If you asked me the most common town name in the United States, I would have to say Houston. The experts will tell you that there are 24 places in the world with this name. This is because Sam Houston of Texas was, for a period of time, considered a national hero. But the fact is that not every town with the name Houston was named for Sam. When I first learned about all the Houstons, I assumed that most were named for Sam. But this is not necessarily true. The Houston in Scotland, for example, was named for a castle. When I first heard about it on the important World War II Scapa Flow, a body of water in the Orkneys that was very important to the British and Winston Churchill, I assumed that Houston, Scotland, was named for Sam Houston, but it was not. It’s a fairly large Houston with a population of 6,400 people.
The largest place named after Sam Houston was the city in Texas. Houston, TX, is the United States’ 4th largest city. A cosmopolitan town, it has a population of 2.3 million, and is famous as a place with no zoning restrictions. Ruth and I got into the habit of visiting it every January when we lived in St. Louis because being somewhat tropical it provided a temporary escape from winter weather. We got to know this city well and loved being there.
However, we got to know Houston, MO almost as well because Ruth had so many relatives who lived near it. We would pass through it several times each year. In Texas County, Houston, MO was Ruth’s Uncle Kenneth’s favorite town. He lived in Washington State but made it to Houston, MO often on his way to Summersville, MO where he was born and raised. Many places in Houston, TX were named for the city including a ship canal, a library, and a tollway. Houston, MO has a steady population of 2,500 and is a thriving community that is very proud of its relatively new hospital.
There are towns named Houston in British Columbia, Canada, and in the state of Alaska. The Houston in Alaska is 33 miles from Alaska’s largest city Anchorage, but it was not named for Sam Houston. It was named after a Tennessee Congressman. Not incorporated until 1966, Houston, AK is a thriving town of about 2,400 residents. The Houston in British Columbia is also doing well with about 3,000 residents. There are viable Houstons in the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky, Delaware, and Arkansas. The PA and MI Houstons were named for Sam Houston. There is a giant statue of Sam Houston overlooking I-45 near Huntsville, TX. It is one of the largest statues in the world and mighty impressive. Three US counties in MN, TN, and TX are named for Sam Houston. There are many unincorporated towns named Houston scattered across the USA in states like Ohio and Colorado.
Houstons are everywhere.