Sites and landmarks

Excerpts from Wikipedia -

Big Lake is a small rural city in Reagan County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the city population was 2,936. It is the county seat of Reagan County.

The city takes its name from a dry lake, a unique dryland plains geographic feature situated atop the divide between the Rio Grande and Colorado River watersheds, located less than two miles south of the city, through which St Hwy 137 passes. The dry lake, with no outlet, is over two sections in size, making it the largest in Texas; it holds water temporarily and only after high-runoff rain events, being used for grazing the remainder of the time. Though seasonal and temporal, the "Big Playa Lake", in wet periods, is significant in a semiarid, drought-frequented environment and has been utilized regularly as a food and water resource by man and animal, alike, since prehistoric times.

Started as a small ranching community in the late 1880s, Big Lake owes its original existence to the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway, which passed through the area in 1912, as it was extended from Sherwood, west of San Angelo, to Girvin and beyond the Pecos River. The growth from the railroad, coupled with that from the Santa Rita discovery well in 1923, allowed it, in 1925, to take over the position of county seat from Stiles, a pioneer ranching community established in 1894 on Centralia Draw, about 20 miles to the north. The main highway through the area, US 67, was extended through the region in 1934, on the way to a termination in Presidio. The city's current existence is based on agriculture (some farming, but mostly ranching) and oil and gas service and production throughout the area.

Big Lake experiences a hot semiarid climate, typical of West Texas and parts of Central Texas. Summers are long and hot, and winters are short and relatively mild. In the summer, low humidity helps temper the heat. Due to Big Lake's aridity and elevation, temperatures drop quickly after sunset, especially in the summer. Some precipitation falls in summer, mostly as fast-moving thunderstorms. Winters are dry. Winter temperatures occasionally drop below freezing at night, but sustained, bitter cold is uncommon. Snowfall is rare, seldom exceeds a few inches, and usually melts quickly.

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City hall

Reagan County Courthouse

U.S. Post Office

A replica of the Santa Rita #1 proudly stands near the entrance of the North Reagan County Park

Santa Rita Monument

Replica of the well that became known as the "Birthplace of the Permian Basin"

Santa Rita No. 1 - History

From 1917 - 1919 more than 5000 oil and gas exploration permits were issued by the General Land Office for University Lands.

No exploration was attempted until 1921.

On August 23, 1921 (just four hours prior to the expiration of the applicable permit) the historic Santa Rita No. 1 was spudded in Section 2, Block 2, University Lands, Reagan County.

Drilling continued for almost two years at the drill site, which was isolated by a shortage of adequate roads and limited transportation facilities.  It has been said that the only sounds came from the rig, roadrunners, and rattlesnakes.

Finally the historic day arrived on May 28, 1923, when a rattlesnake noise began at the well bore and changed to the sound of a wild prairie wind.  Santa Rita came in with oil blowing over the top of the derrick and spraying the countryside. The first well drilled on University Lands, Santa Rita No. 1, was officially transformed into a bona fide oil well.

The first oil royalty payment to the Permanent University Fund was made on August 24, 1923 in the amount of $516.53. 

Learn more about the Santa Rita #1

Reagan Hospital District

Reagan County Elementary School

Reagan County Middle School

Reagan County High School

Hickman Museum

Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

Josh Mitchell Park

North Reagan Co. Park

Superior Water Supply

Big Lake EDC

Public Swimming Pool - North Reagan County Park

Santa Rita #1 (replica)