Texas Almanac 2010-2011

When I was a kid, every Christmas my mother would wrap an Almanac under the tree. This was back in the day before the Internet (yes, kids, there was such a time), so these books were treasure troves of information. I still have some old World Almanacs in my collection, but until recently have not purchased one.

After leafing through my new copy of theĀ Texas Almanac 2010-2011, I am wondering why I waited so long.

Published since 1857 (and this year by the Texas State Historical Association), this every two year compendium of Texas is a beautifully packaged collection of the obvious and the not-so-obvious.

The cornerstone of the 700+ page Almanac is the almost 200 pages with thumbnails of each of Texas 254 counties. A map for each county is shown, along with information on physical features, economy, history, ethnicity, vital stats, recreation, minerals, agriculture, information on the cities in the county and population.

The special features in this edition are an article on Lady Bird Johnson (under the History section), an article on Scandinavians in Texas (under the Culture & The Arts section), and, in Sports, an article on the NBA in Texas (Go Rockets!) and listings of the state high school football and basketball champions since inception. History articles from recent editions can also be found on the Texas Almanac website.

Some of the not-so-obvious facts I found:

  • Texans have the highest homeowners insurance premiums in the country (avg $1,372) and this data is from 2005, pre-Hurricane Ike (page 616);
  • the Port of Houston is second of U.S. ports in tonnage (behind Southern Louisiana, whom I would suspect Houston has passed by now); more surprising is that Beaumont and Corpus Christi rank 5th and 6th (page 668);
  • out of the 254 counties, 31 are wholly dry (no alcohol sales), while six sell beer only and 13 sell only beer and wine (page 517);
  • Texas flirted with joining the United Kingdom before becoming a state, something I vaguely remember from history class in high school (pg 41-42);

There are two foldout maps: the first has Texas Lakes on the front and Texas State Parks, Sites and Piers on the back; and the second has a mileage map on the front and a country/interstate highway map on the flip side.

The sections for the Almanac are:

  • State Profile
  • State Flags and Symbols
  • History
  • Environment
  • Weather (including a chronological history of weather events)
  • Astronomical Calendar (which is very well done)
  • Recreation and Sports (once again, go Rockets!)
  • Counties of Texas
  • Population
  • Elections
  • Government
  • State Government
  • Local Governments
  • Federal Government (obviously we are drowning in Government!)
  • Crime in Texas 2008
  • Culture & The Arts
  • Religion
  • Health and Science
  • Education
  • Business
  • Transportation
  • Agriculture

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