Texas towns known for variety of traits

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, September 5, 2015

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If you pull off Interstate 35 East at Mile Marker 8, you’ll be greeted by a sign welcoming you to the town where I grew up.

“Itasca, the Big Little Town.”

What that means, exactly, I don’t really know. I’m guessing someone on the local chamber of commerce came up with it.

The “little town” part is quite obvious for a town of 1,500.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

But big?

Big hearts?

Big vision?

Big potholes?

Big traffic tickets on the interstate?

Just down the road in Italy (pronounced IT-ly by the locals), they apparently were not satisfied with being listed right before Itasca in the alphabetical listing of Texas towns. No, they had to go and one up us on the nickname front as well.

“Italy, The Biggest Little Town in Texas.”

I’ll see your “Biggest Little Town” nickname and raise you a “Home of the Wampus Cats,” the unofficial nickname for Itasca.

What say you, Gladiators?

After I graduated high school, I attended Texas A&M University-Commerce in Commerce, “Bois d’arc Capital of Texas.”

While attending school there, I met my future wife, who had attended school at nearby Cooper, which hosts the annual “Delta County Chigger Fest.”

Bet people were just itching to get to that one.


When I moved to Wise County, I first lived in “The Stagecoach Capital of Texas,” also known as Bridgeport.

I work in “Eighter from Decatur, County Seat of Wise.”

When driving through Chico, I’ve noted the “Limestone Capital of Texas” sign as you enter town.

Rhome seems to tout their proximity to other towns as “Crossroads to the Metroplex.”

A few years back, Runaway Bay made the chupacabra the official town mascot after a dead hairless raccoon discovered on the local golf course was first thought to be the mythical creature.

As someone who proudly supported the Wampus Cats, I certainly can appreciate that choice, am I right Chico Dragons?

Every town wants something unique it can call its own. We just can’t seem to resist coming up with nicknames or tying our town to odd or mythological creatures. Texas is just full of them.

Here’s some of my favorite Texas nicknames or slogans:

Anthony – Leap Year Capital of the World

Eagle Pass – Where Yee-Ha Meets Ol

Fort Davis – Where the Stars Come Out to Play

Odessa – Jackrabbit-Roping Capital of Texas

Burnet – It is pronounced BURN-IT, Durn-it, Can’t ya LEARN it?

Hereford – Town Without a Toothache

And, of course,

Happy – The Town Without a Frown

Take a moment on your next road trip to find out the nicknames or slogans of the towns you pass through.

But decide for yourself who really has the biggest little town.

Brian Knox is the Messenger’s special projects manager.

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