A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from May 07, 2010
Odessa (summary)

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Odessa, Texas
Odessa is a city in and the county seat of Ector County, Texas, United States. It is located primarily in Ector County, although a small portion of the city extends into Midland County. Odessa’s population was 96,943 at the 2000 census. It is the principal city of the Odessa, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Ector County. The metropolitan area is also a component of the larger Midland–Odessa, Texas Combined Statistical Area, which had a population of 261,435 as of July 1, 2008. estimate.

Odessa was founded as a water stop and cattle shipping point on the Texas and Pacific Railway. The first post office opened in 1885. Odessa became the county seat of Ector county in 1891 when Ector county was first organized. It became an incorporated city in 1927, after oil was discovered in Ector county on the Connell Ranch southwest of Odessa.

With the opening of the Penn Field in 1929, and the Cowden Field in 1930, oil became a major draw for new residents. In 1925 the population was just 750, by 1929 it had risen to 5,000. Due to increased demand for oil during the second world war the city’s population had expanded to 10,000.

Wikipedia: Odessa
Odessa or Odesa (Ukrainian: Одеса; Russian: Одесса; Romanian: Odesa; Greek: Οδησσός; Yiddish: אדעס) is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast (province) located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 (as of the 2001 census).

The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement, was founded by Hacı I Giray, the Khan of Crimea, in 1240 and originally named after him as “Hacıbey”. After a period of Lithuanian control, it passed into the domain of the Ottoman Sultan in 1529 and remained in Ottoman hands until the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792. The city of Odessa was founded by a decree of the Empress Catherine the Great in 1794. From 1819 to 1858 Odessa was a free port. During the Soviet period it was the most important port of trade in the Soviet Union and a Soviet naval base. On January 1, 2000 the Quarantine Pier of Odessa trade sea port was declared a free port and free economic zone for a term of 25 years.

In the 19th century it was the fourth largest city of Imperial Russia, after Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Warsaw. Its historical architecture has a style more Mediterranean than Russian, having been heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. Some buildings are built in a mixture of different styles, including Art Nouveau, Renaissance and Classicist.

Odessa is a warm water port, but militarily it is of limited value. Turkey’s control of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus has enabled NATO to control water traffic between Odessa and the Mediterranean Sea. The city of Odessa hosts two important ports: Odessa itself and Yuzhne (also an internationally important oil terminal), situated in the city’s suburbs. Another important port, Illichivs’k, is located in the same oblast, to the south-west of Odessa. Together they represent a major transport hub integrating with railways. Odessa’s oil and chemical processing facilities are connected to Russia’s and EU’s respective networks by strategic pipelines.

The origin of the name, or the reasons for naming the town Odessa, are not known, though etymologies and anecdotes abound. According to one of the stories, when someone suggested Odessos as a name for the new port (see History), Catherine II said that all names in the South of the Empire were already ‘masculine,’ and didn’t want yet another one, so she decided to change it to more ‘feminine’ Odessa. This anecdote is highly dubious, because there were at least two cities (Yevpatoria and Theodosia) whose names sound ‘feminine’ for a Russian. Furthermore, the Tsaritsa was not a native Russian speaker, and finally, all cities are feminine in Greek (as well as in Latin). Another legend derives the name ‘Odessa’ from the word-play: in French (which was then the language spoken at the Russian court), ‘plenty of water’ is assez d’eau; if said backwards, it sounds similar to that of the Greek colony’s name (and water-related pun makes perfect sense, because Odessa, though situated next to the huge body of water, has limited fresh water supply). Regardless, a legend regarding a link with the name of the ancient Greek colony persists, so there might be some truth in the oral tradition. The Turkish name for the district was Yedisan, meaning “nine arrows”, and this is a more likely explanation of the name Odessa.

Handbook of Texas Online
ODESSA, TEXAS. Odessa, the largest town and county seat of Ector County, is the chief shipping point for the surrounding livestock area as well as a center for the oil and gas industry. Located at 31°51’ north latitude and 102°22’ west longitude in the heart of the vast oil-rich area known as the Permian Basin, it is 321 miles west of Fort Worth and 280 miles east of El Paso on the Texas and Pacific Railway. U.S. highways 80 and 385 and Interstate Highway 20 are the major transportation links. The warm dry climate and 300 days of sunshine per year make it a haven for retirees from the colder climates. Situated at the hub of West Texas, Odessa traces its founding to the extension of the Texas and Pacific Railway across the South Plains in July 1881, and to a real estate promotion by the Odessa Land and Townsite Company. Used as a water stop by the railroad, Odessa was supposedly named by railroad workers who thought the area resembled their home in Odessa, Russia. In 1885 C. W. Rathburn became the first postmaster of the newly established post office. The actual platting of Odessa took place in 1886; 300 acres of the original townsite are now at the center of the city’s downtown. Odessa became the county seat when Ector County was formally organized in January 1891. In 1927 it incorporated as a city and elected its first mayor, S. R. McKinney.

Ector County Seat, West Texas
I-20, Hwy 385 and 302
20 miles W of Midland
60 miles W of Big Spring
Population: 90,943 (2000)
The name supposedly comes from railroad workers who claimed it reminded them of the Odessa region in the south of Russia. (See Forum below.) The name did spring up at the same time the Texas and Pacific tracks were set down in July of 1881. Odessa got a post office in 1885 - a year before the town was platted. It was officially organized in 1891, but they didn’t get around to incorporating until 1927.

17 November 1881, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “On the Road,” pg. 7:
At the station of Odessa, thirty miles east of Sand Hills, the bleak aspect of the country begins to merge into something like a fair country for being so near the plains, and 214 miles west of Cisco. Grain will thrive here if the rains come. The soil improves with rapidity as you go east of Odessa. This name, by the way, is familiar as that of the greatest grain market in the world. Whether the little lone station house out in West Texas will ever be on the list of noticeable grain shipping points is a problem of the future. 

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary)Odessa (city name etymology) • (0) Comments • Friday, May 07, 2010 • Permalink