much as it might hurt to admit it, Texas isnít perfect. Take its map,
While using the Rio Grande along with the Red and Sabine rivers as
borders -- along with invisible lines defined by a surveyorís transom
-- left the Lone Star state with an iconic silhouette, some of the
interior geography could use a make-over.
The Texas pledge speaks of this state as being ďone and indivisible,Ē
but the act of Congress that allowed the Republic of Texas to join
the Union in 1845 stipulates that Texas could be divided into as many
as five separate states. In light of that, over the years various
individuals and groups have advocated either an East or West Texas,
or a North and South Texas.
Obviously, nothing ever came of those proposals and Texas likely will
stay just like it is, one and undivided. But there is room for improvement
when it comes to the stateís cartographic configuration.
For one thing, letís go ahead and face up to it: Houston
isnít part of Texas and hasnít been for a good while. As the nationís
fourth-largest city with a multi-million metropolitan area population,
Houston is actually a city
state. In fact, its economy probably is larger than some countries.
So, needed map change No. 1: Organize the State of Houston.
Closer to the center of Texas, Austin
isnít in Texas, either. Singer Michael Murphy figured that out years
ago, observing, ďI donít live in Texas, I live in Austin.Ē
Letís steal a page from the federal government and create the District
of Travis. Keeping Austin
weird, its unofficial local slogan, wouldnít be any trouble at all
if it wasnít fully a part of Texas.
Beyond Houston and Austin,
several of the 254 counties need some place name tweaking.
seat of Caldwell County is Lockhart,
home to some of the best barbeque in Texas. But Caldwell,
Texas is the county seat of Burleson County. Clearly, a name
switch is in order. Burleson County needs to be moved to Lockhart
and the Caldwell County government shipped to Caldwell,
where it rightly belongs. The barbeque places would stay in Lockhart.
Out in far
West Texas, a lot of
confusion could be eliminated if Reeves and Pecos counties switched
handles. As it is now, Pecos,
Texas is the county seat of Reeves County, while in adjoining
Pecos County, the county seat is Fort
Stockton. All it would cost taxpayers to adjust this is the
price of a few new signs and printing new county stationery.
Not quite as
troublesome, but bearing consideration, is why Terrell,
Texas should be the seat of Kaufman County, while Sanderson,
Texas is the capital of Terrell County.
In the Panhandle,
is the seat of Sherman County, while in northeast
is the county seat of Grayson County. Since Shermanís a fair-sized
city, the Grayson County name needs to be shipped to the High Plains.
But given that the Panhandle
already has a Gray County, perhaps a more evocative name is in order.
Johnson City, named after one of former President Lyndon B.
Johnsonís forebears, is the county seat of Blanco County in Central
on the other hand, is county seat of Johnson County, south of Fort
Worth. Blancoís a nice name, but the name would survive since
is alive and well. So, Johnson City as the county seat of Johnson
County, with the citizens of the former Johnson County having the
privilege of coming up with an interesting new name.
the Rose Capital of Texas, is also the capital of Smith County in
East Texas. But thereís
Tyler County to consider. With apologies to any of his descendants,
the namesake of Smith County, James Smith, was not Texasí
most storied hero. He was a wealthy planter who just happened to
be newly elected to the Legislature when lawmaker created Smith
County. Clearly, some changes need to be made in these two counties.
is the county seat of Colorado County, named for the river that
flows through it, but way upstream, in Mitchell County, is Colorado
City. (Of course, the locals pronounce their town Col-low-RAY-do
City, so the confusion is minimal.)
This oneís touchy. No one would deny that Texas
needs a county named for Alamo
hero David Crockett. That county is in West
Texas, where Ozona
is the county seat. Over in East
is the county seat of Houston County. The city of Houston,
make that the State of Houston, is the seat of Harris County.
Texasís smallest political subdivision population wise, its capital
is Mentone. Just
for fun, why not moved Valentine
from Jeff Davis County to replace Mentone,
which could be sent to replace Valentine.
is the seat of Milam County, while Brownsville
is the capital of Cameron County.
None of these
changes are likely to ever happen, but itís fun to think about them.
Certainly, stranger things have occurred in Texas politics.
© Mike Cox
4 , 2004 Column, updated December 31, 2014
Related Topics: Texas Towns
| Columns | Texas