Wichita Falls (population 104,197) isn’t really en route to anywhere, but its history as a rough-and-tumble railroad and oil town make it a worthwhile place to visit if you’re willing to make the nearly two-hour drive from the Metroplex.
In 1882, the first railroad arrived in Wichita Falls and the discovery of oil 20 years later established the town as a petroleum headquarters for this region of North Texas. The rugged nature of the agricultural and industrial base brought with it some unsavory characters, and their Wild West exploits in Wichita Fall's growing number of saloons earned the town the nickname “Whiskeytaw Falls.”
This legacy lives on in the form of “red draws,” a dubious concoction consisting of beer and tomato juice, still available at many local watering holes. Oil and agriculture remain important elements of Wichita Falls’s economy, as does Sheppard Air Force base, which hosts the only NATO pilot training program in the world.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition