Friday, April 15, 2011

Texas Tidbits; Insider Secret - Where We Get Some of Our Tidbits

All About Texas
The Texas Almanac has been a leading reference book for those who are in search of information on any number of topics about Texas since 1857. While there were years when the Almanac wasn't published, it has been a yearly fixture of Texas publishing since 1925. I was browsing through it when I found an article about the early days of the automobile in Texas. Published in 1911, less than fifty years after the end of the War of Northern Aggression (Yankees call it the Civil War or The War Between the States), this article paints a picture of Texas as a very different place from what we see throughout the state today.

Remember that this article was published in 1911. It states, "Ten years ago an automobile was a curiosity in the leading cities of Texas. Five years ago the people in many counties had never seen what was then known as the horseless carriage. Today it is estimated that the number of automobiles in actual service in Texas will reach nearly 30,000 and that over $40,000,000 is invested in the machines. Reports, dated August 1, 1910, from 180
counties in the State show a total of 14,276 automobiles. A canvass by the Commercial Secretaries’
Association places the number at 30,000, which, at an average value of $1,500 each, would make the investment $45,000,000. This number is constantly increasing, and counting the life of a machine at three years, the new machines purchased to take the place of old ones cost $15,000,000 annually."Thirty thousand cars in the whole state? How hard to imagine is that? On any given rush hour, you'll find more than that many cars on Loop 610 in Houston alone. In 1911, there were barely over a thousand cars in all of Harris County. Dallas County weighed in with a hefty 1390 automobiles in 1911.

To view the entire article, click here and scroll down to the last article link on the page. There are other articles from the Texas Almanac at the link that tell us about the schools in Texas in 1873, the State Legislature in 1870 and the Almanac lists the composition of the State Congress as "Democrats and Conservatives 40; Radicals, 50...." What the hell would the publishers of this story in 1870 think about politicians today? I shudder at the thought. There is also a piece on survivors of the Texas Revolution written in 1872. I think you'll find some stuff that'll trip your trigger when you follow the link to the stories. As I mentioned earlier, the Texas Almanac holds a mountain of information regarding the Lone Star State, its people and its history and it's just a mouse click away. Go ahead. Click. You know you want to. You'll thank me later.  :)

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All Original Material © Toby Shoemaker