For 13 months beginning in 1944 Yankee journalist John Gunther traveled across the United States, visiting all 48 states (the number of at the time) and interviewed politicians, business leaders, and average folks to get a sense of what made each state unique. Though a Chicago born boy, he said he was writing as an outsider, since he had spent so many years living and working in Europe. He joked that he was “writing for the man from Mars.” He published his findings in 1947 in a book titled Inside U.S.A. Of Texas he wrote, “it is an empire, an entity totally its own.” Gunther found Texas big, diverse, and worthy of a brag or two. Of course, as we like to say, “In Texas, it ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.”
For those numerically inclined, this list is represents just a few Texas truisms worth bragging’ about.
1744—the year the foundation was laid for the mission San Antonio de Valero, which later became known as Pueblo de la Compañia del Álamo. Eventually, the mission simply became known as the Alamo, where the most famous battle in the Texas Revolution was fought, ending on March 6, 1836, with a Mexican victory.
March 2, 1836—the Declaration of Independence from Mexico was signed at Washington-on-the-Brazos.
59—the number of signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
March 6, 1836—Mexican forces under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna defeated the Texian defenders in the Alamo.
189—the number of men who defended the Alamo against the Mexican army. (The official number from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.)
April 19, 1836—General Sam Houston and the Texas army defeat Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto, winning independence from Mexico.
1836-1845—Texas is an independent nation: The Republic of Texas.
5—the number of presidents of the Republic of Texas.
8—the number of capitals of the republic and state: San Felipe de Austin, Washington-on-the-Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston Island, Velasco, Columbia, Houston, and Austin.
December 29, 1845—Texas is admitted into the Union as the 28th state.
6—the number of flags flown over Texas: Spanish, French, Mexican, Republic of Texas, United States, Confederate States.
254—the number of counties in Texas.
268,569 square miles—the geographical area of the state of Texas, equalling 171,901,440 acres.
801 miles—the length of the state of Texas, from its extreme northern border in the Panhandle to its extreme southern border southeast of Brownsville on the Rio Grande.
773 miles—the width of the state of Texas, from its extreme eastern bend in the Sabine River to the extreme western bulge of the Rio Grande northwest of El Paso.
624 miles—the coastline of Texas.
1,254 miles—the length of the Rio Grande River making up the southwestern border of Texas.
726 miles—the length of the Red River making up the northern border of Texas.
820 feet—the average depth of Palo Duro Canyon in west Texas.
Buildings & Monuments
308 feet—overall height of the State Capitol building, making it taller than the U.S. Capitol building in Washington DC.
570 feet—the height of the San Jacinto monument, the tallest stone column memorial structure in the world, commemorating the Texas Revolution’s Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, which ended in victory and independence for Texas. It is 15 feet taller than the Washington Memorial in Washington D.C.
25,000 pounds—total weight of Big Tex, the 55-foot mascot of the State Fair of Texas. That’s 19,000 pounds heavier and 3 feet taller than the original Big Tex, which was destroyed by an electrical fire in 2012.
2—the number of times cowboys drive the Fort Worth Longhorn Herd through the Stockyards (at 11:30 am and 4:00 pm).
4.8 million—number of pixels in the 20,633.64-square-foot “Big Hoss” video board at the Texas Motor Speedway, which in 2014 outsized the Dallas Cowboys’ 11,520-square-foot video board at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, as well as every other HD screen in the world.
15 acres—the size of Dealey Plaza Historic District in Dallas, the site of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
1—the number of stars on the state flag, making it the Lone Star State.”