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Midland, Texas

HistoryEdit A sandstorm passes over Midland on February 20, 1894, at 6:00 p.m. Windmills and houses are visible just below the whirling sand. Bank of America Building is Midland's tallest building. Midland was originally established in June 1881 as Midway Station, on the Texas and Pacific Railway. It earned its name because of its central location between Fort Worth and El Paso, but because there were already other towns in Texas by the name of Midway, the city changed its name to Midland in January 1884 when it was granted its first Post Office. Midland became the county seat of Midland county in March 1885 when that county was first organized and separated from Tom Green County. By 1890 it had become one of the most important cattle shipping centers in the state. The city was first incorporated in 1906, and by 1910 the city established its first fire department along with a new water system.[7] Midland was forever changed by the discovery of oilin the Permian Basin in 1923 when the Santa Rita No. 1 well began producing in Reagan County, followed shortly by the Yates Oil Field in Iraan, Texas. Soon, Midland was transformed into the administrative center of the West Texas oil fields. During the second world war Midland was the largest bombardier training base in the country. A second boom period began after the Second World War, with the discovery and development of the Spraberry Trend, still ranked as the third-largest oil field in the United States by total reserves.[8] Yet another boom period occurred during the 1970s, with the high oil prices associated with the oil and energy crises of that decade. Today, the Permian Basin produces one fifth of the nation's total petroleum and natural gas output. Midland's economy still relies heavily on petroleum; however, the city has also diversified to become a regional telecommunications and distribution center. By August 2006, a busy period of crude oil production had caused a significant workforce deficit. According to the Midland Chamber of Commerce, at that time there were almost 2,000 more jobs available in the Permian Basin than there were workers to fill them. John Howard Griffin wrote a history of Midland in 1959, Land of the High Sky. Avery v. Midland CountyEdit In 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case ofAvery v. Midland County. Midland mayor Hank Avery had sued Midland County challenging the electoral-districting scheme in effect for elections to the County Commissioner's Court. The county districts geographically quartered the county, but the city of Midland, in the northwestern quarter, accounted for 97% of the county's population. A judge, elected on an at-large basis, provided a fifth vote, but the result was that the three rural commissioners, representing only three percent of the county's population, held a majority of the votes. The majority of the U.S. Supreme Court held that the districting inequality violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection clause. The dissenting minority held that this example of theWarren Court's policy of incorporation at the local-government level exceeded the Court's constitutionalauthority.

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