It looks like Wichita Falls was lucky enough to be the first in Texas to get a lot of important stuff.
Looking at the history of Wichita Falls is actually pretty interesting. At one point, we were quite special here in Texas. Sure, we're still special in some aspects, but back in the day, Wichita Falls had some amazing things that no other city in the entire state of Texas had at the time.
All of the information below is from the City of Wichita Falls. They have a lot more on their website, which is pretty cool if you love learning about the history of Wichita Falls.
That's right, Lake Wichita was the first man-made lake in the entire state of Texas. Joseph Kemp, who we can thank for a lot in our city, helped make this a reality. In 1901, the lake was dredged and brought a lot of tourists to our city in its early years.
First Texas City to Have Natural Gas Service
I miss having natural gas appliances. Cooking with gas is always better than cooking with electric in my book. Wichita Falls was the first Texas city to get natural gas into people's homes. For cooking and heating their homes as well. Once again, pretty crazy to think no one else in Texas had this before us.
First to Have a Motorized Fire Truck
Not only were we the first Texas city to have a motorized fire truck, we were the first city to have one west of the Mississippi. Other fire departments were still using horse-drawn carriages. Wichita Falls spent the money to get a gas powered truck to get to the fires more quickly and efficiently.
Once Had the Largest Concentration of Air Troops
Not really a first, but a pretty crazy fun fact. Back when it was the Sheppard Field Training Center in 1945, there were 46,650 men being trained there. At that time, it was the largest concentration of air troops in the entire world. Pretty crazy to think of that for Wichita Falls.
Recognized Nationally as an All-American City
This is not a fun fact about our city but is an important date that no one around here at that time will forget. April 10, 1979. It's the day an F4 tornado touched down ripping our city apart. It killed 42 people in Wichita Falls, 25 of those deaths were vehicle-related. It caused over 1700 injuries, destroyed over 3000 homes and left 20,000 homeless. I learned today since our city was so resilient and we were able to recover so quickly, the National Municipal League named Wichita Falls an All‐America City on April 13, 1981.