Location of Big Lake, Texas
Big Lake is a small rural city in Reagan County, Texas, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 2,885. It is the county seat ofReagan County.
The city takes its name from a dry lake, a unique dryland plains geographic feature situated atop the divide between the Rio Grande and Colorado River watersheds, located less than two miles south of the city, through which St Hwy 137 passes. The dry lake, with no outlet, is over two sectionsin size, making it the largest in Texas; it holds water temporarily and only after high runoff rain events, being used for grazing the remainder of the time. Though seasonal and temporal, the 'big playa lake', in wet periods, is significant in a semi-arid, drought-frequented environment and has been utilized regularly as a food and water resource by man and animal, alike, since prehistoric times.
Started as a small ranching community in the late 1880s, Big Lake owes its original existence to the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway, which passed through the area in 1912 as it was extended from Sherwood, west ofSan Angelo, to Girvin and beyond the Pecos River. The growth from the railroad, coupled with that from the Santa Rita discovery well in 1923, allowed it, in 1925, to take over the position of county seat from Stiles, a pioneer ranching community established in 1894 on Centrailia Draw, approximately 20 miles to the north. The main highway through the area, US 67, was extended through the region in 1934, on the way to a termination in Presidio. The city's current existence is based on agriculture (some farming, but mostly ranching) and oil and gas service and production throughout the area.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,885 people, 932 households, and 751 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,327.4 people per square mile (898.3/km²). There were 1,148 housing units at an average density of 926.1 per square mile (357.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 63.64% White, 3.29% African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 30.33% from other races, and 1.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 51.54% of the population.
There were 932 households out of which 48.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.4% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.4% were non-families. 18.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.05 and the average family size was 3.47.
In the city the age distribution of the population shows 34.9% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,478, and the median income for a family was $37,104. Males had a median income of $31,056 versus $17,656 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,829. About 8.8% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.7% of those under age 18 and 23.2% of those age 65 or over.
The City of Big Lake is served by the Reagan County Independent School District.
The city of Big Lake was featured in the 2002 movie The Rookie, although the town portrayed in the movie was actuallyThorndale, Texas, which is actually a little bit east of Austin.
In the movie, the town lacked a proper baseball field while the high school football stadium was the main focus of athletic attention. The Rookie made Big Lake interested in hosting a minor league baseball team: the West Texas Big Fish of theTexas-Louisiana League in the 2000s. Today, another Big Fish team is a member of the collegiate level Central Texas Collegiate League.