When you’re in Odessa, Texas, take the time to visit the Historic White-Pool House and Event Venue. Located just minutes to the north of Interstate 20, the historic home is the oldest remaining structure in Odessa and Ector County.
In 1887, attracted by the advertisements of investors trying to convince the Midwest farmers to move to West Texas, Charles and Lucy White, and two of their sons, loaded their possessions, house plans, and a majority of the building materials for their new house onto railcars and headed to the New Town of Odessa, four years before Ector County was established. Charles and Lucy came from Raysville, Indiana. They had suffered heavy losses to their grain business, due to the Civil War. Lucy’s health was poor and investors touted that not only was Odessa an “agricultural oasis” (with proper irrigation), but they also claimed that “the air is so pure that invalids should take advantage of the natural cure it offers for their ailments.” It must have been just what Lucy needed as she lived to be quite old. Charles, Lucy, and their two sons did well. Charles purchased one section (640 acres) of land on the highest, natural point in Odessa and they built a much simpler version of the two-story, Victorian home that they had left in Indiana. (That home still stands in Indiana.) They had the first mercantile store in Odessa and they were successful farmers, too. The family planted sorghum cane, cotton, an impressive vegetable garden, flowering plants, and maintained a large peach and pear orchard. Charles died in 1905, after being kicked by a horse. Lucy moved to Mineral Wells with her son, Herbert. The family exemplified the pioneer spirit that we embrace and celebrate today.
The house was bought and sold several times and most of the land was sold until, in 1923, Oso Pool moved to Odessa and bought the house with the remaining acreage. Oil was discovered in Ector County in 1926 and, in 1927, we had our first oil boom. Odessa changed forever. Being an entrepreneur, Mr. Pool converted the Victorian home into a five-unit apartment building. He lived in the cellar. Over the years, the Pool family owned the home and it was finally leased to others. The home fell into disrepair. Eventually, Mr. Pool donated the home and remaining land to Ector County. Historical restoration took place from 1979 to 1984. In 1986, the non-profit organization, The White-Pool House Friends was formed to operate and maintain the home, with the mission of sharing the rich history and keeping the home free for the public to visit.
Recently, due to budget cuts and a lack of available grants for historic preservation, the barn and grounds underwent an extensive Revitalization Project. The barn and grounds were converted to an event venue—complete with a large, Victorian gazebo and charming garden. All money raised with our events is used to operate the museum and grounds. You are invited to experience Odessa’s pioneer and entrepreneurial past with us as we connect generations through stories and permanent exhibits.