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Where Big Is Beautiful

The myths are magnificent but so is the reality.

What appeals most about Texas -and Texans- is the huge diversity.

Introduction from "Texas", Insight Guides

 

here is one word that people use more than any other to describe Texas: "big." Big ranches, big sky, big money, big smiles, big mountains, big fun, and, above all, big hearts. Plain and simple - Texas is a big place, and its image in the American mind has always been larger than life. It's been said that the US is a frontier nation and that distinctly American notions like "rugged individualism" were shaped by the vast wilderness that beckoned at the country's western border. Possibly more than any other state, Texas epitomizes this frontier ethic. And, as some people see it, the American spirit has blossomed here more fully than anywhere else.

For many people, Texas is America - the one place where the American dream is still alive, where the values and traditions that helped build the nation are still a viable part of the culture. Think, for example, of all the American icons that come from Texas: the cowboy, the sheriff, the six-shooter, the 10-gallon hat, the maverick, the oil baron, the longhorn, and the open range, just to name a few. And how many times have you seen a big-hearted, drawling Texan used to represent Americans as whole, slapping the world on the back and inviting it in for a barbecue? Distortions they may be, but they evoke an image an America recognized around the world.

Getting to know a place that is as broadly mythologized can be difficult because often we mistake myth for reality, settling for stereotypes or caricatures. So, it is important for travelers to strip away their preconceptions and try to pry the real Texas from its image. sometimes they are the same thing, but usually not.

The best way to approach the state is to forget about 'big Texas" and concentrate on something smaller. Texas isn't a single place, after all, and Texans arent a single people. There is much diversity here as there is anywhere else in the country and when you begin to focus on specific people, towns or places, the stereotypes will quickly fall away. Yes, there are cowboys and wealthy oilmen. also, ranchers, Native Americans, Latinos and plenty of horse traders. But there are also things that you never expected: a Vietnamese fishing community along the Gulf Coast, a Czech farming town out on the plains, or a community of artists in a dusty border town.

"Texans want to believe they're different, a reverberating quality that other places don't have," said the late author James Michener, who made the state the subject (and the title) of his 32nd novel and then came to live here. "Texas has a rather logical pull on the imagination of the creative artist. I have great respect for the Texas legend. How you specify that it is a legend and how it became a legend and so on is a tough artistic problem. But I have great respect for it."

 

Texas... Truly, A State of Mind.

 

Texas Flavor in Germany


Mountains In Texas?! Yessiree!

 

 

I have observed that many people have an impression that Texas is a "flat" state with no elevation at all... elevation in the sense of hills or mountains. Well, that is not true at all... they may not be record-breaking in altitude, but below you will find a compiled list of Texas mountains over a mile (5,280 feet) high:

 

The following list of named peaks over 8,000 feet in Texas comes from the Texas Almanac:

  • Guadalupe Peak 8,749
  • Bush Mountain 8,631
  • Shumard Peak 8,615
  • Bartlett Peak 8,508
  • Mount Livermore 8,378
  • Hunter Peak 8,368
  • El Capitan 8,085

 

The  Handbook of Texas Online lists the following additional peaks in its article on mountains:

  • Blue Mountain 7,835
  • Emory Peak 7,825
  • Lost Mine Peak 7,550
  • Sawtooth Mountain 7,748
  • Mount Locke 6,781

 

Other mountains that are marked on the Texas map in the Rand McNally Road Atlas include:

  • Chinati Peak 7,730
  • San Antonio Mountain 7,031
  • Sierra Blanca 6,894
  • Cathedral Mountain 6,860
  • Mount Ord 6,814
  • Goat Mountain 6,725
  • Cerro Alto Mountain 6,717
  • Newman Peak 6,650
  • Cienega Mountain 6,580
  • Santiago Peak 6,521
  • Victoria Peak 6,432
  • Gomez Peak 6,398
  • Star Mountain 6,350
  • Old Blue Mountain 6,286
  • Elephant Mountain 6,230
  • Capote Peak 6,185
  • Casket Mountain 6,180
  • Cathedral Mountain 6,122
  • Mitre 6,100
  • Major Peak 5,882
  • Leonard Mountain 5,860
  • Sue Peaks 5,857
  • Borachio Peak 5,661
  • Ranger Peak 5,653
  • Dome Peak 5,360

 

Also for you to consider, here is a list of Texas state and national parks -in the mountains- to visit:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources of information and pictures:

  • Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and Wikipedia.

 

 


Did you know that:

Texas is popularly known as The Lone Star State.

The Alamo is located in San Antonio. It is where Texas defenders fell to Mexican General Santa Anna and the phrase Remember the Alamo originated. The Alamo is considered the cradle of Texas liberty and the state's most popular historic site.

The lightning whelk is the official state shell.

Texas is the only state to have the flags of 6 different nations fly over it. They are: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and the United States.

Although six flags have flown over Texas, there have been eight changes of government: Spanish 1519-1685, French 1685-1690, Spanish 1690-1821, Mexican 1821-1836, Republic of Texas 1836-1845, United States 1845-1861, Confederate States 1861-1865, United States 1865-present

The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

During the period of July 24-26, 1979, the Tropical Storm Claudette brought 45 inches of rain to an area near Alvin, Texas, contributing to more than $600 million in damages. Claudette produced the United States 24 hour rainfall record of 43 inches.

More wool comes from the state of Texas than any other state in the United States.

Edwards Plateau in west central Texas is the top sheep growing area in the country.

Texas is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation.

The state was an independent nation from 1836 to 1845.

Texas boasts the nation's largest herd of whitetail deer.

A coastal live oak located near Fulton is the oldest tree in the state. The tree has an estimated age of more than 1,500 years.

Sam Houston, arguably the most famous Texan, was actually born in Virginia. Houston served as governor of Tennessee before coming to Texas.

Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.

The first offensive action of the Texas Revolution occurred in Goliad on October 9, 1835 when local colonists captured the fort and town.

On December 20, 1835 the first Declaration of Texas Independence was signed in Goliad and the first flag of Texas Independence was hoisted.

The Hertzberg Circus Museum in San Antonio contains one of the largest assortments of circusana in the world.

The capital city of Austin is located on the Colorado River in south-central Texas. The capitol building is made from Texas pink granite. It served as the capital of the Republic of Texas in 1840-1842.

Austin is considered the live music capital of the world.

Texas is home to Dell and Compaq computers and central Texas is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of the south.

Professional sports teams include the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Houston Astros, Houston Comets, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Texas Rangers.

Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. The Dublin Dr Pepper, 85 miles west of Waco, still uses pure imperial cane sugar in its product. There is no period after the Dr in Dr Pepper.

The first suspension bridge in the United States was the Waco Bridge. Built in 1870 and still in use today as a pedestrian crossing of the Brazos River.

In 1836 five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas: Washington-on-the-Brazos: Harrisburg: Galveston: Velasco: and Columbia. Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston in 1837. In 1839 the capital was moved to the new town of Austin.

The capitol in Austin opened May 16, 1888. The dome of the building stands seven feet higher than that of the nation's Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Texas comes from the Hasinai Indian word tejas meaning friends or allies.

The armadillo is the official state mammal.

Texas has the first domed stadium in the country. The structure was built in Houston and opened in April 1965.

The Houston Comets are the only team in the country to win four back-to-back WNBA championships. 1997-2000 Cynthia Cooper remains the only player to win the WNBA Championship MVP.

The worst natural disaster in United States history was caused by a hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900. Over 8000 deaths were recorded.

The first word spoken from the moon on July 20, 1969 was Houston.

Texas' largest county is Brewster with 6,208 square miles.

Texas possesses three of the top ten most populous cities in the United States. These towns are Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

El Paso is closer to Needles, California than it is to Dallas.

Texas includes 267,339 square miles, or 7.4% of the nation's total area.

The state's cattle population is estimated to be near 16 million.

More land is farmed in Texas than in any other state.

More species of bats live in Texas than in any other part of the United States.

Laredo is the world's largest inland port.

Port Lavaca has the world's longest fishing pier. Originally part of the causeway connecting the two sides of Lavaca Bay, the center span of was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961.

The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the world's largest rose garden. It contains 38,000 rose bushes representing 500 varieties of roses set in a 22-acre garden.

Amarillo has the world's largest helium well.

The world's first rodeo was held in Pecos on July 4, 1883.

The Flagship Hotel on Seawall Boulevard in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built entirely over the water.

The Heisman trophy is named for John William Heisman the first full-time coach and athletic director at Rice University in Houston.

Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other comparable area in North America.

The Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America's only remaining flock of whooping cranes.

Jalapeno pepper jelly originated in Lake Jackson and was first marketed in 1978.

 

      

 

 

'Bless Texas!

 

 

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