Wichita Falls, named for a 5-foot waterfall considered significant in these flat parts, is an agricultural and ranching center that boomed during the 1930’s with the discovery of oil. Agriculture, petroleum and manufacturing of auto parts and aviation components are the economic mainstays; there is a small Air Force base and a small four-year college in addition.
Like many small Texas towns, Wichita Falls is plain, clean, and quiet. There is a small set of local amenities such as a symphony, ballet, theater, and art museum, and a number of lakes around the area. The crime rate has been historically high. For big-city services and amenities, the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex is 135 miles southeast.
The town is located in the North Central Plains of Texas, just south of the Red River separating Texas and Oklahoma. The topography is level to gently rolling agriculture and mesquite plain with few trees. The region lies between the humid subtropical climate of east Texas and the continental climate of the north and west. Climate is variable with rapid temperature changes, temperature extremes, and erratic rainfall. Summers are warm to hot with low humidity and lots of sun and wind. Temperatures frequently exceed 100 degrees F. Polar air masses moving down from the north during winter can drop temperatures 20 to 30 degrees within an hour. While variable, winters are on the whole relatively mild with few sub-zero readings. Snow accumulation occurs only once or twice a year. Most rainfall comes from brief showers, and prolonged dry periods are common.