History

Take a Whirlwind Trip Across the World Without Ever Leaving Texas

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Ever wanted to visit Paris, London, or Italy? Well, here’s your chance to a take a trip across the world as you visit these unique cities located right here in our great state of Texas.

Below are five towns which will add a whimsical twist to your bucket list of adventures this spring. Experience the wonder of visiting these Lone Star treasures. Who needs to get on a plane and fly away to Europe, when Europe is right in our own backyard? Okay, not really, but having these Texas towns one picturesque road trip away is not too shabby.

1. Paris, Texas

Paris, Texas

Photo: By Jeanne Boleyn, via Wikimedia Commons

Often referred to as the “second biggest Paris in the world,” this quaint little town in Lamar County is located in northeast Texas, along the western edge of the Piney Woods and northeast of the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex.

Paris may have the Eiffel Tower, but Paris, Texas boast a 65-foot replica, situated at the site of the Love Civic Center, with a giant red cowboy hat crowning its tip. In addition to its historic downtown, Paris has many beautiful 19th-century to mid-20th-century houses. A noteworthy, annual event to catch is the “Hamfest,” which draws ham radio operators to Paris in droves the second Saturday of each October.

2. Italy, Texas

ItalyTexas1_(1_of_1)

Photo: By Renelibrary, via Wikimedia Commons

Touted as “The Biggest Little Town in Texas,” Italy is located in Ellis County, 15 miles south of Waxahachie and 20 miles north of Hillsboro.

Settlers founded Italy, Texas, in 1879, and began farming the fertile soil surrounding the community. Their crops included cotton, sweet potatoes, wheat, and corn. When the railroad came to town in 1890, Italy became a market center, and its population grew until the Great Depression. Italy claims Dale Evans, wife of beloved singing cowboy Roy Rogers, among its notable former residents.

You’ll find small town charm with all comforts of home in this Lone Star community.

 

3. Edinburg, Texas

Edinburg Texas

Photo: facebook.com/CityOfEdinburgGovernment

Founded on October 10, 1908, Edinburg, Texas, is located in Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley and serves as the county seat. “Edinburg lies at the epicenter of one of the most dynamic regions in North America,” shares its website, “a region that is keeping pace with the speed of change.”

With a strong sense of community pride found among its residents, the town boasts excellent quality of life, top-notch educational facilities, and a pro-business attitude. Edinburg “has been recognized as an All-America City three times by the National Civic League, placing it among a handful of outstanding communities in the nation.”

Having met a few fine folks from this area, this Hill Country writer can vouch that Edinburg is home to big-hearted Texans with no shortage of Lone Star hospitality.

4. London, Texas

London Texas

Photo: facebook.com/London.TexasDanceHall

Situated in Kimble County, London, Texas, is one for the bucket list. The community is a small town gem, to say the least, as the population is only around 180. The town square was designated as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1971.

Another interesting piece of history associated with this Texas town is a mysterious artifact called the “London Hammer,” a hammer made of iron and wood that was discovered encased in rock.  Some researchers regard the hammer as an out-place-artifact. They ask how a man-made tool could be contained within a formation of rock alleged to be 400 million-years-old.

Max Hahn and his wife found the artifact in the 1930s while taking a walk along the Red Creek near London. At the time, they thought it was only a strange piece of rock with a bit of wood embedded in it. The couple carried it home with them. It wasn’t until 10 years later, when their son Max broke the object open, that they discovered the hammer hidden inside the rock.

5. Athens, Texas

Athens

Photo: facebook.com/CityofAthensTexas

Athens, Texas, found in Henderson County, is often referred to as the “Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World.”

“Athens has the charm of a small southern town,” according to its website, “while still retaining many of the qualities of a larger city.” Visitors will find Athens a jewel of a town to explore for the whole family, from its great outdoors, to downtown shopping among art galleries and a historical museum. This Texas town is rich in heritage and ready to roll out the red carpet for visitors.