The city is near the center of Live Oak County and was named for its founder, George Washington West. West, a rancher, set out to build a town on the site of his ranch. He built a courthouse, school, highways, bridges, waterworks, light plant and a hotel. It became the seat of the county in 1919. The town is a retail center and shipping point for the surrounding ranch and farm area. The area is experiencing a boom from the Eagle Ford Shale play. Excellent hunting and fishing are available in the area.
It was designated as the Storytelling Capital of Texas by the state Legislature, and an annual Storytelling Festival is held the first weekend in November.
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