The History of the Weirdest Texas Town Names and How to Pronounce Them
From Ding Dong to Gun Barrel City and Gruene to Pflugerville, we’ve got you covered.
Second only to Alaska in size, the one thing Texas has more of than space is personality. Home to 3,300 cities and towns and centuries of history, it should be no surprise that when it comes to naming their real estate, Texans have gotten a little creative over the years.
From Ding Dong to Gun Barrel City and Gruene to Pflugerville, we’ve highlighted some of Texas’ quirkiest town names and more importantly, broken down the right way to pronounce them.
The name is a combination of the last names of the three men who established this tiny west Texas town: Balcom, Morrow and Rhea.
No yeti sightings here (we hope!). This spot was named for Texas revolutionary William A. "Bigfoot" Wallace, a former resident of the town.
Derived from viuda, the Spanish word for widow, legend says this small city outside Austin got its name from the widows who reportedly worked as cooks at the local hotel.
This unincorporated community was given its unique moniker after a swarm of insects spoiled a 1890s ice cream social. Talk about a grudge!
Cut and Shoot
According to the Texas State Historical Association, it was a heated community dispute that gave this Houston-area municipality its legendary name. Local lore states that a young boy at the scene declared, "I'm going to cut around the corner and shoot through the bushes in a minute!"
Until the first government post office opened here in 1877, each week residents placed outgoing mail and a dime in a small box for delivery to the nearest city, Giddings.
The funniest story on the list, the history of Ding Dong began in the 1930s with brothers Bert and Zulis Bell. The Bells ran a country store between Killeen and Florence. What started as a joke—a store advertisement featuring two bells labeled “Ding” and “Dong”—stuck with the town forever.
This Denton County town was originally named Clark, however residents voted to rename it in 2005 as part of a publicity stunt with Dish Network that would give them free satellite service.
Located on the north side of New Braunfels, this tightknit community was founded by Ernst Gruene in 1845.
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Gun Barrel City
The city's motto, "we shoot straight with you," inspired its name when it was incorporated in 1969.
Anybody who’s ever been to the Panhandle can understand why cowboys were so happy to find a spring here.
This Pecos County spot was named for local oil tycoons Ira and Anna Yates, who donated the land for the town.
D. Luther "Laz" Green and Andrew "Buddie" Sherley opened a store here in 1924 and named the town with a combination of their nicknames.
An area known for its natural spring, the name "Sweetwater" was already in use when the town applied for a post office. Instead, they went with the Native American translation, "Mobeetie."
This tricky town was named after Texas revolutionary Jose Antonio Mexia.
This east Texas gem, which calls itself “the oldest town in Texas,” was named for the Nacogdoche tribe of Caddo Indians who once resided here.
Named for German settler Henry Pfluger, the pronunciation of this Austin-area city has been stumping visitors for generations.
In 1927, local business owner Tant Lindsey submitted 14 book names for the town's name to the U.S. Post Office. The winner? Tarzan.
After postal authorities repeatedly denied a local merchant’s applications for a post office in his store due to the fact that all his suggested names were already in use, he finally submitted the name “Telephone” inspired by the fact that he had the only phone in the area.
Meaning "three languages" Terlingua was founded near Big Bend, where speakers of English, Spanish and American Indian languages met.
Legend says that this incorporated community on the shores of Caddo Lake got its name due to the difficulty steamboat captains of yore had mooring their vessels there.