Fascinating Facts About Texas
There is a fine dining restaurant located inside a gas station in Watauga, Texas. Sometime around 2003, Nigerian born Franson Nwaeze was denied a bank loan to open a restaurant. Undeterred, Franson applied for a loan to open a gas station instead, which the bank approved. The result was Chef Point restaurant.
In the 1980s, United States spent more than $2 billion digging 24km of tunnels in Texas for a particle accelerator similar in scope to CERN, only to abandon the project.
Texas has its own military force, the Texas State Guard that unlike the Texas National Guard isn't subordinate to the federal government.
The city of Houston, Texas has a program where they train citizens to write tickets for handicap parking violations. After taking a course in proper procedure, you are given the authority to ticket anyone you see parked in a handicap spot without a placard.
A physical education teacher named Dale Irby in Texas wore the exact same disco-era polyester shirt and coffee-colored sweater vest in his school picture for 40 years in a row, until his retirement in 2013.
In the late 60s, a group of imposters from Texas pretended to be the British rock band the Zombies and toured throughout the U.S to sold-out shows. Two of those imposters (Dusty Hill and Frank Beard) would go on to form ZZ Top.
There's a town in Texas called Earth, and it's the only place on Earth officially named Earth.
During the University of Texas Tower Shooting in 1966, several frat boys and hunting enthusiasts rushed to their homes and trucks to get their rifles. Officers told them to shoot to kill.
In 2004, a party boat carrying 60 men and women capsized in Texas after all the passengers rushed to one side as the boat passed a nude beach.
Houston airport used to receive many complaints about baggage wait times. In response, they moved baggage claim further away so that the walk was longer than the wait. The number of complaints then dropped.
In 1989, Texas billionaire and former Presidential candidate Ross Perot wrote a blank cheque to fund and save the 500-year old Treaty Oak in Austin Texas which was poisoned by a vandal.
In 1986, a beer drinking goat named Clay Henry III was elected as a mayor of a small town in Texas, USA.
In 1937, a gas leak in the basement at the local school in New London, Texas caused a massive explosion which killed almost 300 children and teachers. It was the deadliest school disaster in US history. Adolf Hitler even sent his condolences by telegram.
Two privacy researchers from the University of Texas were able to unmask Netflix users' political and sexual orientation by taking the "anonymized" movie ratings (released as part of Netflix Prize) and comparing them against non-anonymized movie ratings posted at IMDB.
When the city of Austin, Texas asked people online to rename their Solid Waste Services Department, the winner was "The Fred Durst Society of the Humanities and Arts".
Actor Stephen Tobolowsky (Ned Ryerson) was held hostage at a Dallas Safeway when he was 25. A stranger stopped him and said "I see you have mangos, the most exotic of fruit" before putting a .45 to his head. Tobolowsky then gave the man his actual address and invited him over for dinner.
Lubbock, Texas has been ranked as the most boring city in the United States (100,000 inhabitants or more), partially due to its poor art, food, and music scenes.
In 1983, an 11-year-old boy named Brian Zimmerman was elected mayor of Crabb, Texas on the platform that he would work to incorporate the town even though it meant he would lose his seat. He was quoted as saying that "the mayor isn't there to sit and worry about keeping his job. He's there to do what's best for the people."
A city in Texas renamed itself to "DISH, Texas" in order to receive free Dish Satellite service for 10 years.
In the 1990s, an unassuming middle-aged Texas woman named Peggy Jo Tallas dressed as a male cowboy and robbed several banks without using a weapon. She was eventually caught and served 15 years. Upon her release, "Cowboy Bob," robbed another bank and was killed during her escape when she pulled a toy gun on police.
In 1997, a 23-year-old French con artist named Frédéric Bourdin impersonated and assumed the identity of a 16-year-old missing Texas boy, living with the boy's family for months, despite retaining his French accent and having different colored eyes from the missing teen.
In 2012, a Texas hospital named Mainland Medical Center billed a woman $4800 after she was in an accident. Once the hospital found out she received an insurance settlement, they sent her a new bill for $20,000+ and filed a lien against her property to get it.
Eagle Stadium is a $60 million high school football stadium in Allen, Texas. The project was highly controversial, considering that the money could have paid 120 teacher salaries for a decade.
A family in Texas in 1953 had a pet lion named Blondie. They never had any incidents with her and she died of old age, as a beloved member of the family.
Days after Hurricane Katrina, a 20-year-old man with extensive criminal history named Jabbar Gibson stole a school bus and picked up around 70 stranded people and drove 13 hours from New Orleans to Houston. This was the first bus to arrive at the Astrodome.
Texas no longer offers a special "last meal" to condemned inmates. Instead, the inmate is offered the same meal served to the rest of the unit.
In 2010, Taco Bell secretly reduced the sodium content of its food at 150 Dallas area restaurants by 23%. Without telling anyone, they replaced the salt with "other spices and other ingredients.” Two months later, they had received exactly zero complaints about the changes.
In 2016, a group of Texas prison inmates broke out of a holding cell to save a guard who had passed out with no pulse. The inmates got help to revive the guard. Then they were locked back in the cell with a thank you.
A man named Drew Robert Nelson in Texas was still executed after someone else confessed committing the murder and the only eyewitness admitted he didn't actually see it.
Sam Houston, the general who won Texas independence from Mexico, was removed from his post as Governor of Texas after refusing to support the Confederacy during the Civil War.
In 2014, Texas minister Charles R. Moore set himself on fire and died in the hopes of inspiring social justice. The act drew little attention.
A cat named Colby Nolan was granted an MBA from the Trinity Southern University of Texas in 2004 as part of an investigation to uncover the school as a diploma mill.
In 2011, a couple bought a box of old textbooks for $10. Inside, they found a 25-cent bill signed by the president of the Republic of Texas. It sold for over $63,250.
In 2014, a man named Henry Magee in Texas killed a cop who was executing a no-knock warrant. The man ultimately was not charged (with killing the cop) because he thought someone was breaking into his home. In Texas, you can use deadly force to defend self and property.
In 1999, 47 black residents of a Texas town were arrested on drug charges solely on the uncorroborated word of one undercover agent who was a member of the KKK. Many were sentenced to long prison terms, some served years before release. For doing this, the officer got 10 years probation.
Houston, Texas is the only major city in the U.S. that has no zoning laws.
Estelline, Texas ranks as one of the worst speed trap cities in the US. With a population of 168 people, it's only police officer (Barney Gilley) writes an average of 23 tickets a day bringing in more than $300,000 of ticket revenue a year.
In 1993, during the 51-day siege by the FBI on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, the FBI used sleep deprivation to try to force the suspects out. This included around the clock broadcasts of jet planes and screams from rabbits being slaughtered.
In 2008, a San Antonio news station had to call in a Bomb Squad after a chocolate cake wired to look like an explosive device. A number was written on the box which made the cake vibrate when dialed. Attached was a note signed by the Joker. It was all part of a marketing campaign for The Dark Knight.
In Texas, it is legal to kill Bigfoot if you ever find it.
A man named Paul Alexander in Dallas is still one of the few people in the world living in an iron lung.
There is an evangelical church (Inspiring Body of Christ Church) in Dallas, Texas that spent $4.7 million on their privately-owned fish aquarium.
Wild pigs are one of the most destructive animals in America causing more than $400 million of damage a year in Texas alone. They can dig 3 foot deep destroying crops and even feast on lambs, calves, sea turtle eggs, and everything in between.
A 124,500 square foot abandoned Walmart in McAllen, Texas, has been turned into the largest single-floor public library in the United States.
In 2014, a reckless neurosurgeon named Christopher Duntsch in Texas killed and paralyzed several patients over 18 months in spite of many formal complaints of his malpractice by fellow neurosurgeons.
A Texas school district Kerrville is so small that one person (Bill Bacon) "has been the superintendent, the principal, the third-to-sixth-grade teacher, the ESL instructor, the special-ed teacher, the repairman, the contractor". The Divide School uses white limousine as a school bus.
A Texas man named John Joe Gray barricaded himself in his home after biting a police officer during a traffic stop and refused to come out for more than a decade.
There is a Dr. Martin Jacobsen at West Texas A&M University that teaches Heavy Metal as a form of literature.
Texas charged a man who knew he was infected with HIV with assault with a deadly weapon after the man committed sexual assault. The court concluded that under Texas’ laws, infected semen could be considered a deadly weapon.
A Texas man named Bill Williams once spent 22 days using only his nose to push a peanut all the way up Pikes Peak (for a $500 bet).