Remapping of the Lone Star State
& Place Name Tweaking
of Several Counties and County Seats
of hearing and reading about the election? While the political dust settles, letís
consider a bit of geographic fantasy, a remapping of the Lone
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 some features on the Texas
map could use one of those makeovers you see on the cable channels.
instance, letís go ahead and face up to it: Houston
isnít part of Texas and hasnít been for a good while.
As the fourth-largest city in the nation with a multi-million metropolitan area
population, Houston is actually a city-state.
In fact, its economy probably is larger than some countries.
change No. 1: 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, a trendy
local slogan, wouldnít be any trouble at all if it wasnít really part of Texas.
Beyond Houston and Austin,
several of the 254 counties need some place name tweaking.
county 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, Stratford
is the seat of Sherman County, while in northeast
Texas, Sherman 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. Caprock
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 Blanco,
Texas 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.Tyler,
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 Smith County was created. Clearly, some changes need to
be made in these two counties.Columbus
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 Call-low-RAY-doh City, so
the confusion is minimal.)Crockett
County. 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 Texas,
Crockett is the county seat
of Houston County. The city of Houston,
make that the State of Houston, is the seat of Harris County.
November 4 , 2004