turbine for student training.
In popular culture
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. It is described as a necessary watering stop for the first cattle drive, presumably up what would become the Pecos Trail toward Abilene, where a new railhead has been completed.
"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 storyline, Gilman finds an abandoned baby in a stagecoach that 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 starred.
Sweetwater is the namesake for the town in the 1968 Sergio Leone spaghetti Western film 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.
At the beginning of Kathryn Bigelow's 1987 movie Near Dark, when Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) first meets Mae (Jenny Wright) and asks where she's from, she replies "Have you ever heard of Sweetwater"? To which he replies, "Yeah, It's in Texas, close to Snyder."
Sweetwater appeared in the show Expedition Unknown – "America's Lost WWII Hero" episode eight, season six, with host Josh Gates on the Discovery Channel.
Sweetwater is the name of a stage show musical performed 17 July 2017 at Feinstein's/54 Below dinner theater in New York City, derived from WASP training near Sweetwater in World War II.
- James White is a renowned high-school cross-country coach at McFarland High School. His story told in the movie McFarland, USA.
- Barry Windham is a retired professional wrestler.
- Joe Banyard, former NFL player for the Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, and Buffalo Bills
- Sammy Baugh, Hall of Fame NFL and TCU football player, was born in Temple. He went to school at Newman High School and played for the Sweetwater Mustang football team.
- Doyle Brunson, the poker legend called "Texas Dolly"
- Frank Hamer, a Texas Ranger who, along with his brother Gus, had a pistol fight on October 1, 1917, in Sweetwater with Gee McMeans, in which the former Ranger and sheriff of Ector County, Texas, was killed.
- John Layfield, retired professional wrestler, is best known for wrestling as "Bradshaw" or "JBL" with the WWE. Layfield was a guest panelist on Fox News Channel's The Cost of Freedom, and is also employed by Northeast Securities as its senior vice president.
- Blackjack Mulligan, a retired professional wrestler, was best known for his work in the American Wrestling Association and the National Wrestling Alliance.
- Jack Roberts (1910-1988) was a United States federal judge of U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
- Tex Robertson, University of Texas swimming coach, was born in Sweetwater.
- Zollie Coffer Steakley, Jr., Texas Secretary of State and Texas Supreme Court, practiced law in Sweetwater during the 1930s.
- Clyde "Bulldog" Turner, a graduate of Sweetwater High School, is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- Bobby Witcher, an amateur herpetologist best known for his charismatic personality and carefree handling of venomous snakes, was born in Sweetwater in 1916.
- Newman Field, ballpark
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