Friday, March 05, 2010

Things: Installment 36

On March 2, 1836 Texas declared its independence from Mexico and won that independence at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. In honor of this week’s state holiday (for which David and I both earned comp time) – Texas Independence Day – and in celebration of Texas History Month, this week’s edition of Things will focus on some interesting facts about This Great State.

Things:  The Texas Edition

Here are some very interesting facts about Texas:

  1. Beaumont to El Paso: 742 miles. Beaumont to Chicago: 770 miles.
  2. El Paso is closer to California than it is to Dallas.
  3. The Waco Bridge was the first suspension bridge in the United States. Built in 1870, and still in use today, The Waco Bridge serves as a pedestrian crossing over the Brazos River.
  4. The world’s first rodeo was in Pecos on July 4, 1883.
  5. The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built over water.
  6. The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first full-time coach at Rice University in Houston.
  7. Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in North America.
  8. Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America’s only remaining flock of whooping cranes.
  9. Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson and was first marketed in 1978.
  10. The worst natural disaster in U.S. history was in 1900 when a hurricane, commonly called Isaac’s storm or “the storm,” pummeled Galveston Island and over 8,000 lives were lost.
  11. The first word spoken from the moon, July 20, 1969, was “Houston,” but the space center was actually in Clear Lake City at the time.
  12. King Ranch in South Texas is larger than Rhode Island.
  13. Tropical Storm Claudette brought a U.S. rainfall record of 43 in. in 24 hours in and around Alvin in July of 1979.
  14. Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY (known as the Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas to enter the Union) instead of by annexation. This allows the Texas Flag to fly at the same height as the U.S. Flag. It also allows Texas to be divided into 5 states.
  15. A live oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1500 years old.
  16. Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.
  17. Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885 and was originally made with pure cane sugar. The Dublin Dr Pepper is still brewed using the original recipe.
  18. Texas has had six capital cities: Washington-on-the Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco, West Columbia, and Austin.
  19. The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S. which is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. (by 7 feet).
  20. The San Jacinto Monument is the tallest free-standing monument in the world and is taller than the Washington monument in D.C.
  21. The name “Texas” comes from the Hasini Indian word “tejas” meaning “friends.” So contrary to popular belief, “tejas” is NOT Spanish for Texas!
  22. The State Mascot is the armadillo. Did you know the armadillo always has four babies at a time? There is one egg which splits into four, and the babies are either all males or all females.
  23. Laredo is the world’s largest inland port.
  24. Composer William J. Marsh of Fort Worth, along with lyricist Gladys Yoakum Wright, wrote “Texas, Our Texas.” This patriotic song was adopted in 1929 as the official State Song of Texas after being selected in a state-wide competition.
  25. The Edwards Plateau in West Central Texas is the top sheep-growing area in the country. And more wool comes from Texas than any other state in the United States.
Happy Texas History Month, everybody! Pop quiz next week. *wink*

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