TexasEscapes.com Texas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1600 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 
  Texas : Features : Columns : "Texas Tales"
Punkin Center

by Mike Cox
Mike Cox
An old Irish legend that must have come to Texas with some of its earliest settlers has grown into a profitable business for Lone Star farmers – cultivating a variety of squash that sells by the ton every fall.

We’re talking about pumpkins, of course. Or, to the Texas tongue, punkins.

It’s not too difficult to dig up the tale that transformed pumpkins into edible holiday icons, but there is an interesting puzzle of geographic nomenclature to consider: The Punkin Center Phenomenon.

If anyone ever tells you that they’re from Punkin Center, better ask them to be more specific. Unique as that place name might seem, Texas has four different communities called Punkin Center.

Listed alphabetically, there’s Punkin Center in Dawson County, Punkin Center in Eastland County, Punkin Center in Hardeman County and Punkin Center in Parker County. Oh, and in Wichita County, the community of Haynesville is locally known as Punkin Center even though Haynesville is the official name.

Elsewhere across the United States, four other communities call themselves Punkin Center. But unlike Texas, which has to be bigger about everything, each of the non-Texas Punkin Centers is in a different state – Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana and Missouri.

Strange as the name Punkin Center may seem, according to the Web site www.placesnamed.com, Punkin Center is the 4,438th most popular town name in the U.S. It also shows up on a Web site devoted to America’s funniest town names, but that site lists Punkin Center, KS, not the Texas PCs.

Texas singer David Allen Coe sure likes the name. In 1976, he recorded a song called “The Punkin Center Barn Dance.”

But here’s the weird thing about Punkin Centers in Texas. None of them are in counties particularly known for their bounteous pumpkin crops.

Floyd County, which has an annual Punkin Festival but no community named Punkin Center, is the top pumpkin-producing county in Texas. Other prolific producers of pumpkins are Bailey, Hale, Lamb and Lubbock counties.

Texas A&M University says Texas ranks in the Top 10 of pumpkin-producing states (but don’t forget we’re No. 1 in terms of number of Punkin Centers). The estimated value of Texas’ annual pumpkin harvest is $4.6 million, most of the pumpkins going for ornamental (read: Halloween) purposes.

And that brings us back to that old Irish folktale, ... next page ( Jack-O’-Lantern)

© Mike Cox
More "Texas Tales" October 27, 2004 Column
 
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES
Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South |
West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | MAPS

TEXAS FEATURES
Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII |
History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books | MEXICO
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters |
Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators |
Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Corner Stones | Pitted Dates |
Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | USA

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us
Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE
Website Content Copyright ©1998-2007. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: October 27, 2006