|Thirteen Things about Semitough:Last week Semitough was presented with the opportunity to take a road trip in Esposa’s new MegaSUV (sweet ride) almost halfway across this great state. Outside Abilene (Exit 264) I was reminded of some of the extremely strange and unique place names around the state. That prompted me to look at a map and find a few others to share with this audience. Here are thirteen Texas place names that I find interesting:
1. Noodle Dome Road – Exit 264, near Merkel, Texas outside Abilene. Merkel might rank an entry of it’s own, but as funky as Merkel sounds it is overshadowed by it’s suburb, Noodle, TX which sits on Noodle Creek near the geologic feature known as Noodle Dome. It is said that Indians, excuse me, Native Americans used to camp on Noodle Dome because it afforded a 360 degree view of the surrounding lower land. In the 20’s there was big talk of an oil find in the Noodle Dome field, but the boom never happened.
2. Dime Box, TX – Reportedly named after the practice of leaving a dime in a wooden box to have a letter carried to Giddings, TX, the nearest post office. Dime Box is dividen into Old and New. Like many Texas towns they have been moved to accomodate new highways or railroads that missed the town proper. Dime Box now is just a wide spot on the road to College Station. New Dime Box that is. You have to turn off on the county road to go to Old Dime Box.
3. Bobo, TX – Not much out there on the origins of the name “Bobo” but I mean really, Bobo? I’m trying to imagine the first city council meeting “Mr. Mayor I would like to submit that we should name our new town Bobo.” “Hey that’s a great idea! Let’s go with it.” I mean were they short of space on the water tower? And what do you call your football team? The Bobo Buttocks?
4. Gun Barrel City – Semitough
5. Looneyville, TX – Despite the name, this is not the location of the local nervous hospital, but you gotta wonder what their high school mascot looks like.
6. Rock Crusher, TX – You’ll never find a more literal name than Rock Crusher, TX. It was home to exactly what you would expect – a rock crusher. Founded by the railroads to produce ballast for their railroad operations a town of about 400 sprang up to support it. If they played football I can only imagine the fear in their opponents when they found out they were playing Rock Crusher next week.
7. Raggedy Creek – It’s not just towns that get into the act, there are a lot of odd named creeks here in Texas. Creeks are pretty much like a ditch that might or might not have water in it. Guess this one was a little down in the heels as opposed to other creeks that might have been a bit more dapper.
8. Stink Creek – Wonder if anyone ever said “Hey! Let’s go fish in Stink Creek!”? Somehow I doubt it. If it were being named today it would probably be Stank Creek. Funny thing is this odiferously named stream flows into Sweetwater Creek from which the city of Sweetwater takes its name. Wonder how sweet the water really was?
9. Backward Names – Many towns were named in order to be able to get a post office. Postal officials would not approve a town name if another already existed and had a post office in that name. Not to be deterred, Mr. Lucas and Mr. Walker upon finding that their names were already taken chose Sacul and Reklaw in order to get a post office, yet still enjoy the self aggrandisment that goes with having your name on a town. Mr. Bennett, wanting to honor his wife, Topsy, took her name and last initial to come up with Byspot. If it were me, Byspot would be the Home of the Fighting Dalmatians.
10. Boothill Cemetery – And you thought it was only in cowboy movies. The story goes that this bad guy shot a woman’s duck. She complained to the local Tascosa, TX Sheriff who, toting his shotgun, confronted the flagrant duck killer and demanded reparations. A slight hand movement to the belt by the perp resulted in said Sheriff releasing both barrels in his general direction. The story continues that since Mr. Black Bart the Duck Murdering Scourge of the Plains died with his boots on, the cemetery was so named. Either that or they copied the original one in Kansas.
11. Mobeetie, TX – Another one of those post office naming debacles. Considered the “Mother City of the Panhandle” and touted as the oldest town in the area, apparently they waited too long to apply for a post office and their preferred name, Sweetwater, was already taken. Once again undeterred a messenger was dispatched to nearby Fort Elliot to inquire of a local Indian scout how to say “Sweetwater” in his native language. I can only imagine the smile on the Indian’s face as he said what I am sure is something like “Land of Pale Wide Ass Cracks” in Apache. Today Mobeetie is a ghost town and Sweetwater is a thriving metropolis. I’m thinking they would have been better off with Stinky Creek City or something.
12. Chispa, TX – Spanish for spark. Apparently the spark burned out. Nothing but a railroad stop left in this West Texas town. To my ear sounds more like a drunk ordering a basket of “Chisp a nshalsha” at a taqueria.
13. Pyote, TX – This has got to be one of Willie Nelson’s favorite places. Named for native cacti which are enjoyed by Native Americans and hippies everywhere, Pyote has a pretty interesting past including being the next to final resting place of the Enola Gay, the US B-29 bomber that rained atomic fire on Hiroshima, Japan. You have to wonder if the WWII Army Air Corp boys ever discovered the local cacti. Perhaps they should have dropped those on Japan instead and called a cease fire to wait on their inevitible self enlightenment.
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