The Cities of Texas – Part 1

The capital city of Texas is Austin which has a population of around 950,000 people which makes it the 11th largest city in the United States. The city is located virtually in the centre of the state and is the home to a number of different waterways and lakes. The city was named after the republic’s first secretary of state Stephen F Austin. Its popularity as a settlement grew as the waterways made it a nice place to live and its location was at the cross roads of rail routes between the major population areas within the State.

Soon educational and government establishments were locating in the city. Downtown Austin was designed by Edwin Waller in 1835 and he produced a 14-block plan that forms the basis of the city today. In 1888 the State Capitol Building was constructed which confirmed Austin’s role as the capital city. This had been previously challenged by Sam Houston who had wanted the capital to be in his city. As the city has grown as an educational centre it has attracted high tech industries into its region.

The State Capitol Building in Austin

There is a close relationship between the university of Texas and local industries which means that Austin is flourishing economically. The city claims to be the cleanest city in the United States with a complete smoking ban and is a popular place for tourists to visit. Fort Worth is only 32 miles from Dallas and forms part of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Alington metropolitan area holding a population of 7,700,000 people. The city itself supports 850,000 residents and as the name suggests was created in 1849 as an army outpost overlooking the Trinity River.

The city first started to grow as a result of being a stop off for cattle drives as herdsman were taking their cattle north to market. As a result of this business people started to settle and the area started to boom once the railway arrived in 1876. A great deal of the city’s early business flourished around the cattle industry, and there was time it resembled a “wild west city” as cattlemen on their journeys appeared keen to do away with their wages. Raucous bars and gambling dens left certain areas off limits to normal people, and the jails were constantly fully occupied.

At the start of the 20th century the city benefited from the discovery of oil in the area and businesses took residence in the city. More recently natural gas has been found in the area, and even under the city, leading to more economic activity. Today the city has attracted a wide diversity of economic activity to the region. El Paso is situated in the far west of the State and contains 650,000 residents which makes it the 20th largest city in the United States. It is located on the Rio Grande River and is separated from the Mexican city Ciudad Juarez by just 7 miles.

Fort Bliss in El Paso

With the border only being 2 miles away it is hardly surprising that the population is made up of 80% Hispanic white descent. The city was original a settlement in New Mexico but in 1848 it became part of Texas, and when Texas joined the United States in 1850 so did El Paso. Due its location the city has a strong military and federal presence with Fort Bliss being located in the city. Fort Bliss is one of the biggest military complexes in the country with the largest training area. The Drugs Enforcement Agency also has its Headquarters in the city, as so does the United States Border Patrol.

Many other spin off companies have thrived in the city and it is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. It is also one of the safest cities in the United States to live in, and the high standard of education is reflected with it being the home of the University of Texas at El Paso. The cities in Texas are some of the largest in the country and are continuing to grow. Their size does not distract from the fact that some of them are the most popular places in the country to live