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  Texas : Features : Columns : "Letters from Central Texas"

Zipperlandville, And Other Places

by Clay Coppedge
Towns like Zipperlandville may take their notoriety where they can find it, but that doesn't mean you can find the town if you go looking for it.

Zipperlandville

If Zipperlandville isn't part of your personal or family history, you can find it in the title of a book from Republic of Texas Press, Texas Towns: From Abner to Zipperlandville by Don Blevins.

Not only is the community mentioned in the book but the cover shows a picture of the Zipperlandville City Limits sign.

People who go looking for the sign and the picturesque building behind it might notice that the book's cover photo looks a little, well, superimposed. The assumption here is that someone must have stolen the real city limits sign.

Zipperlandville is (was) about five miles west of Rosebud on State High-way 53 in southern Falls County. The Handbook of Texas tells us the town was settled in the 1870s by German, Yugoslavian and Czech immigrants, including the industrious Zipperlen family, owners of a gin and store that became the focal point of the community. The Zipperlandville school district lasted until 1950, when it was consolidated with the Rosebud school district.

The town was sometimes called Zipperlen or Zipperlenville. Both are a lot closer to the family name than what the post office handed down as official. Zipperlen - not Zipperland -descendants still live in Falls County.

The postal service named towns when it located a post office in a particular area. Residents submitted the name they wanted and the government at that point either approved, rejected, misread, mangled or simply changed proposed names.

Zipperlandville is just one example.
Bee House
Bee House, eleven miles west of Gatesville, was named because caves and cliffs in the vicinity were full of bees. A communal house was founded there and named Bee House Hall. When it came time for a post office, residents submitted the name of Beehive. The post office named it Bee House.
Pearl
Another Coryell County town, Pearl, was known for a while as Wayback, though settlers called it Swayback in recognition a nearby mountain of the same name.

Freighters didn't like the name Wayback so they called it Pearl. They called it that long enough that finally, in 1890, the town named itself Pearl for Pearl Davenport, son of the local storekeeper.
Purmela
Purmela in Coryell County was supposed to be named Furmela. Lovestruck Coryell County settler Martin Dremien submitted that name to honor his sweet-heart, who went by the name. The post office named it Purmela, leaving Furmela to wonder who this Furmela woman was.
Pancake
Being the postmaster might have helped when it came time to name a town.

Pancake, 13 miles north-west of Gatesville, was named for postmaster J.R. Pancake. No problem there, except that people assume this is another of those "breakfast food communities," like Oatmeal in Williamson County.
Fairy
Occasionally the names behind the names reveal namesakes to challenge Jubilation T. Cornpone, (founder of Dogpatch U.S.A.) for color and originality.

Fairy, over in Hamilton County, was originally named Martin's Gap for pioneer James Martin. In 1884 the town's name was changed to Fairy in honor of Fairy Fort.

Fairy Fort was the daughter of a Confederate commander named Battle Fort.
Dam B
While the name of Fairy might be open to interpretation, the name of a community in Tyler County named Dam B has a history as bland as its name. It was named that because three dams were planned for the area. The only one that got built was Dam B.
Which is exactly what those early settlers of Bee House might have said when they first stepped inside one of those Coryell County caves.

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Clay Coppedge
"Letters from Central Texas"

January 3, 2007 Column
 
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