Why is
North
Texas
called

North
Texas
?


The answer to this question is shrouded in mystery, confusion, and paradox and seems to go back so far into the history of Texas that it has been all but forgotten. It is confusing and paradoxical because common sense would seem to dictate that the most northern part of Texas would be called, or at least be included in, North Texas. The most northern area, however, is actually too far north to be called North Texas and is called the Panhandle instead because of its close proximity to the "panhandle" of Oklahoma.

Presumably the name goes back to the time when Texas was an independent country. In the beginning the region was referred to as the Red River/Trinity Forks area. After the Civil War this description was replaced gradually by the term North Texas. According to one theory, the change may have taken place because large numbers of northern sympathizers were believed to have lived there during the war. More likely, however, it was simply used to refer to the first population centers in the northern part of the country - Dallas and Fort Worth - to distinguish them from the cities of Austin and Houston to the south.

Although the Panhandle was always part of Texas, the name North Texas did not include it probably because few if any people lived there. Later when the Panhandle was settled, it was given the name Panhandle and the term North Texas continued to be used to refer to the original settlement areas in the north, but to the south and east of the Panhandle.

Technically, the region is now officially known as North Central Texas. Nevertheless, the original name continues to be commonly used to refer to the area and is the name of a multitude of businesses and institutions throughout the Denton, Dallas, and Fort Worth area and beyond. Despite geographical considerations to the contrary, the people of North Texas believe that they are the only people who live in North Texas - and, as if to reward their audacity, the rest of the state incontestably agrees.

Send comments, corrections, and any other opinions to Gene Hargrove.

August 25, 2000