Ozona, the county seat and only town in Crockett County, is on Interstate Highway 10 and State Highway 163, midway between Houston and El Paso and 100 miles north of the Texas-Mexico border. It was known as Powell Well when it was founded in 1891. E. M. Powell, a land surveyor, drilled a well near Johnson Draw, established a windmill, and offered water and land for a school, churches, parks, a courthouse, and a jail. Joe Moss, Powell's agent, sold lots, and early settlers planted pecan trees in the shallow soil. Frank M. Boykin served as postmaster for the post office, established on September 3, 1891.
The community was chosen as the county seat over nearby Emerald in an election on July 7, 1891, when the first commissioners' court was held. Powell Well became Ozona, named for the quantity of open air or ozone. By 1892 the community had a population of 400, a saloon, a blacksmith, two restaurants, a school, a feed yard, and other businesses. By 1898 the local Crockett Hotel had become a stage stop on the road to San Angelo.
The Ozona Kicker, founded by Claude B. Hudspeth in 1892, was renamed the Ozona Stockman in 1914. The Crockett County Courthouse, designed by Oscar Ruffini, was built from locally quarried limestone in 1902. Emerald School moved to Ozona in 1897. Water from the area's deep wells at Water Works Hill and available land drew settlers to the area. Cattle were brought in the early 1880s, and Rambouillet sheep and Angora goats were imported some time later. Gas and oil wells discovered within the town limits continued in production in the late 1980s, but Ozona was never a boom town.
The 1936 state highway map showed two schools, two churches, and numerous businesses and dwellings at the townsite, despite a 1926 fire that destroyed a block of business buildings. A flood in 1954 destroyed almost half the town's houses and cost sixteen lives. In 1986 Ozona had two banks, the county library, a radio station, the Ozona Community Center (built in 1936), and a population of 4,200, which was more than 50 percent Hispanic.
The Junior Rodeo and fall deer season are among the town's annual events. The Crockett County Museum, located in the County Courthouse Annex, collects and exhibits artifacts connected with area history. Emerald House, the town's oldest dwelling, has been moved to a park near State Highway 290. In 1990 the population was 3,181. The population was 3,436 in 2000.
Bibliography: Lucile I. Harrell, “Ozona, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 27, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/ozona-tx.