City of Sweetwater

City Of Sweetwater

  • <p>Welcome sign, 1939 (Library of Congress)</p> <p>Billboard saying Welcome to Sweetwater, Distributing Center of West Texas</p>
  • <p>Sweetwater family, 1918. (Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Texas)</p> <p>People in car with soft top and no windows, trunk strapped to side rail</p>
  • <p>Narrow shoulders and deep ditches. (TxDOT)</p> <p>an standing in a roadside ditch</p>
  • <p>Traffic congestion on old Hwy. 80, ca. 1940. (TxDOT)</p> <p>Cars and trucks parked on side of road with sign saying No Parking</p>
  • <p>Bankhead in Sweetwater (Boston Public Library)</p> <p>Colorized postcard of city street labeled Broadway of America, Sweetwater, Texas</p>
  • <p>Avenger Field, ca. 1940s (The National WASP WWII Museum)</p> <p>Women in uniform marching in front of a building that says Avenger Field</p>


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.

  • <p>Abandoned Drive In movie screen and sign</p>

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.

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Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce

810E. Broadway St.