Like many other cities along our Bankhead Highway journey, Odessa was built on ranching, railroads, and oil. Huge pools of oil lie beneath this area that was once the Permian Sea, and its extraction necessitated regular improvements to the road system to accommodate industry-related travel and large commercial vehicles. The Bankhead has taken several routes through Odessa over the years, but Second Street between Dixie Boulevard and Golder Avenue contains a large number of establishments that have remained relatively unaltered and well-maintained over the years. While you’re here, stop at the childhood home of former President George W. Bush, take a walking tour of downtown, or attend a play in a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Ten miles west of town, check out one of the largest meteor craters in the nation. At 550 feet in diameter, the Odessa Meteor Crater was created when an iron meteorite saw fit to deposit itself here some 63,500 years ago. Be happy you weren’t here for that star party!
Imperial 400 Motel, 221 W. 2nd St.
This Los Angeles motel chain came to Odessa in 1963 during the heydayof the automobile era in response to the rapidly growing number of tourists inneed of affordable lodging. The iconic wing design of the Imperial 400 Motelsbrought a little bit of Southern California to West Texas.