Look back at WF shows population changes throughout 138-year history

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX KJTL) — It’s hard to believe that Wichita falls used to be traveled on in horse-drawn buggies when downtown comes alive with a festival, but until the late 1880s, that’s what it looked like until the first trains arrived.

“Wichita Falls was initially just a trading post community, then when the train first arrive in 1882, that when the community got started,” archivist Bryce Blair said. “By 1889, there was about 5,000 people living here, and that’s when the city incorporated.”

With the trains mainly carrying crops, cattle and general supplies coming off the railroad, the city’s population remained steady until the early 1900s.

“There was a big oil strike in Burkburnett and in 1920 the population swelled up to 40 thousand and grew more and by 1955 it had about 105,000,” Blair said.

Despite some leaving during the Great Depression, the population of Wichita Falls has continued to grow.

Gossom said he believes one of the reasons for the growth is Sheppard Air Force Base which was established during world war two.

“It then gives us people who retire out of the military with great skills and great personal values that then stay in our community and then add to our personal resources,” Gossom said.

Not only that, Gossom said he believes people are drawn to the community since it’s growing steadily.

“We are still going to keep growing at the 2 to 5 percent over each decade, and that’s not at all bad if you look at those areas that have just exploded, it’s not as pleasant as it is here by far,” Gossom said.

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