Sweetwater grew up as a railroad town. The Texas and Pacific Railway reached the area in 1881, and the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient railway laid tracks in 1903. The Bankhead ran through Sweetwater’s downtown commercial district, and auto‐related businesses, such as the Midway Drive‐in Theater, located west of town, began to appear. The Bankhead’s role in furthering America’s military preparedness after WWI is reflected in the many west Texas military training facilities located along the highway. Sweetwater is best known as the training site for the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. Based at Avenger Field, these women were classified as civil servants rather than military, but flew every kind of overeas duty during wartime. Today, the National WASP WWII Museum at Avenger Field tells the story of these female aviation pioneers. In town, the Pioneer Museum exhibits Nolan County history in a grand classical Revival-style home.
Midway Drive-In, IH-20 Business, west of town
The Midway Drive-In Theater opened in 1948 and was one of three drive-ins providing movie entertainment in Sweetwater. Movies under a starlit Texas sky made the drive-in a perfect night out for families, friends, and sweethearts.