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 Texas : Features : Columns : Bob Bowman's East Texas

The Roads of Upshur County

by Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman

Most East Texas counties name their county roads with numbers or the names of people.

But not Upshur County.

Years ago county officials came up with the unique idea of naming one precinct of the countyís roads for animals, another for flowers, still another for trees and the fourth precinct for birds.

US271 Upshur County Texas road sign collage
U.S. Highway 271 Upshur County road signs
Collage courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2007

So, if you drive through Upshur County on U.S. Highway 271, which runs north and south, hereís what youíll find:

As you enter the county from the south, to the west are roads bearing the names of Silk Tree Road, Crepe Myrtle Road, Live Oak Road, Lemon Tree Road, Locust Road, Hackberry Road, Holly Road and other roads with tree names

To the east of U.S. 271 are the bird names, honoring such flying creatures as pheasants, flamingos, goldfinches, mockingbirds, hawks grouse, bluebirds and hummingbirds. Again, the list goes on and on.

When you pass through Gilmer, the county seat, in the precinct west of US. 271 are roads named for deer, mule deer, horses, chipmunks, jack rabbits, longhorns, reindeer, ocelots, muskrats, giraffes, bison--and my personal favorite, Groundhog Road.

I wonder if the folks who live on Groundhog Road know when the groundhog first sees his shadow.

Finally in the precinct on the east side of U.S. 271 are the flowers--Poppy Road, Begonia Road, Petunia Road, Dahlia Road, Sweet William Road, Tulip Road and Spider Lilly Road.

As a result of this system, you donít find too many roads bearing people names. Which has probably kept a few county commissioners from being voted out of office because they didnít name a road for one of their constituents.

In driving around the county, my favorite names for roads were Alligator, Great Dane, Burr Rabbit, Bulldog, Frog, and, naturally, Bob Oí Link and Bob White.

Bob Bowman's East Texas November 2, 2009 Column
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers
Copyright Bob Bowman

See Texas Drives | East Texas Sunday Drives

(Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of 42 books about East Texas. He can be reached at bob-bowman.com)

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