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Letters: Curious Texas Town Names


Time now for your letters. This week, Melissa Block has been in Texas reporting and hosting the program from there and she's been exploring the origins of unusual town names. Bonnie Langham(ph) of Dime Box, Texas, told Melissa that that name came from 19th century settlers.

BONNIE LANGHAM: The settlers, if they had wanted to send a letter to somebody, they would leave their letter and a dime in the box.

SIEGEL: Then whoever was headed to the nearest town would take the letters and mail them. Well, Kevin Bellowtese(ph) of Louisville, Kentucky, wrote to tell us of an assignment that he remembers from the sixth grade. The class was to find times with interesting names and write to the postmasters about the stories behind those names.

He writes this: I picked the state with the most names and whittled the haystack down to Dime Box. Among the lucky few to get a reply, I parsed the priceless handwritten message with all the fevered excitement of Ralphie decoding in "A Christmas Story," only to learn that despite being touched by my inquiry, the postmaster was unaware of the quintessentially human story NPR shared. Mr. Bellowtese continues, thank you for solving the childhood riddle puzzling me for 37 years and saving the long investigative reporter's drive I'd have eventually made.

Martha Williams of Houston writes that as a native Texan, she was please to hear our story about Turkey, Texas, named for a nearby creek where wild turkey roosted and she offered up a new challenge. Would Melissa Block consider reporting the story behind Woman Hollering Creek? I've passed by the sign for that creek countless times, but I've yet to discover the meaning of that name.

Well, if Melissa finds out, she'll give you a holler. In the meantime, give us one. Write to us at NPR.org and click on Contact. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.