Home of the world’s largest oak forest! This huge oak forest is located in the scenic Sandhills State Park. The Sandhills alone comprise 4,000 acres of sand dunes, while the “forest” occupies 40,000 acres. The dunes are part of a vast area known as the “Sahara of the Southwest”. The Dunagan Visitor Center located at the park, features hands-on exhibits, of the cultural and natural history of the Sandhills, including Dune Dynamics, Permian basin Heritage, and Wildlife Habitat. Ward County is also the home of the historic Pyote Rattlesnake Bomber Base, which on more than one occasion housed the famous Enola Gay during World War II. There is a Museum that exhibits the Rattlesnake Bomber Base and local heritage artifacts. On the southeastern outskirts of Monahans lies a true monument to the Texas Oil Boom era, The Million Barrel Museum. The exhibits at the museum reflect the turn of the century, in West Texas. Ward County is also the home of the Butterfield Stage Coach and Wagon Festival, and the Freedom Fest on July 4th.
Ward County is the home of two outstanding School Districts, Monahans-Wickett-Pyote ISD, and the Grandfalls-Royalty ISD.
Ward County covers 835 square miles of Trans-Pecos Desert Grass Land in West Texas. Monahans is the county seat, while other towns in the county include Grandfalls, Pyote, and Wickett. Minerals include oil, gas, sand, and gravel. Agriculture is comprised of beef cattle, horses, goats, cotton, and alfalfa. The population totals 13,115 people. The ethnic composition is 59% white, 37% Hispanic, 3% Black, and various other groups comprising the remaining 1%.
The Spanish explorers who came to investigate in the 1580’s, were the first to report the vast hills of sand. Later the area which is now Ward County, was inhabited by the Jumano Indians. The Jumano Indians as well as the Commanches were drawn to this area by the abundance of water and wild game. Railroads were established in the 1880’s, and Monahans was selected as a water stop between the Pecos River and the town of Big Spring. Oil was discovered in the 1920’s, and now Monahans is a marketing center for more than 800 square miles of oil and cattle country. The county, named after Republic leader Thomas W. Ward, was established in 1892.
Texas AgriLife Extension Service is an integral part of Ward County. Our mission is improving the lives of people, businesses, and communities across Texas and beyond through high-quality, relevant education. Extension education programs are devoted to agriculture, horticulture, community development, environmental stewardship, family and consumer science, and youth development. Through its faculty, Extension brings the resources of the Texas A&M University System to Ward county and provides unbiased, research-based information, educational programs, and technical assistance
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