By Louisa Ferncliff, NGEFTO special contributor and former Wichitan
After months of speculation, Amazon announced today that its new headquarters will be in Wichita Falls, Texas. Most, both inside and outside of the industry, were stunned, unaware that this city of 100,000 nestled in the southeast corner of the Texas panhandle in a region called the “armpit of Oklahoma”, existed. Wichita Falls mayor Keith “Duke” Farley explained, “Other competitors were skeptical of our bid—some even laughed about it. But the city council got a serious proposal together. Never in a million years did I think we’d win but who’s laughing now!”
NGEFTO asked Roger Haskins, adjunct professor of Technology in Society Studies at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, what he considers to be the city’s winning formula. “No other city has the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum and the World’s littlest skyscraper! And the city is zoned strip mall ready. Most importantly, culturally, Wichita Falls is a blank slate. There is no pre-existing culture to contend with. Amazon will be able to mold the city however it sees fit. Although, doing business on Sunday is off limits. Furthermore, geographically speaking, the city is surrounded by undeveloped, flat, treeless land as far as the eye can see. Cheap land that is ready to be developed with minimal bulldozing will be a huge savings for the company.”
Amazon spokesperson Barry Handler added, “I know there was been some criticism of the choice of Wichita Falls as it only has a commuter airport and high winds prevent most of the flights from taking off or landing. However, DFW airport is only 100 miles to the southeast. Our traffic engineers determined that due to traffic patterns, it is actually quicker to drive from Wichita Falls to DFW than from Dallas to DFW. We are also exploring the option of building a high speed rail between Wichita Falls and DFW in the future. The fact that Wichita Falls has been able to handle the crowds at the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame tells us it has the infrastructure to get the job done.”
In addition to providing tax incentives, infrastructure support and the cooperation of local government, the city of Wichita Falls has also agreed to change it’s name to reflect its ties with the company. After much contentious debate on all sides, the name Amazon Falls, was settled on. Mayor Farley laughs, “Wichita was no good anyway, can’t spell it and everyone always thought we were in Kansas. Now the actual falls are long gone, but it sure sounds pretty.”
Former Wichitan, the novelist Larry McMurtry, who once had a character describe the city as ”the ugliest place on earth,” declined NGEFTO’s request for an interview.