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Midland (Midland County)

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Midland was founded in 1881 halfway between Fort Worth and El Paso along the path of the Texas and Pacific Railway. Initially named Midway Station, the town’s name was changed to Midland in 1884 when a post office was established (the name Midway was already taken). The following year the Texas legislature formed Midland County out of land from Tom Green County and designated Midland as the county seat. By the end of the nineteenth century it was a major cattle-shipping center. In the mid-1920s when oil was discovered in neighboring counties, Midland became the oil-services and financial center of the oil-rich Permian Basin, a seventeen-county-wide geological formation of the Permian period. Oil was discovered in Midland County itself in 1945, with a boom that lasted until the early 1960s. The fracking boom of 2008 to 2014 produced new skyscraper office buildings that sometimes sat vacant because a sudden glut of resources caused the price of oil to collapse before the buildings could be completed. Former presidents George H. W. Bush (an oil company executive) and George W. Bush (see MT10) lived in Midland from 1950 to 1959.

Midland describes itself as the Tall City, with a skyline visible thirty miles away (when the dust is not blowing). In a relentlessly flat terrain, with intense summer heat, fierce winds, blowing dust, and no trees, Midland’s tall skyline attests to its wealth. Although the architecture of downtown Midland rarely involved nationally known architects, Midland’s office buildings were designed by prominent statewide architects and represent architectural trends dominant in Texan cities. Since the early 2000s numerous downtown Midland office buildings of the 1940s to 1960s have been demolished.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.

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