The city takes its name from the large spring which provided a major watering hole for animals and Native Americans well before settlers came on the scene.
The spring also provided comfort for buffalo hunters and for travellers heading on the trail to California and a tented settlement sprang up around the source. In 1880 the Texas and Pacific Railroad came through the area and the existence of the spring made this a suitable place for a rail-yard and station.
Big Springs, as the town was known until 1916, grew up around the rail installations a couple of miles north of the spring itself and in 1882 became the seat of the newly organised Howard County.
By the late 1890’s the demands of the town and the railway on the spring led to water levels dropping and the spring eventually ceasing to function. Today the “spring” is artificially supplied.
Big Spring had developed gradually as a local ranching and cotton hub but really boomed with the discovery of oil in the area in 1926. Its population in 1930 was three times that of a decade earlier.
The town was given a further boost in the 1950’s when a wartime airfield was reactivated as Webb Airforce Base, which remained in operation until 1977.
Our first song today goes back to the 1970’s and displays to my mind a somewhat dubious morality. Jean Shepard is in love – but only until something better comes along. In the song Big Spring is the before and Paris, France the better offer !
“If you’ve never been to Paris France
Big Spring Texas will suit you fine
And that’s the way I was
When I loved him at the time.”
Our second song is a drinking song. Mark McKinney drinks too much – but it’s not his fault ! I know the feeling !
“Well I was born in Big Spring Texas, I was raised on truth and faith
But I got in my share of trouble you know I don’t profess to be a saint
And through the years I’ve collected myself
a bunch of good friends that got my back
But everytime I go out with them, I don’t know where I’ll wake up at”