Spanish explorers crossed the area of present Ward County more than
400 years ago, but it remained an undisturbed habitat of Indians until the mid-1880s.
The city was established about 1881 as a stop on the Texas and Pacific Railroad,
building west from Fort Worth. Monahans is county seat, and today a financial
and marketing center for more than 800 square miles of cattle and oil country.
Million Barrel Museum-
Built in 1928 as an oil-storage facility, this huge tank was
abandoned due to leakage. Converted in 11987 to a museum featuring the relocated and
restored Holman House that served as a hotel at the terminus of Monahans-Fort Stockton
Stage Line in the early 20th century. Period furnishings. Also on site is the
first Ward County jail, a display of antique oil field equipment and an amphitheater.
Open daily. On US 80, 1.5 miles east of the city.
Monahans Sandhills State Park-
4,000 acres of wind-sculpted sand dunes remind one of the classical
landscapes of the Sahara. The park has a modern museum and interpretive center,
picnicking, camping and sand surfing. Huge sandhills area, only part of which is in
the park, was a formidable obstacle to pioneer travelers and wagon trains. Indians
knew the territory better and frequently camped here because pure, fresh water could be
found between certain dunes by scooping at trench in the sand. Not apparent to the
eye is one of the largest oak forests in the nation, stretching over 40,000 acres of arid
land. The "forest" is not easily seen because mature trees (Harvard Oaks)
are seldom over three feet high, yet they send down roots as far as 90 feet to maintain
miniature surface growth. The unusual park is on I-20/US 80 five miles east.
Pyote Museum and Rattlesnake Bomber Base-
Old base, south of I-20, was home of the 19th (B-17) Bomb Group
during World War II. Museum displays are history, mementos of base. Open Sat
9am -6am; Sun 2-6pm. Museum is in the county park that also offers picnicking,
swimming pool, three-hole golf course, tennis and overnight camping. On I-20, 15
miles west of Monahans.