Nolan County, Texas

Nolan County is a county located in the west central region of the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 15,216.[1] Its county seat is Sweetwater.[2] The county was created in 1876 and organized in 1881.[3] It is named for Philip Nolan, one of the first American traders to visit Texas.

Nolan County comprises the Sweetwater, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Susan King has been since 2007 the Republican state representative from Nolan as well as Jones and Taylor Counties.[4]

From 1921 to 1925, the Democrat Richard M. Chitwood of Sweetwater represented Nolan County in the state House. As chairman of the House Education Committee, he worked in 1923 to establish what became Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He had first tried to obtain the institution for Sweetwater as the central location of West Texas. After the institution was established, he resigned from the House to move to Lubbock to become the first Texas Tech business manager. He served in that capacity for just 15 months; he died in Dallas in November 1926.[5]

Nolan County, Texas
Nolan County Texas Courthouse 2015
Nolan County Courthouse
Map of Texas highlighting Nolan County

Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas

Texas's location within the U.S.
Named forPhilip Nolan
Largest citySweetwater
 • Total914 sq mi (2,367 km2)
 • Land912 sq mi (2,362 km2)
 • Water2.0 sq mi (5 km2), 0.2%
 • (2010)15,216
 • Density17/sq mi (7/km2)
Congressional district19th
Time zoneCentral: UTC−6/−5


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 914 square miles (2,370 km2), of which 912 square miles (2,360 km2) are land and 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2) (0.2%) are covered by water.[6]

Nolan County is in the Cross Timbers region for wildlife management.[7] Geologically Nolan County occupies part of the Rolling Plains in the North and South,[8] separated by an isolated part of the Edwards Plateau[9] in much of the center. The uplifted plateau, rising up to 500[10] feet above the surrounding plains, gives Nolan county an advantage on production of wind energy.

Plateau areas of the Cretaceous Period[11] and much of the county are underlain by petroleum deposits from the Pennsylvanian Period.[12]

Major highways

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201614,993[13]−1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
1850–2010[15] 2010–2014[1]

As of the census[16] of 2000, 15,802 people, 6,170 households, and 4,288 families resided in the county. The population density was 17 people per square mile (7/km²). The 7,112 housing units averaged 8 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 78.45% White, 4.68% Black or African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 14.02% from other races, and 2.07% from two or more races. About 28.04% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 6,170 households, 32.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.00% were married couples living together, 12.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.50% were not families. Around 27.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the county, the population was distributed as 27.10% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 25.40% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 16.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,209, and for a family was $32,004. Males had a median income of $28,674 versus $19,335 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,077. About 18.30% of families and 21.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.50% of those under age 18 and 18.50% of those age 65 or over.

Wind power

Nolan County has established itself as a center for wind power generation. As of July 2008, Nolan County generated more wind energy than the entire state of California, and would have ranked sixth in the world for wind power generation if it were counted as its own country.[17]

A branch of Texas State Technical College operates near Sweetwater offering the first community college program for wind energy in Texas beginning in 2007.

Wind energy investments in the county of about $3 billion US dollars since 1999 have resulted in about 1,330 direct wind-related jobs which were created in Nolan County alone (in 2009), with almost $18,000,000 in annual landowner royalties and over $12,000,000 in annual local school taxes (2007),[18] and about $1.7 million more in county property taxes. The majority of investments come from Epplament Energy, E.ON, Invenergy, Lestis Private Capital Group, NextEra and Lattner Energy.

Nolan county is a hub of the Public Utility Commission’s $5 Billion CREZ wind energy transmission line expansion project in Texas.[19]


Wastella Texas grain elevator 2011
Abandoned grain elevator in Wastella


Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. ^ "Texas: Individual County Chronologies". Texas Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  4. ^ "Susan King". Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  5. ^ "Richard M. Chitwood". Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  6. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  7. ^ Cross Timbers accessed 11/8/2018
  8. ^ Rolling Plains accesses 11/8/2018
  9. ^ Edwards Plateau accessed 11/8/2018
  10. ^ Elevation accessed 11/8/2018
  11. ^ Cretaceous Period accessed 11/8/22018
  12. ^ Petroleum accessed 11/8/2018
  13. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  14. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  15. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  16. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  17. ^ Reed, Dan (11 July 2008). "Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens wants to supplant oil with wind". USA Today.
  18. ^ Wind Economics In Nolan County accessed 11/19/2018
  19. ^ Transmission Line Investment accessed 11/19/2018
  20. ^ Ghost Town accessed 11/19/2018
  21. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2018-07-28.

External links

Coordinates: 32°19′N 100°24′W / 32.31°N 100.40°W

Avenger Field

Avenger Field (IATA: SWW, ICAO: KSWW, FAA LID: SWW) is a Texas airport in Nolan County, three miles west of Sweetwater. The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 called it a general aviation facility.

Bitter Creek, Texas

Bitter Creek is a ghost town in Nolan County, Texas, United States. Its location is not known, as the community no longer exists.Bitter Creek was settled in the early 1880s by the Bardwell and Montgomery families. Bitter Creek is thought to have been located south of present Sweetwater, in northeast Nolan County. In 1923, oil was discovered in Bitter Creek. By the 1950s, its population declined to only five residents.

Blackwell, Texas

Blackwell is a city in Coke and Nolan Counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The population was 311 at the 2010 census.

Buffalo Gap Wind Farm

The Buffalo Gap Wind Farm is located in Nolan and Taylor Counties, about 20 miles (30 km) south west of Abilene, Texas. It was constructed in three phases and has a total wind generation capacity of 523.3 megawatts (MW).

Highland Independent School District

Highland Independent School District is a public school district in southwestern Nolan County, Texas (USA).

Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center

Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center is a large wind farm with 735.5 megawatts (MW) of capacity. It consists of 291 GE 1.5-megawatt wind turbines and 139 Siemens 2.3-megawatt wind turbines spread over nearly 47,000 acres (19,000 ha) of land in Taylor and Nolan County, Texas. At the time of its completion in 2006, it was the largest wind farm in the world.

Jack Abernathy

John Reeves "Catch-'em-alive Jack" Abernathy (January 28, 1876 – January 11, 1941) was a Texas cowboy and the youngest U.S. Marshal in history. He was appointed by Theodore Roosevelt.

Maryneal, Texas

Maryneal is an unincorporated community in southern Nolan County, Texas, United States. It lies along FM 608 south of the city of Sweetwater, the county seat of Nolan County. Its elevation is 2,566 feet (782 m). Although Maryneal is unincorporated, it has a post office, with the ZIP code of 79535; the ZCTA for ZIP Code 79535 had a population of 181 at the 2000 census.Founded in 1907 along the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway, the community was named for one or more people; the source of its name is disputed. In its early history, the community was more significant than it is today: it won a significant minority of the votes in an election (losing to Sweetwater) to determine the county seat, and a post office was established in Maryneal by being moved from Decker.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Nolan County, Texas

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Nolan County, Texas.

This is intended to be a complete list of properties and districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Nolan County, Texas. There are one district and three individual properties listed on the National Register in the county. Two properties are also Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

Nolan, Texas

Nolan is an unincorporated community in southeastern Nolan County, Texas, United States. It lies along FM 126 southeast of the city of Sweetwater, the county seat of Nolan County. Its elevation is 2,493 feet (760 m). It so happens that this elevation of 2,493 feet is also the average elevation of the United States. Although Nolan is unincorporated, it has a post office, with the ZIP code of 79537; the ZCTA for ZIP Code 79537 had a population of 94 at the 2000 census.Nolan was founded in 1928 as a union of two communities: a previous Nolan (to the west), and Dora (to the east). It is also the birthplace of Sean Morrow, a member of the 2015 Texas Tech University National Champion Meat Judging Team.

Roscoe, Texas

Roscoe is a city near the intersection of Interstate 20 and US Highway 84 in Nolan County in the U.S. state of Texas. The Union Pacific Railroad passes through the center of the city. Another rail line, the Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Railway (RS&P), used to extend 50 miles (80 km) from Roscoe to Fluvanna, passing through Snyder, Texas. Built in 1908, the railway served as a bridge between the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and the Texas and Pacific Railway. Although the RS&P became one of the most profitable short lines in the nation during its early years, passenger service was discontinued in 1953, freight service was discontinued in the late 1970s, and the tracks were removed in 1984. Roscoe is now home to the Plowboy Mudbog which is held twice a year, during the Independence Day Celebration, which is held on July 4 weekend, and in October, usually coinciding with the Wind Festival. The July mudbog normally draws around 70 to 80 trucks competing for prize and bragging rights.

Roscoe Wind Farm

The Roscoe Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas, owned and operated by E.ON Climate & Renewables is one of the world's largest capacity wind farms with 634 wind turbines and a total installed capacity of 781.5 MW. At the time of its completion in 2009, it was the largest wind farm in the world, surpassing the nearby 735.5-megawatt Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center. In 2012, it was overtaken by California's 1,020-megawatt Alta Wind Energy Center.

Sweetwater, Texas

Sweetwater is a municipality in and the seat of Nolan County, Texas, United States. It is 236 miles southeast of Amarillo and 181 miles west of Fort Worth. The population was 10,906 at the 2010 census.

Sweetwater Independent School District

Sweetwater Independent School District is a public school district based in Sweetwater, Texas, USA. Located in Nolan County, the district extends into a portion of Fisher County.

The Sweetwater Independent School District serves approximately 2,253 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 on six campuses: high school, middle school, intermediate school, two elementary schools, and an early childhood center. Sweetwater ISD is also the fiscal agent for a nine-member school special education shared service arrangement.

Sweetwater Reporter

The Sweetwater Reporter is a newspaper based in Sweetwater, Texas, covering the Nolan County area of West Texas. Owned by Horizon Publications Inc., it publishes an evening paper six days a week, Sunday through Friday.

The newspaper was founded in 1881, the same year as its city and county, as the Sweetwater Advance, by Charles Edwin Gilbert, founder of the nearby Abilene Reporter. It later published as the Nolan County Review and became the daily Reporter in 1911 under publisher John W. Millsaps and his partner W.A. Perry. In 1930, it was purchased by Harte-Hanks, who sent publisher Millard Cope to run the paper.In 1973, Donrey Media Group bought the paper and it was sold to Community Newspaper Holdings (CNHI) in 1998. In 2001, CNHI put the Reporter up for sale along with 30 other properties, including fellow West Texas papers the Big Spring Herald and Borger News-Herald. Horizon Publications bought the three West Texas papers in 2003.

Sweetwater Wind Farm

The Sweetwater Wind Farm is a 585.3 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Nolan County, Texas. The facility includes 392 wind turbines and was fully commissioned by 2007. The electricity is being sold to Austin Energy and to CPS Energy of San Antonio.

Texas State Highway 153

State Highway 153 or SH 153 is a highway in the U.S. State of Texas that runs from Coleman northwest to a junction south of Sweetwater.

Texas State Technical College

Texas State Technical College (TSTC) is a two-year technical state college with ten campuses throughout Texas. It is the only state-supported multiple campus institution in Texas that operates under an outcomes-based formula funding tied to graduates' successful employment. In partnership with business and industry, TSTC's statewide mission is to place more Texans in high-demand jobs and help fill the skills gap in the state.

TSTC's headquarters are at the former Connally Air Force Base north of Waco, Texas and are co-located with the Waco campus, the oldest TSTC location.

TSTC also operates campuses in Harlingen, Marshall, Red Oak, Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Sweetwater, Williamson County, and Fort Bend County, the newest campus location.

Wastella, Texas

Wastella is a ghost town in northwest Nolan County, Texas, United States. Wastella is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 84 and Farm to Market Road 1982 approximately 8 mi (13 km) northwest of Roscoe. It lies within the physiographic region known as the Rolling Plains to the southeast of the high plains of the Llano Estacado.

Places adjacent to Nolan County, Texas
Municipalities and communities of Nolan County, Texas, United States
Ghost towns
Wind power
Wind turbines
Wind power industry
Wind farms

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