has 1,215 incorporated towns and cities, and another 5,000-plus wide spots in
the road not counting ghost towns.
While most Lone Star place names honor
people or recognize some geographic feature, with that many locales needing names,
early-day Texans showed both creativity and a propensity to memorialize where
they came from in picking names for their communities. Beyond that, some Texas
place names demonstrate someone’s sense of humor.
Some names clearly have
stories behind them. Unfortunately, with the passing of time and people, the real
stories turn into myth or legend. For instance, while it doesn’t take a social
scientist to figure out how No
Trees, Texas got its name, the story behind the naming of Groom,
Texas is not as clear, even though it obviously had something to do with a
fellow about to get hitched or at least a guy who cleaned up nice. And for Tell,
Texas, no telling.
a little time perusing the list of towns
and cities in the venerable Texas Almanac, and you can turn that into a relatively
amusing parlor game. Especially fun is looking for place names that fit into a
We all know, for example, that Fort
Worth is also referred to as Cowtown, but Texas has at least three other communities
honoring its bovine heritage – Angus in Navarro County, Hereford
in Deaf Smith County and Whiteface
in Cochran County.
Texas contains ample inspiration for the landscape artist,
and even a former post office in Mason County named Art.
Nothing is more important to many Texans than their shooting irons. The
names of at least five Texas communities pay homage to the Second Amendment: Cut
n Shoot in Montgomery County, Gun
Barrel City in Henderson County, Gunsight
in Stephens County, Remington Ranch in Harris County and Winchester
in Fayette County. Finally, while there is no Smith and Wesson, Texas, there is
a Smith in Wood County and a Wesson
in Comal County.
Troubled by seasonal affective disorder? These places
are bound to cheer you up: Dawn
in Deaf Smith County (for morning people), Eden
in Concho County (just watch out for the snakes), Happy
(enough said) in Randall and Swisher counties, New Harmony in Smith County, and
New Hope. In fact, New Hope springs eternal in the Lone Star State. Six different
communities in six counties (Cherokee, Colin, Jones, San Augustine, Smith and
Wood) offer New Hopes.
In addition, Texas has Paradise
in Wise County, Rainbow
in Somervell County, Smiley
in Gonzales County, Sunset
(for the nightowls) in Montague County, and Sweet
Home in Lavaca County. There’s even Sweetwater
in Nolan County to wash all this down with.
The price of gasoline being
what it is, why bother traveling to other states? Texas
has numerous in-state distinations that sound decidedly out-of-state: Atlanta
in Cass County; Colorado
City in Mitchell County (alas, no snow-topped mountains); Denver
City (ditto) in Gaines and Yoakum counties; Detroit
in Red River County (its not even bankrupt); Memphis
in Hall County (alas, Elvis has left the building); Miami
in Roberts County (lacking the vice or Don Johnson); Nevada
in Collin County (no gambling allowed); New
Boston in Bowie County (sans Redsox); Santa
Fe in Galveston County (again, no mountains) and Tennessee
Colony in Anderson County.
like taking a trip outside the U.S? No need to buy a plane ticket, put up with
airport security or pay those luggage fees. You don’t even need a passport. Just
visit Amsterdam in Brazoria County, Asia
in Polk County, Athens in Henderson
in Hemphill County, China
in Jefferson County, Egypt
in, take your pick, Leon, Montgomery or Wharton counties, Italy
in Ellis County, London
in Kimble County, Nazareth
in Castro County, New
Berlin in Guadalupe County, New
London in Rusk County, Paris in Lamar County,
Scotland in Archer County, or Turkey
in Hall County.
No need to wait for the development of commercial space
travel to visit other places in the solar system: For stay-at-home types, there’s
in Lamb County and for the more adventurous, Mercury
in McCulloch County and Venus in Ellis and
There’s even a city named after this state. Just set
your car’s GPS for Texas
City in Galveston County.
Tired after all this galavanting around?
Maybe you need to spend some time in Energy
in Comanche County. For those on the fence about traveling, there’s always Texline
in Dallam County.
Can’t afford to take your kids to Disneyland? Texas offers
some fun-sounding alternatives: Elmo
in Kaufman County, Kermit
in Winkler County, Nemo
in Somerville County, Tarzan
in Martin County, and Winnie
in Chambers County.
Texas also has plenty of zoological town names: Beeville
in Bee County, Buffalo
in Leon County, Muleshoe in
Bailey County, and White Deer
in Carson County. For those who believe in animals yet to be discovered, there’s
in Frio County.
Of course, more practical-minded Texans might think this
place name game is just plain Loco.
That town’s in Childress County.
Mike Cox - Nov. 6, 2013 column
People | Columns
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