Weird Texas Place Names And Their Origins
One of the many benefits of traveling a lot for your job is that the back roads and byways, not just the interstates, become your beaten paths. The other day as I was driving through Cut and Shoot, which is a real town located near Houston, I decided to highlight a few of the weird and wonderful place names that have caused me to ponder just what the city or town founders must have been thinking when they came up with that one.
Cut and Shoot
Located near Conroe just 40 miles from downtown Houston, Cut and Shoot, or Cut n Shoot, has its own post office as well as city hall. It became an official city in August of 2006 and has a booming population of just over 1200 people. It became famous when boxer Roy Harris lived there in the 1950s and people from all over the world sent fan mail simply addressed to "Cut n Shoot", Texas.
The town is reportedly named from a comment made by a young man during a community dispute in 1912. The exact reason of the disagreement is not certain; it may have been a land dispute, an argument over the type of steeple to be built on the church or an argument over who could preach at the church. Regardless of the reason this young lad apparently voiced that he would "cut around the corner and shoot through the bushes" making a statement that has stuck ever since.
Yes, This Kind Of Happy
Happy, actually a town and not a city, is located in both Swisher as well as Randall counties. It is a short 35 mile drive south of Amarillo on I-27. Happy has a population of just over 600 people but is famous for a movie, being Google's default weather location on their homepage as well as being home to legendary rockabilly star Buddy Knox.
Happy is named after the natural spring that occurs in a draw (Texas for gully, valley or shallow canyon). It is believed that the area was called Happy since this is how saddle weary travelers and cowboys felt when they finally found fresh water in this rather parched area.
Gun Barrel City
Ok, maybe this isn't too weird for Texas, but it is a strange city name. Located in Henderson County on State Highway 198, formally known as Gun Barrel Lane, the city is actually named after the old road that the city is built beside. Surprisingly the community itself was only formed in 1960 and was specifically incorporated to allow beer and wine sales in an otherwise "dry" area.
The area around the old Gun Barrel Lane was frequented by the likes of Bonnie and Clyde and the road itself was named for an old farmer, Mr. C. L Wait. Mr. Wait reportedly sat in his living room with a shotgun pointed out the window, which he fired on individuals of dubious character that were traveling the roadway.
Gone But Not Forgotten
First established in 1880, Nameless is now just a ghost town located near Austin. Citizens that first founded the town in the mid 1800's wanted to name the town and obtain a post office within the town limits. They submitted at least 6 names, all which were rejected by the US Postal authority. Apparently someone on the city council or within the community sent a letter to the US Postal Service stating, "Let the post office be nameless and be damned!" And lo and behold, the Post Office did!
One of the most popular coastal tourist spots in the state, Corpus Christi also has a very unusual name. The literal translation of Corpus Christi is "Body of Christ". In fact Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda, a Spanish explorer, first discovered the area in 1519. It so happened that he touched land at that spot on the Roman Catholic Feast Day of Corpus Christi, and promptly gave the area the same name.
Currently Corpus Christi is home to over 280,000 permanent residents and that number almost doubles over the summer vacation and holiday months. With an average yearly temperature of 71 degrees Fahrenheit it is no wonder this is such a popular place to visit.
Located, believe it or not, not too far from such towns as Matador, Flomot and Gray Mule and also only about 70 miles from Happy, Turkey is another small town with a population of just under 600 people. It is rumored that the town is named after the large populations of wild Rio Grande Turkeys found in the area both historically and even today.
Turkey was home to legendary western swing musician Bob Wills. There is still an annual festival in his honor held in the town, which draws people and musicians from all over the United States.
The List Goes On
This is by no means a complete list of the unusual, weird and wonderful names found in this great state. Other Texas cities that should be on the list include:
- Bee Cave
- Tiki Island
- Carl's Corner
- Log Cabin
If you know of an unusual place name in Texas, leave a comment. Thanks for stopping by y'all!