Midland is among the largest cities in West Texas, and in tandem with nearby Odessa it forms one of the largest metropolitan areas in that region of the state. It was named for its location halfway between Fort Worth and El Paso - about 300 miles (480 km) from each. It lies in the oil-rich Permian Basin along I-20 and the Texas and Pacific Railroad. Midland is also the seat of Midland County.
The city was founded in 1881 with the arrival of the railroad. The discovery of oil and natural gas in 1923 led to rapid growth and the establishment of the energy industry as the basis of the economy. The Permian Basin supplies about a quarter of the nation's crude oil, natural gas, and gas liquids. Midland is also home to a number of other industries.
Dubbed "The Tall City", Midland has a remarkable skyline for a city its size. Four buildings over 500 feet tall were planned in the 1980s, including one designed by world famous architect I.M. Pei. A deep recession in the oil industry, however, put an end to these plans.