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Despite odd names all over Lone Star State,
'Top 10' of the U.S. are commonplace here

by Bill Bradfield
When Russell Ash's book The Top 10 of Everything 2000 was published, its listing for the ten most common U.S. town names was led by Fairview, followed in order by Midway, Oak Grove, Franklin and Riverside (tied), Centerville, Mount Pleasant, Georgetown, Salem, and Greenwood.

Texas has all of these places -- a generous supply, resulting from the state's large number of towns and villages -- even though there's also here an abundance of names that are unusual, even unique.

Compilers for the 2002-2003 edition of the Texas Almanac listed ten populated Fairviews in Texas. There are a dozen or more locations around the state where places named Fairview ceased to exist. The largest Fairview in Texas is between Plano and McKinney in Collin County, where a population of 2,644 was reported in the 2000 Census. The next largest is New Fairview in Wise County, with 877 residents.

The almanac lists 15 populated villages and hamlets named Midway. More that a dozen Midways have vanished from the Texas road map in past years. With a population of 288, Midway in Madison County is the only incorporated town by this name. Unlike others, it didn't acquire its name because of a location midway between other places. Joseph Addison Clark, who moved to Madison County in 1855, simply named the community for his hometown of Midway, Kentucky. Clark later relocated at Thorp Spring, where with his son, Randolph, he established Add-Ran College (now Texas Christian University).

In Hidalgo County, Midway North and Midway South are fast-growing unincorporated towns where populations of 3,946 and 1,711, respectively, were reported last year.

Texans live in six towns named Oak Grove, but nine other Oak Groves have disappeared through the years. A town in Kaufman County with 710 population is the largest of the present-day towns.

Franklin (pop. 1,470), the county seat of Robertson County, is the only populated town of its name in Texas unless one counts Ben Franklin, a crossroads community in Delta County. Two other Franklins are no longer on the map.

Similarly, the state has a shortage of towns named Riverside. Two have disappeared, with only the Riverside (pop. 425) north of Huntsville in Walker County remaining.

Three more names on the Top 10 list also are counted among the state's 254 county seats: Centerville (pop. 903) in Leon County, Mount Pleasant (pop. 13,935) in Titus County, and Georgetown (pop. 28,339) in Williamson County.

Salem, the ninth most popular name among U.S. towns, is represented in Texas by only three populated places, each with fewer than 100 residents. Greenwood, number ten on the national list, is represented by a suburb with two thousand residents on the west side of Midland; by a Wise County village (pop. 76) with its own post office, and by even smaller Greenwoods in Hopkins and Red River counties.

Bill Bradfield
January 2001

See Texas Towns A to Z

The Naming of Texas Towns

  • Texas Town List - Over 3,100 Texas Towns
  • Texas on a First-name Basis
    Of the roughly 2,000 town names on the official state map, over 400 of them are first names.
  • Those strange town names by Bob Bowman
    While some early East Texans named their towns for families, their hometowns or landmarks, othes were a tad more creative...
  • Jasper and Newton Counties, Beyond the Sabine
  • Despite odd names all over Lone Star State, 'Top 10' of the U.S. are commonplace here by Bill Bradfield
  • Why did they name it that? by Archie P. McDonald
  • Wonder Why They Named it That by Archie P. McDonald
  • A Geography Lesson by Bob Bowman
  • New Geography - Place name tweaking of several Counties and County Seats by Mike Cox
    Place name tweaking of several Counties and County Seats
  • Twin Towns by Mike Cox
  • Cut and Shoot, Gun Barrel City, Gunsight, Point Blank and Winchester by Mike Cox
  • Boo-boo towns by Mike Cox
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  • Population Ranks by Mike Cox
    The historic urban population hierarchy and population figures dating back to 1850...
  • Unique town names by Bob Bowman
  • Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.

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