Sweetwater is the county seat and largest population center of Nolan County located on I-20 virtually halfway between El Paso and Shreveport. The city is located 40 miles west of Abilene, 75 miles north of San Angelo, 125 miles southeast of Lubbock, 130 miles of Odessa and 190 miles west of Ft. Worth.
The county was named for Philip Nolan, and is predominantly rolling uplands to the north, with plateaus traversed by valleys in the south.
The loamy soils of the county are light to dark, with deep, clayey or laomy subsoils and lime accumulations. Gypsum is plentiful. The county has very little timber; hackberry, scrubby post oak, cottonwood, mesquite and pecan trees grown along streams, and Rocky Mountain junipers or scrub cedars grow on the hillsides.
The agricultural economy centers around cattle and live-stock products, but 50 percent of the annual agricultural income is from crops, especially cotton, wheat and sorghum.
The area of Nolan Count had no Anglo settlers until after the Civil War, when buffalo hunters came to the plains. Knight’s store on Sweetwater Creek was started in a dugout in 1877 to serve buffalo hunters operating in the area. The county’s first post office was opened in 1879 in the village of Sweet Water, which was two words until the spelling was officially changed in 1918. The original name of the post office was Blue Goose, derived from a story that the first postmaster ate a blue crane that cowboys told him was a blue goose.
By 1880 the census report 640 county residents. The county was orgnaized after an election held January 20, 1881, and Sweewater was declared the permanent county seat on April 12, 1881.
The townsite was on the Texas and Pacific Railway, which had built into the area in March 1881. The first newspaper was published that same year. The county population increased to 11,999 by 1910, and peaked at 19,323 by 1930.
Texas State Technical College West Texas is a vocational training facility founded in 1970. Other communities in the county include Roscoe, Blackwell and Maryneal. The largest tourist attraction is the World’s Largest Rattlesnake Round-Up, held the second weekend each March.