This Texas Tuesday, we're channeling Joe Friday and giving you just the facts, ma'am (and sir) -- nine "did you know" items, "whooda thunk" moments, and other tidbits about the Lone Star State.
- Texas comes from the Hasinai Indian word tejas meaning friends or allies.
- The Texas State Capitol houses the chambers of the Texas Legislature and the office of the governor of Texas. Originally designed in 1881 by architect Elijah E. Myers, civil engineer Reuben Lindsay Walker oversaw its construction from 1882–88. It is the largest, but not the tallest, state capitol building in the United States (though it is seven feet higher than the nation's Capitol in DC). And no, your eyes do not deceive you ... the building is made of Texas pink granite. (See our Flickr slideshow of the Texas State Capitol.)
- The Hertzberg Circus Museum in San Antonio contains one of the largest assortments of circusana in the world.
- Though it's now established as the capital city of Texas, Austin was once the capital city of the Republic of Texas from 1840 to 1842. This makes it one of the few cities in the country to be both a country capital and a city capital.
- The armadillo is the official state mammal. The lightning whelk is the official state shell.
- Be warned: Texas will drive you batty. That's because more species of bats live in Texas than in any other part of the U.S. Check out the Mexican free-tail variety up close in Austin, where 1.5 million of them live under the Congress Avenue Bridge. Each night, from March through October, these winged Austinites take flight across the city to grab their grub. (When you come for the National Preservation Conference, snag a spot on the bridge and watch the excitement!)
- 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.
- The highest point in Austin is Mount Bonnell at 785 feet -- a delightful break from Texas's usual flatness. Remember when our colleague Jason climbed to the top? Check out his views.
- Our apologies to anyone from Rhode Island, but the King Ranch in Texas is bigger than your entire state.
What fun facts do you know about Texas? Share them here!
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