Since I never brag about my home state, you may not be aware that I’m a Texan, born and raised here. In case you have the misfortune of not being a Texan and wonder what makes us so proud of our state, here are a few random facts for you:
1. Port Arthur to El Paso: 889 miles. Port Arthur to Chicago: 770 miles
2. Brownsville to Texline (north of Amarillo): 956 miles. Texline to Canada: 960 miles
3. El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas
4. World’s first rodeo was in Pecos , TX, July 4, 1883.
5. The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built over water. Destroyed by Hurricane Ike – 2008!
6. The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first full-time coach at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
7. Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other county in North America.
8. Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America’s only remaining flock of whooping cranes.
9. Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson in 1978. Could have done without this one.
10. The worst natural disaster in US history was in 1900, caused by a hurricane in which over 8,000 lives were lost on Galveston Island.
11. The first word spoken from the moon, July 20, 1969, was “Houston,” but the Space Center was actually in Clear Lake City at the time.
12. The King Ranch in South Texas is larger than Rhode Island.
13. Tropical Storm Claudette brought a US rainfall record of 43″ in 24 hours in and around Alvin in July of 1979.
14. Texas is the only state to enter the US by TREATY, (known as the Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas to enter the union) instead of by annexation. This allows the Texas Flag to fly at the same height as the US Flag, and Texas may choose to divide into 5 states. Don’t antagonize us!
15. A Live Oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1500 years old.
16. Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state. Also the ugliest, with lily pads and tree roots all over the place.
17. Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. There is no period in Dr Pepper.
18. Texas has had six capital cities: Washington-on-the Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco, West Columbia, and Austin.
19. The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the US which is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington, DC (by 7 feet).
20. The San Jacinto Monument is the tallest free standing monument in the world, taller than the Washington Monument.
21. The name ‘Texas’ comes from the Hasini Indian word ‘tejas’ meaning “friends.” Tejas is NOT Spanish for Texas.
22. The State Mascot is the Armadillo. An interesting bit of trivia about armadillos is they always have four babies. They have one egg, which splits into four, and they either have four males or four females. You probably couldn’t have lived without that knowledge.
23. The first domed stadium in the US was the Astrodome in Houston.
24. The Beck family ranch land grant is one days ride by horse (25 miles) in each direction from the headquarters.
25. The name of the XIT ranch in Dalhart Texas stands for “Ten in Texas.” That means 10 counties in Texas!
Although not an established fact, I-35 in Austin is probably the world’s biggest parking lot. It must be, since the traffic never moves.
Do all these facts make you wish you’d been born here? We can’t change where you were born, but it’s not too late to move here. Just don’t move to Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, or Austin. We’ve already got way too many people in these five cities.
For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.
For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.
Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.