Strange names dot the map of Texas


It was 1880 and the residents of a small community in Travis County were ready to step into the big leagues by getting a post office.

This required getting the name of the town approved. Residents applied, but federal postal agents rejected their town’s name. So they came up with another one. It was also refused. So they tried a third name. It was refused.

After the sixth rejection, say historians and folklorists, locals sent a dry note to the American postmaster: “Let the post office be nameless and be damned!”

And so the town of Nameless, Texas was born.

The town has long since been abandoned and exists only as a stretch of Hill Country waiting to be developed by rich Austin guys. But it’s one of hundreds of bizarre and unusual names that dot the maps of the Lone Star State.


While a complete list would include hundreds of names, it is possible to pick out some patterns.

Towns usually adopted names for specific reasons, says Rhett Rushing, folklorist at the Institute of Texas Cultures.

Still others, he said, have named their small towns after big cities in order to gain attention.

This explains the Texas World Tour of city names, which includes Atlanta, Detroit, Paris, Carthage, Dublin, Naples and Port-au-Prince.

Other names, Rushing says, describe a city’s roots.

Bovina sprouted in a railroad terminal where cattle were shipped to market. Muleshoe developed around a blacksmith’s workshop.

There are Native American names, such as Bedias and Nacogdoches, and geographic names, such as Brushy Creek and Plains.

Other times there is geographical irony. Grandfalls is in a desert. The maple is found on treeless plains. And Big Lake has none.

Home-themed names include Home, New Home, and Mountain Home, but the most appealing name of all might be Sweet Home.

More good vibes can be found in Happy, Joy, Utopia, Paradise, Eden, Placid, Prosper, and Loyal Valley.

Some city names call for action: Grow, Draw, Tell and Crow. Others are downright authoritarian, like Needmore and Circle Back.

Hungry? There are oats, okra, muenster, lollipop and Apple Springs.

Male names hang all over the map, including Melvin, Nolan, Seymour and Chester.

Not all cities are so laid back. Please address the following towns by their full names: Ben Arnold, Ben Wheeler, George West and Tom Bean.

Women are also represented: Celina, Anna, Maud, Louise, Edna, Sarita, Alice, Donna, Mercedes and Maybelle. Some places just wanted a vague feminine vibe, like Sisterdale and Lovelady.

Iraan combines the names of Ira and Ann Yates, children of a local rancher. There is a town named after brothers IB Bell and ZO Bell, known to locals as Ding and Dong. Hence Ding Dong, a wide square on the road near Killeen.

Sacul and Reklaw, both in East Texas, were to be Lucas and Walker respectively. But when the post office turned them down, city leaders reversed the spelling of each one. Byspot, another East Texas town, flips the first name of Topsy Bennett, wife of a local mill owner, with a “B” tacked to the front for good measure.

Sometimes there is confusion when towns are placed in counties.

Seguin is in Guadalupe County, but Guadalupe is in Victoria County. Mentone is in Loving County but Loving is in Young County. There are other examples, but the winner is long: Athens is in Henderson County, Henderson is in Rusk County, Rusk is in Cherokee County, and Cherokee is in San Saba County, which surprisingly , is home to the city of San Saba. .

And then there are the completely weird names: Weeping Mary, Zipperlandville, Fly Gap, Looneyville, Fluvanna, Loco, Noodle, Cut And Shoot, Gun Barrel City and Lazbuddie.

Some names have simple stories.

According to one story, Bug Tussle got its name because the insects were so thick that the inhabitants had to fight their way through the swarms.

Uncertain (located near Marshall in northeast Texas) comes from either tugboat captains unsure of how to navigate Lake Caddo or residents unsure whether they lived in the United States or the Republic of Texas.

Dime Box popped up from nearby Old Dime Box. New Braunfels comes from the German town of Braunfels. But in the case of North Zulch, the original town of Zulch is gone, which makes it even dumber.

It is difficult to list all the unusual town names in Texas. The perfect place to do it, however, would probably be in Jot ’em Down, a bustling town of 10 in Delta County.

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