The Texoma area around Wichita Falls has a rich history. Wichita Falls was settled by the Choctaw Native Americans in early in the 19th century. In the 1860s, settlers began to form cattle ranches and in 1872, the city was officially named Wichita Falls. Several famous trails ran thru the area. The old Spanish Fort Trail ran North and South from Fort Griffin to Fort Belknap and on up to the Spanish Fort (Present day Oklahoma). This trail was later renamed the Fort Belknap Trail. In Archer County, the Marcy Trail, the main trail to California, crossed the Fort Belknap trail. In the mid to late 1800’s, there were several Confederate forts and camps in the area. After the Civil War, the U.S. Army took over the Forts to protect the settlers from indian attacks. You can still see the remnants of the forts at Fort Bleknap and Fort Griffin State Historical Areas and at Fort Richardson State Park. The Goodnight-Loving Trail also came thru the area to the west of Wichita Falls. The trail was one of the main cattle hearding routes to the railroads in Kansas.
The town of Quanah sits approximately 80 Miles to the Northwest. This town is named after the most famous and last Comanche Indian Chief, Quanah Parker. In the Late 1800’s, shortly after the Fort Worth- Denver City Railroad was established, Daniel Waggoner and his son W.T. Waggoner settled the area just west of Wichita Falls. It was here the W.T. had the first Oil Well in Wichita Co, Clayco 1. At this site, the town of Electra, named after W.T. Waggoner’s daughter, was formed. W.T. Waggoner is best know for his Ranch, the Waggoner Ranch, which is 550,000 acres under one fence and sits in 6 different counties.
Classified as humid subtropical, the weather in Wichita Falls results in the highest summer temperatures in the country outside of the Desert Southwest. In the winter, low temperatures fall into the 30s with yearly precipitation totaling 29 inches on average.
Major employers in Wichita Falls include Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls Independent School District, North Texas State Hospital, The Clinics of North Texas and United Regional Health Care System. The greater Wichita Falls area is also home to around 185 manufacturing companies.
United Regional Health Care System, Hospice of Wichita Falls, Kell West Regional Hospital and Cook Children’s Hospital are among the healthcare facilities serving patients in Wichita County.
The Wichita ISD is routinely recognized for academic success by the Texas Education Agency and Magnet Schools of America Association. The district consists of 20 elementary schools, three junior high schools, three high schools and an early childhood center as well as accelerated learning and student adjustment centers. Private and parochial schools are also options for K-12 students. Midwestern State University is a four-year, independent, liberal arts school offering bachelor and master degrees on its Wichita Falls campus. A branch of Vernon College as well as Wayland Baptist University are also accessible from Wichita Falls.
Two major recreation attractions located near Wichita Falls are Lake Arrowhead State Park and Lake Kickapoo, both offering wonderful camping amenities, fishing, hiking, and nature trails. Lake Wichita Park, on the north shore of Lake Wichita, contains 234 acres, a 26+ mile hiking/biking trail, picnic shelters, athletic fields and more. Lucy Park includes a log cabin, duck pond, swimming pool, playground, Frisbee golf course and picnic areas. Castaway Cove Water Park, Kemp Center for the Arts, Wichita Falls Sports Complex, Wichita Falls Multi-Purpose Events Center and the Champions Course at Weeks Park are also popular recreational attractions. Also, the gorgeous Possum Kingdom Lake is within a hour drive of Wichita Falls.
Local events include the famous Hotter'N Hell Hundred cycling event, a downtown Cajun Festival, Art & Soul Festival, and SOSC Hangar Holiday. Wichita Falls is also the home of the North American Junior Hockey League Wichita Falls Wildcats and the American professional indoor arena football team Wichita Falls Nighthawks. Performing arts also offer cultural opportunities in Wichita Falls.