About Big Lake

Reagan County, Texas, was created out of Tom Green County by an act of the 28th Texas Legislature which was approved March 7, 1903.  Gordon Stiles and G.W. Shields gave the county land on Centralia Draw where Stiles, the county seat, was located.  In 1911, the Orient Land Company purchased land for the establishment of a townsite and station for the K.C.M.&O. Railroad Company of Texas.  The town was platted at that time and soon, thereafter, people began to move in.  Big Lake was incorporated August 15, 1923 and subsequently became the county seat in 1925.
Big Lake earned it's namesake because it had one of the largest natural spring-fed lakes in the state. The lake is now dry. Though deeply rooted in Ranching and Farming heritage, Reagan County is better known as the "Birthplace of the Permian Basin".  The Santa Rita No. 1 (named for the patron Saint of the Impossible) came into production on May 28, 1923 and was the first producing commercial oil well in the Permian Basin.  The well was drilled on University of Texas lands and the original Santa Rita drilling equipment is displayed at the University of Texas, Austin.  Replicas of the equipment are displayed at the original well site approximately 10 miles West of Big Lake, and at 12th Street and Pennsylvania.  Historically, as well as presently, Big Lake's economy is largely dependent on the oil and gas industry.