Spanish explorers crossed area of present Ward County more than
400 years ago, but it remained undisturbed habitat of Indians
until mid-1800s. City established about 1881 as stop on Texas
and Pacific Railroad, building west from Fort Worth. County seat,
today a financial and marketing center for more than 800 square
miles of cattle and oil country.
Oil wells, drilled at a distance from the downtown area, are slanted
to draw oil from beneath city hall, courthouse, banks and business
- MILLION BARREL MUSEUM-Built in 1928 as oil-storage
facility, huge tank was abandoned due to leakage. Converted in
1987 to museum featuring relocated and restored Holman House that
served as hotel at terminus of Monahans-Fort Stockton Stage Line
early in 20th Century. Period furnishings. Also on site is first
Ward County jail, display of antique oil field equipment and amphitheater.
Open daily. On U.S. 80, 1.5 mi. east of city.
- MONAHANS SANDHILLS STATE PARK-4,000 acres of wind-sculptured
sand dunes like classical landscape of the Sahara. Park has modern
museum and interpretive center, picnicking, camping and sand surfing.
Huge sandhills area, only part of which is in park, was formidable
obstacle to pioneer travelers and wagon trains. Indians knew
it better and frequently camped here because pure, fresh water
could be found between certain dunes by scooping a trench in sand.
Not apparent to eye is one of largest oak forests in nation,
stretching over 40,000 acres of arid land. the "forest"
is not apparent because mature trees (Harvard oaks) are seldom
over three feet high, yet they send down roots as far as 90 feet
to maintain miniature surface growth. The unusual park is on
I-20/U.S. 80 five miles east. Admission.
- PYOTE MUSEUM AND RATTLESNAKE BOMBER BASE-Old base,
south of I-20, was home of the 19th (B-17) Bomb Group during World
War II. Museum displays area history, momentos of base. Open
Sat. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Sun. 2 - 6 p.m. Museum is in county park
that also offers picnicking, swimming pool, three-hole golf course,
tennis and overnight camping. On I-20, 15 miles west of Monahans.
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