The discovery of oil in 1901 near Beaumont, Texas, sparked an oil boom that transformed the state's economy and led to the rise of the modern petroleum industry.
Wichita County, Texas, located in the northwest part of the state, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The Wichita and Comanche Native American tribes were the first inhabitants of the area, with evidence of their settlements and hunting grounds dating back to at least the 16th century. Spanish explorers, including Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, also passed through the region in the 16th century.

The area that would become Wichita County was officially settled by European Americans in the mid-19th century. In 1856, the Texas legislature created Wichita County, naming it after the Wichita tribe. The construction of the Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad through the county in the late 19th century brought growth and development to the area, attracting settlers.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Wichita County experienced the boom and bust cycles common in many Texas counties. Agriculture, particularly cattle ranching and cotton farming, were the primary industries, but oil was discovered in the region in the early 20th century, leading to a significant economic boost. The county became an important oil-producing region, with oil wells and refineries becoming a common sight.

In the present day, Wichita County continues to be a vital part of Texas. It is home to the city of Wichita Falls, the county seat and largest city, which serves as a regional hub for commerce, education, and healthcare. The county's economy has diversified, with sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, education, and military operations playing a significant role. Wichita County's rich history and natural beauty, including attractions like the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, make it a fascinating place to explore and learn about.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Wichita County, Texas.

  • 1872 - Wichita County is officially established on February 1.
  • 1882 - The town of Wichita Falls is incorporated on September 27.
  • 1905 - Wichita County experiences a significant population boom due to the discovery of oil.
  • 1922 - The first hospital in Wichita County, Wichita General Hospital, is established.
  • 1927 - Sheppard Air Force Base is built near Wichita Falls.
  • 1957 - The Wichita Valley Airport opens, later renamed Wichita Falls Municipal Airport.
  • 1964 - A destructive tornado hits Wichita Falls, causing significant damage and loss of life.
  • 1995 - Wichita County voters approve the sale of alcohol, ending the county's prohibition era.
  • 2007 - Lake Arrowhead State Park, a popular recreational area, opens in Wichita County.
  • 2019 - The Wichita County Courthouse celebrates its 100th anniversary.
  • 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic impacts Wichita County, leading to various restrictions and measures.