Saturday, November 9, 2013

Texas A-N

Well, everything’s bigger in Texas, isn’t it? So, we shouldn’t be too surprised that they’ve got two posts of funny names. This week, we’ve got A to N. Next week, it’s O to Z.  

The funny thing, though, is that there are plenty of other states with two posts worth of stuff as well. In fact, Texas comes in a distant second when it comes to states like New York and Pennsylvania, which have three. Well, what do you think of that, Texas? Huh? Hey, I’m talkin’ to you!

(Oh, oh. Does that constitutes messing with Texas? I guess I’m in big trouble now.)

10. Novice

What an incredibly non-boastful, all-humble-like, non-Texan thing to call your little burg.

Novice got started when the citizens of Atoka (formerly Tyro) and Rough Creek moved and combined their little towns to take advantage of a new rail line built nearby by the Santa Fe. They happened upon Novice because they associated that word with a “new beginning.” Hmm … I guess nobody in town owned a dictionary, huh? 

Novice is in the center of the state, and currently features 140-some Novices. Back in the ‘30s, in the midst of an oil boom, it had four times as many. 

The great state of Texas also includes a Humble and a Humble Camp. Hmm … Maybe I’ve got these people all wrong.

A true Novice

9. Bee House

I could be wrong, but don’t we mean “bee hive” here?

Well, I was right – as were the local citizens. Turns out it was the Post Office who screwed everything up. Yup, the locals asked for Bee Hive (for the many bees in the area), but the geniuses in DC sent back Bee House instead. Or so the story goes …

This tiny enclave of 40 is – once again – in the center of the state, a little southeast from Novice. 

Other apiologically oriented Texas towns include Bee Cave and Beeville.
Everyone loves a mouse pad, right?
I mean, they make the perfect gift.

8. Circle Back

So, this pretty darn useful and official-looking site says that this place “was named for a ranch to the south whose brand was a circle on the backs of cattle.” Hmm ... I don’t know if I’m totally buyin’ it.

They also have a pretty good history of the town and its ups and downs:

From 1918 to 1954 the settlement had a six-grade school and at one time about a dozen houses, a filling station, and a store-post office. Zue Smart ran the store, which burned in 1954. In 1949 the community, which served surrounding cattle and sheep ranches, had 100 people. By 1980 the population had dwindled to forty-nine, and by the mid-1980s only the Baptist minister and his wife and two children remained. In 1990 and again in 2000 the population was reported as ten.

Zue, huh? 

Circle Back is near the New Mexico border, about midway between Amarillo and Lubbock. It’s just east of the wonderfully evocative Needmore.

Why? Did I miss something?

7. Cuthand

Okay, so it’s probably not enough to tell you this place was named after Cuthand Creek, is it? So, how about if I let you know that the creek was named after a Delaware Indian named Cuthand? Would that be enough? No? You want to know how he got his name? Dang! I was afraid of that.

Not a whole lot to this place that I haven’t already mentioned, I’m afraid. It does have about 115 people. And it is in the northeast corner of the state, about halfway between Paris and Texarkana.

Ohmigod! You’re not going to believe it. Cuthand has its own sasquatch, the “Cuthand Critter.” Don’t believe me? Well, look right here!

Not the Cuthand Critter
(but a wild boar instead)

6. Muleshoe

It was named after Muleshoe Ranch. The ranch’s owner named it that after finding a mule shoe on his land. Kinda boring and obvious, huh?

Muleshoe represents our first – and only – foray in this post into the realm of real cities. Yes, it’s true. Muleshoe has over 5,000 people and is also the county seat. Some of the attractions of this major metropolis include the:
  • National Mule Memorial
  • Muleshoe Heritage Center
  • Tour de Muleshoe bicycle race
  • World Championship Muleshoe Pitching Contest

Muleshoe is in the northwest corner of the state, less than 20 miles from Circle Back.

I don’t know about you,
but I’m feeling inspired

5. Belcherville

The town fathers were divided between this, Burptown, Ructus Junction, and Eructation Station.  
Seriously, this place was named by the founders, John and Alex Belcher, who owned a huge ranch in the area. The surname is originally French, from the two words beau and chere, and basically means a person with a cheerful disposition.

Belcherville is just east of Wichita Falls. There are 30-some Belchervillians. At one time, B-ville was the smallest incorporated town in the US.

The Tomb of the Unknown Cowboy
Belcherville Cemetery

4. Chocolate Bayou

Linda Ronstadt song, right?

Would you believe the explanation for this one is “descriptive”? Yup, the bayou’s particularly “heavy silt load” really does make it look like something straight out of Willy Wonka.

Actually, there seems to be a lot more to the bayou than to the town. The latter’s got only 60 people, but the former is a pretty major topographical feature in the area. In fact, it flows over 20 miles, from just south of Houston and down into the Gulf at Chocolate Bay. 

Maybe that’s what explains the existence of the Chocolate Bayou Credit Union. Yup, you can get a Chocolate Bayou checking account or a Chocolate Bayou credit card … and at any of five conveniently located branches throughout the greater Alvin / Pearland / Manvel area.

There’s a little bit of history here as well. The area was originally owned by Stephen Austin, and a sister of his owned a plantation, Peach Point, nearby.

You thought I was making that up,
didn’t you?

3. Noodle

What is it about words that end with “oodle”? I mean, you’ve got poodle and doodle, and oodles, and strudel. And that’s totally apart from why anyone would want to name a town after a basic foodstuff anyway.

So, where’s it from? According to the TSHA (that’s the Texas State Historical Association, not the guys at the airport), it’s from Noodle Creek. And that creek got its name because it was dry, “noodle” being an old-timey way to say nothing, nada, zilch …

Noodle is just northwest of Abilene. There are about 40 Noodlers. The wonderfully named Noodle-Horn school there closed in the 1970s.

Couldn’t find much else on Noodle, though I did find this priceless – and completely nonsensical – search result:

Noodle Tutoring in Noodle, TX - WyzAnt Tutoring › TX › Taylor County‎
It's easy to find a Noodle tutor. WyzAnt has thousands of tutors nearby and ready to help you.

2. Earth

“So, where ya from?” “Earth.” “C’mon, smart ass, what town are ya from!?!”  “I already told you, Earth.”  [kerpow!]

So, here’s the story. Earth began as Fairlawn, which is what developer William E. Halsell called it when he first laid out the town. Unfortunately, there was already a Fairlawn in the state, so Halsell and the townsfolks had to come up with something else. 

And here’s where things start to fall apart ... According to Wikipedia, “the townspeople sent in suggestions, and the agreed-upon best name was chosen.” Kinda makes you wonder what the townsfolk might have been drinking when they all agreed upon this as the “best” name, don’t it?

A second theory (from the Texas State Historical Association again) is that the town was “supposedly named for a sandstorm blowing when storekeeper and first postmaster C. H. Reeves had to come up with a name.” Once again, I’m not sure I totally get it.

My favorite explanation (once again from the TSHA site) is that the post master submitted “Good Earth,” but the post office shortened that and came back with just plain “Earth.” I don’t know though. I’m still not totally convinced.

Well, wherever it came from, Earth is in the northwest corner of Texas (near Circle Back and Muleshoe, in fact). There are a little over 1,000 Earthlings. Nearby attractions include Blackwater Draw (fossils) and Plant X (an oddly named power plant).

1. Cut and Shoot

Seems to be a lot of cutting going on in the Lone Star State. In addition to Cuthand, above, Texas also includes a Cross Cut.

As for Cut and Shoot, the Internets are full of stories about some fracas in the town, with some little boy talking about “cutting around the corner” and “shooting through the bushes” when things got too hot. I don’t know. I’m afraid that’s just a little too colorful for me (and also for this totally random guy too).

I was thinking that I’ve heard the phrase “let’s cut and shoot” before as a way to say “let’s skedaddle.” I do know that, separately, that’s what both do mean. Searches on Google, though, only brought up things relating to:
  • A basketball drill
  • A knife
  • A fashion photography studio
  • A race horse
  • Some rap lyrics (“Get on the cut and shoot your shot!”)
  • Trimming your willow tree (“Initial Effects of Brush Cutting and Shoot Removal on Willow Browse Quality”)
  • Chinese gangs in San Francisco fighting each other back in 1898 (“Chinese Cut and Shoot Each Other”)

Ah well, there goes that theory.

The town? It looks like a bedroom community of about 1,100 people, just north of Houston. They have one famous son, Roy Harris, a boxer who lost a world heavyweight championship to Floyd Patterson in 1958.

Formerly BJ’s BBQ Shack and Bait Shop

Honorable Mention: 
  • B-o-r-i-n-g – Forest, Dale, Meadow (and Meadows), Lawn, Hills, Canyon (and Canyon City), Cove, Center, Central, Center Point, Centerville, Center City, Junction, Midland, Midcity, Midway, Halfway, New Home
  • Short and sweet – Okra, Iola, Eola, Era, Ida, Ira, Mico, Hico, Dido, Bebe, Bula, Buda, Buna (polka dot house), Burr, Hub, Hogg, Hye, Hart, Mart, Lott, Guy, Joy, Flo, Nell, Dean, Dew, Doss, Fife, Elk, Blum, Krum, Arp, Art, Ace, Boz
  • Just a little off color – Gay Hill, Climax
  • Orthographically challenged – Harrold, Kenedy, Kalgary, Iraan, Chappell Hill, Leakey, Drane, Kurten, Leming, Kyote
  • Numerically oriented – Duplex, Double Oak, Double Bayou, Camelot Two, Four Way
  • Native American mouthfuls – Nacogdoches 
  • Atypical adjectives – Freer, Direct, Concrete, Canadian (ranch from Castaway), English, Cool, Crisp, Happy, Jolly (and Jollyville), Moody
  • Unconventional verbs – Hooks, Echo, Call, Dial, Draw, Groom, Grow, Bend, Battle, Crews, Converse, Cost, Cash, Hoard, Loving, Loop, Lull, Deport, Dies
  • Abnormal nouns – Friday, Frost, Hail, Dawn, Sparks, Antelope, Cactus, Oaks, Nursery, Nickel, Mineral, Magnet, Maverick, Matador, Majors, Marathon, Miles, Mercedes, Flat (and Flats), Edge, Circle, Cistern, Cyclone, Cone, Carbon, Clay, Chalk, Cheek, Cologne, Comfort, Blanket, Blessing, Bells, Birthright, Nobility, Knickerbocker, Locker, Impact, Energy, Grit, Gunsight, Duster, Domino, Dinero, Divot, Dimple, Fairy, Faker, Nada, Lollipop 
  • Fun to say – Fink, Fritch, Clegg, Clute (mosquito festival), Gruver, Mingus, Millsap, Nelta, Knippa, Hutto, Lubbock (Buddy Holly Museum), Lufkin, Friona, Flatonia, Fredonia, Fluvanna, Floydada, Mobeetie, Bovina, Brazoria, Bastrop, Ledbetter, Elmendorf, Higginbotham, Heidenheimer, Falfurrias
  • Hard to say – Broaddus, Flomot, Katemcy, Goldthwaite
  • Just plain weird – Goodnight, New Deal, New Willard, Notwal (Lawton backswards), Country Campus, Cool Crest, Levelland, Lovelady, Bluegrove, Barwise, Beaukiss, Bracketville, Black Jack, Box Elder, Boys Ranch, Big Sandy, Grand Saline (house built of salt), Flat Fork, Honey Island, Happy Union, Jim Town, Cheapside, Needville, Gouldbust, Addicks Katy, Bruceville-Eddy, Medicine Mound, College Mound, Looneyville, Mudville, Cee Vee, Ding Dong, Devils Pocket, Bug Tussle, Frognot (and Frog), Jot Em Down
  • Just plain weird, cities division – Beach City, Horizon City, Electric City, League City, Crystal City (statue to Popeye), Close City, Coy City, Gun Barrel City
  • I’d like to introduce you to – Kermit, Elmo, Mickey, Nemo, Bigfoot (as well as just plain Foot), Edcouch, Alanreed, Allenfarm, Howardwick, Maryneal, Maypearl, Burkburnett, Ben Hur, Ben Arnold, Ben Franklin
  • Ghost towns – Acme, Cuthbert, Bankersmith, Ben Ficklin, Fry, Burning Bush, Nix

No comments:

Post a Comment