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Questions should concern Texas geography or history,
be in English and answerable.
Questions and answers will be posted in this page.

Q & A

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Tuesday, December 26, 2000
I lived most of my life in a town on the Southeast edge of Dallas called Balch Springs. Do you know where the name came from? Everyone always calls it Belching Waters. Thanks, Tracy

Dear Tracy, According to the Handbook of Texas, in 1870, Balch Springs was named for landowner John Balch, who found the three springs, one of which was never dry. The perennial spring was kept cleaned and bricked up and became a gathering place for families in the area to fill their buckets and talk. Hope this helps!

Tuesday, December 26, 2000
Where is Hanley,Texas?

Dear Gary, I'm not sure about Hanlet, but Henly, Texas, is on US 290 abot 30 miles west of Austin. The small ranching communty serves as the gateway to Pedernales Falls State Park. Thanks for asking!

Monday, November 13, 2000
We manage the Lone Star Internet web site at http://www.lone-star.net. We have received several requests asking us where the "Lone Star" association with Texas came from. I realize the flag has but one "lone" star, but was wondering if there were any other reasons Texas is the "Lone Star State" or possibly reasons the flag has only one star. Thanks in advance for your help! Ken Biggs, President, Lone Star Internet, Inc.

Dear Ken, When I lead folks through the Capitol in Austin, I ask them this same question. Only a few natives know that, when Texas fought and won our independence, we has no official help from any other nation. Almost entirely volunteers, our army was all alone in our struggle for freedom. That fierce spirit of independence continues today. -Texpert

Tuesday, October 24, 2000
My grandfather helped re-build the Ft Davis historic site outside of Marfa. I did some reading and know that it was originally a buffalo soldier post and that not much action really happened there. But out of curiosity (and a report due a few weeks), can you give me some info on the rate of attrition/casualties due to Apache (or other Indian) activities? Granted, the heat and landscape probably did some damage, too. Thanks for your help, Jason

Dear Jason, My own great-grandfather was a blacksmith at Fort Davis in the 1870s. Try writing the the superintendent at the fort: http://www.nps.gov/foda/| They've got extensive records and can probably help you find more info. --Texpert

September 19, 2000
My daughter needs to know why Texas is called the land of contrast. She needs the answer for a school project tomorrow. Thank you.

Dear Dwade, Because of her incredibly diverse geography, varied culture, unique history, and always-changing weather, Texas earned the nickname " Land of Contrast" back in the 1960s. Other titles include "The Friendship State," "The Wildflower State," and, currently, "A Whole Other Country." - Texpert

September 14, 2000
I understand that I am considered a foreigner since I am from Missouri, but actually Missouri and Texas are more linked than you might know. Do you know what Texas city was once the capital of Missouri? Rebecca S

Dear Rebecca, Marshall, Texas, was the capital of Missouri in the final days of the Civil War. -- Texpert

Webmaster's Note: See Marshall ("All Things Historical" Column, 8-13-00), and Marshall ("TEXAS TOWNS" section)

September 14, 2000
What happened to "Mims Chapel," located in Cass/Marion Counties. Where was its actual location? Does it still exist? I can't find it. -
Angela P

The New Handbook of Texas reports that Mims Chapel, also known as Mims, fifteen miles northeast of Carthage off Farm Road 1186 in northeastern Panola County, was probably first settled after the Civil War and grew up around a church of the same | name. After World War II, many of the residents moved away, and by the mid-1960s only a church and a few scattered houses remained in the area. In the early 1990s Mims Chapel was a dispersed rural community. I couldn't find Mims on any maps! -- Texpert

September 14, 2000
Any info on Mabank, Texas ?

Dear Master Woo, Mabank, in southeastern Kaufman County, got its name from two landowners, Mason and Eubank, who lured the railroad to their area around 1900. Tourism from nearby Cedar Creek Reservoir is an important souce of income for its residents. - Texpert

Is there a town in Texas called "Lollipop" ? Thanks, Lynn

Dear Lynn, Not that I could find, but the Gulf Oil building in downtown Houston formerly displayed a giant revolving neon version of its orange logo. Locals called it the "lollipop." - Texpert

Dear Texpert: As a child, my father worked for "the phone company" in downtown Fort Worth and I was always fascinated by the old Flatiron building on the corner of 9th and Houston. I now work for the same company in the same building that he used to and pass by the Flatiron everyday. It still fascinates me and I continue to question it's history and style of architecture. I tried the Fort Worth convention/visitor's web site but could find nothing about historic buildings on that site. Any information or reference books that tell of the Flatiron history and style would be greatly appreciated. I am especially curious about the lion heads that circle the top of the first floor. Were they designed to be rain spouts for water drainage? It's been over a month since we've seen rain here, so I've never had a chance to observe this theory. - Ms. P. J. Harbruck

Dear M. Harbruck, From the New Handbook of Texas: The Flatiron Building in Fort Worth, designed by Sanguinet and Staatsqv in 1907, was one of the earliest skyscrapers in the Southwest, and at the time of its construction was one of the tallest buildings in North Texas. The 2,755 square-foot seven-story reinforced concrete and steel structure, the first of its kind in Fort Worth, was erected as a professional office building for Bacon Saunders, pioneer of medicine in Texas and dean of Fort Worth Medical College. It is situated at the corner of Ninth and Houston streets. The wedge-shaped site dictated the building's unusual triangular plan, similar to the famed Flatiron Building designed by Daniel Burnham in New York in 1902, from which it derived its name. The building's composition, a two-story base and a five-story body capped by a large cornice with sixteen terra-cotta lions' heads, echoed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan's practice of dividing high-rise structures into a base, shaft, and crown. The ornamentation, which is vaguely Sullivanesque, also suggests links with the contemporary Chicago School. The building became a state historical landmark in 1969 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971; it is the only flatiron building in Texas and one of five on the National Register. Let's pray for rain to test those lions' heads! Hope this helps. - Texpert

I am interested in the history of the West Indies Co. It is my understanding that it was a rice mill of sorts in El Campo TX. I have searched all over the web and seem unable to find anything on it.

Dear Rasputin, It's now known as Hancock Rice. For more info, here's a view of the company's historical mural: http://www.wcnet.net/elcampo/muralsof.htm Ask another! - Texpert

Geography in Gregg and Harrison counties -- Is this area "tropical," "sub-tropical," "semi-arid," "arid," etc.? Am having a running arguement with someone. know it sounds insignificant, but I would really like to know. Can you cite me a source on the Internet to bone up on the area? THANKS!!!! - C

Dear C, "Tropical" refers to how far from the equator we are. Everyplace between 23.5 and 35 degrees north latitude is "subtropical." Thus, all of Texas except the upper Panhandle is subtropical. "Arid" is all about rainfall--or lack of it. With nearly 45 inches of annual precipitation, Northeast Texas is considered humid. In Austin, we're subhumid (20"-40"/yr); West Texas is semiarid (10"-20"/yr). If you get 10 inches or less, you're arid. For more info on Texas' climate, try http://www.met.tamu.edu/met/osc/osc.html - Texpert

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