With Texas Independence Day right around the corner, tacos, queso, barbecue, and beer are probably your top priorities for the celebration. Any reason to eat and drink is a good reason; and if celebrating the state is a part of that, even better. But brushing up on your Texas trivia might not be a bad idea either. Here are a few facts you’ve probably grown up memorizing, as well as some lesser known ones from the Texas State Historical Association. And be sure to check out the widget on our site (in the top right corner of stories on your browser or under the comments on mobile) where you can get a daily dose of Texas-based historical facts.
January 10, 1901: Black gold rush. Spindletop Oil Field is discovered near Beaumont, marking the beginning of over a century of corporate oil and natural gas exploration.
But Were The Spurs There Yet?
April 13, 1701: An expedition reaches future site of San Antonio.
One Small Step
July 29, 1958: Houston, we’ve made history. President Eisenhower signs bill to create NASA, the organization that would eventually send the first man to the moon.
Spinach’s Biggest Advocate
January 17, 1929: Popeye the Sailor makes his grand debut in the Victoria Advocate newspaper in Victoria, Texas.
Remember Mission San Antonio Doesn’t Have Quite The Same Ring
May 1, 1718: Mission San Antonio de Valero, which eventually became the Alamo, was founded in San Antonio.
Correction: A previous photo was incorrectly identified as the Alamo. We regret the error.
King Of The Wild Frontier
August 17, 1786: Frontier icon and Alamo defender Davy Crockett was born. A folk hero and U.S. Representative, he’d later make his way into several songs and even have a national forest named in his honor.
Correction: Davy Crockett’s year of birth was previously misidentified. We regret the error.
The Birth Of Country Radio
January 4, 1923: Texas radio station WBAP in Fort Worth (see proper pronunciation) sets the country music standard. The show aired Eck Robertson of Amarillo’s barn dance piece, officially welcoming this genre to the public.
December 24, 1852: The first railroad in Texas, known as the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado Railway, arrives in Galveston.
April 9, 1965: The Yankees and the Astros inaugurated the Astrodome in Houston. It was the first multipurpose sports facility, and it even had air-conditioning!
The Doctor Is In The House
July 6, 1923: Dr Pepper incorporates in Dallas. But this bubbly beverage was first made in Waco almost 40 years prior, and they’ve got a museum to prove it.