Entry 801: The WTF Capital of America

In last week’s post about the Texas school board, I mentioned that the board had deleted a few things from history, like Hillary Clinton, Helen Keller and the Poteet Strawberry Festival.

I did some research into what is obviously the most important of those three, and discovered that Poteet is the “Strawberry Capital of Texas.” Then I looked into it some more and learned that Texas seems to be the Capital Capital of the World. Evidently, no town in the Lone Star State, no matter how small or undistinguished, is permitted to exist without a nickname proclaiming it to be the capital of something.

Here are some of the more intriguing ones, none of which I am making up:

Breckinridge is the “Mural Capital of Texas.” You may wonder how many murals a town of less than 6,000 people needs in order to be a mural capital. The answer, apparently, is eight. They’re all by the same artist, Billy Ines. Here’s one of them. Now that you’ve seen it, you can spend slightly less time looking for murals when you visit Breckinridge and more time doing whatever else there is to do there. But be warned: the Events Calendar on the town’s website, when asked for events during the two months from 9/25/18 to 11/25/18, responded with: “Results Found: 0.” So I hope you like murals.

Moving on, Brownsville is the “Chess Capital,” so declared via Resolution #610 by the Texas legislature in 2003, after its students had won multiple chess championships. One spokesperson said at the time that, “These kids have made great strides in chess in Brownsville. We need to honor them.” They maybe should give the kids a few bucks, too; Brownsville is frequently cited as having the highest percentage of residents in the nation below the federal poverty level. But maybe some of the chess masters can turn pro and sign endorsement deals with . . . well, whatever companies would benefit from celebrity chess endorsers.

Burnet and Llano are the “Bluebonnet co-Capitals of Texas.” I have nothing to say about this, other than asking you to picture the battle that must have gone on before this compromise was reached.

Caldwell is the “Kolache Capital.” A kolache is a tartlike Czech pastry. This is interesting because the town of West bills itself as the “Czech Heritage Capital of Texas.” I guess once Caldwell saw that general Czechiness was taken, it decided to get more specific.

Clifton is the “Norwegian Capital of Texas,” as opposed to Oslo, which must be the Texan Capital of Norway. Danevang is the “Danish Capital of Texas,” but I don’t know if that’s about people or pastries. If it’s the latter, maybe Danevang can challenge Caldwell to a bake-off.

Electra is the “Pump Jack Capital of Texas.” A pump jack is that oil well thing that sort of looks like a huge mechanical ostrich. On the other hand, Midland is the “Ostrich Capital of Texas.” That’s where you’ll find birds that look like huge biological pump jacks.

Lots of Texas towns are known for their food. There’s Elgin, the “Sausage Capital,” Friona, the “Cheeseburger Capital,” Hawkins, the “Pancake Capital,” Lockhart, “the Barbecue Capital” and Terlingua, the Chili Capital” (of the World!). If you can’t decide what to eat, visit Roanoke, the “Unique Dining Capital of Texas.” I went to Trip Advisor to check out Roanoke’s restaurants, but I didn’t see anything particularly unique. There’s one Albanian place, but it turned out to just be gyros–which you can find on pretty much on any street corner in Manhattan.

Fruit is well-represented in Texas, with the capitals of watermelons, seedless watermelons, ruby red grapefruit, Bois d’arcs (a sort of orange that is green), peaches and citrus. There are seafood capitals (crawfish, bass, big bass, shrimp, and catfish), plant capitals (redbuds, sunflowers, crape myrtles, daffodils, cacti, wildflowers and roses), and dance capitals (polka, square and Western swing). There are capitals for peanuts, pumpkins and pecans.

And we have a zooful of animal capitals: Dickens, the “Wild Boar Capital,” Glen Rose, the “Dinosaur Capital,” Hamilton, the “Dove Capital,” Hutto, the “Hippo Capital,” Jasper, the “Butterfly Capital,” Kenedy, the “Horned Lizard Capital,” Longview, the “Purple Martin Capital,” Odessa, the “Jackrabbit Capital,” Weatherford, the “Cutting Horse Capital” and Wills Point, the “Bluebird Capital.” Here are some FAQs about that list:

1. Are there many dinosaurs in Glen Rose? There used to be, apparently, because a lot of fossils have been found there. The animals themselves may have moved to Oklahoma.

2. Are there many hippos in Hutto? There are as many hippos in Hutto as there are dinosaurs in Glen Rose. According to legend, a circus train stopped in Hutto in 1915 and lost its hippo. Really. So, naturally, the town adopted it for its mascot (the hippo, not the train). It seems to me, though, that you should have a certain amount of something to be the capital of that thing. One lost pre-WWI circus animal doesn’t cut it.

3. Are there many horned lizards in Kenedy? Often I learn new things in doing this blog, as I did when I looked up the answer to this question: a horned lizard and a horned toad and a horned frog are all the same animals! And being the Horned Lizard Capital of Texas is indeed a great honor for Kenedy (motto: “Yes, that’s how we spell it!”) since the horned lizard is the official Texas state reptile, which it couldn’t be if it was really a frog or a toad, because then it would be the state amphibian. And, to answer the question, not as many as there used to be, but more than the number of dinosaurs in Glen Rose or hippos in Hutto.

4. Is there such a thing as jackrabbit roping? Yes. In fact, Odessa is also the Jackrabbit Roping Capital of Texas.

I could go on and on, because there are more capitals in Texas than there are in a Donald Trump tweet. But by far the best capital is Huntsville TX, the “Execution Capital of the World.”

Wouldn’t you love to meet the members of the Chamber of Commerce who came up with that?

See you soon.

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