50 legendary things that are actually native to Texas

Posted on April 3, 2017

From its history as a rugged territory populated by cowboys, cattle and cougars to its present day status as a bastion of southern values, scenic drives and Friday night football, Texas inspires great things. Here are 50 of them:

Texas-made eats & drinks

Texans eat well and that tradition started long before we became a state. Spanish and Mexican influence and frontiersmans’ need for hearty, protein-packed meals led Texas settlers to create early versions of dishes we now know as chili, chicken-fried steak and fajitas.

We soon developed a fierce addiction to sports, prompting locals to invent some of the most delicious game-day comfort foods known to humanity. Tarrant and Dallas County inventors brought us the stadium nacho, frozen margarita, corn dog and Slurpee. Companies based in McLennan and Collin counties masterminded Dr Pepper, Frito Lay chips and Big Red.

You can thank Lavaca County residents for Shiner Bock beer and Texas A&M University in Brazos County for the “Texas Star” Ruby Red grapefruit.

Texas-born stars

Texas has produced some of Hollywood’s most recognizable film and music stars, including:

  • Beyoncé (Harris County)
  • ZZ Top (Harris County)
  • Chuck Norris (Harris County)
  • Townes Van Zandt (Cass County)
  • T-Bone Walker (Cass County)
  • George Strait (Atascosa County)
  • Willie Nelson (Hill County)
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan (Dallas County)
  • Tommy Lee Jones (San Saba County)
  • Selena (Brazoria County)
  • Janis Joplin (Jefferson County)
  • Matthew McConaughey (Uvalde County)

We can also lay claim to the legendary Texas Rangers law enforcement agency, the nation’s first female aviator, Bessie Coleman of Cass County, hundreds of award-winning films and television shows, and three U.S. presidents. George H. W. Bush lives in Harris County, George W. Bush owns land in Dallas and McLennan counties and LBJ’s homestead crowns Blanco County.

Texas-built innovations

Considering Texans’ cowboy roots, it’s no surprise that our very own Reeves County hosted the world’s first rodeo. Now, seven major league sports teams are based throughout Harris, Dallas and Bexar County, through which Texas has produced Nolan Ryan and 23 NFL Hall of Famers, built the Houston Astrodome, and coined the terms “Heisman Trophy” and “Super Bowl”.

However, Texas doesn’t just shine on the baseball field. We’re also a hub of innovation. We installed the first farm-to-market road ever in Sabine County. Dallas-based Texas Instruments created the handheld calculator, integrated circuit and microchip, and other independent area inventors designed liquid paper, the ATM and the planned shopping center.

Additionally, University of Texas scholars engineered selective laser printing and Schlitterbahn in Comal County became the world’s first waterpark.

Texas-grown natural features

Texas arguably encompasses some of the nation’s most beautiful landscapes — the most dramatic of which are easily Big Bend National Park in Brewster County and Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Hudspeth County.

The state’s temperate climate also supports a huge variety of native flora and fauna, including the iconic bluebonnet, more than 700 threatened and endangered species and Bexar County’s Bracken Cave bats — the largest known colony in the world.

Texas-sized retirement

In 1967, the Texas State Legislature created TCDRS to provide secure retirement benefits for county and district employees all across the state. Now, TCDRS manages more than $25 billion in net assets and helps more than 282,000 members save for the future.

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