When you google “Arlington”, Texas may not be the first response. Virginia has a city by the same name, as does Iowa. Arlington, TX does have quite the national reach though, especially considering the various stadiums, entertainment options, and award-winning city amenities. It’s not a bad place to live, but how well do you know it? Using several resources, we’ve gathered the top five things you probably didn’t know about the place we all call home.
4. Arlington, TX is named after Arlington, VA, but not for the reasons you think.
Reverand Andrew Shannon Hayter arrived in Arlington in 1869 and immediately got to work forming the Grace Hop Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Working closely with the growning city and managing relations with several Native American tribes in the area rewarded Rev. Hayter. When the railroad companies wanted to thank him for shepherding the deal and maintaining peaceful negotiations by naming the train station after him, Rev. Hayter refused. His name was pronounced correctly so rarely, he didn’t want to be a namesake. Instead, he suggested naming the station — and later the city — after Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s home of Arlington, Virginia.
3. A well brought the city together before anything else.
Something really is in the water in Arlington, TX. Thanks to several underground springs, farming in the area was bountiful for much of the city’s history. Central Arlington had no farmland, but as a growing travel destination the town desperately needed access to water. In 1891, Rice Wood Collins started a campaign resulting in the first well, located near Main St. and Collins. The landmark soon became a gathering place for all sorts of events. The water taken from the well contained certain minerals, giving the water a distinct taste. Many claimed it had therapeutic powers, and merchants could often be seen selling jars to travelers. It wasn’t until the 1950’s when city growth mandated paved roads that the well was covered.
2. The University of Texas at Arlington has been known by at least 5 different names.
Public schools weren’t widely available in 1917, but no one told that to the City of Arlington. Beginning as Arlington Military Academy, the community demanded access to higher education and changed the school to Grubbs Vocational College. Slowly, the school began to specialize and became North Texas Agricultural College in 1923. A quickly growing population and the onset of more modern technological advancements then opened the door for Arlington State College in 1949. The school’s potential was clear and finally in 1967 they partnered with the UT system to create the University of Texas at Arlington.
1. Arlington has a sister city in Germany named Königshofen.
In the 1950’s, a fear of Communism ran deep in hearts all over the nation. Mayor Tom Vandergriff, Arlington’s longest serving mayor, shrugged off such fear in favor of helping his fellow man. After meeting with a city manager from a town close to the East/West border within Germany, he felt inspired. The distance of the city from the Wall made it a haven for refugees, for which the town lacked supplies. Out of compassion and Texas hospitality, Arlington residents sent clothes, food, and gifts for those living in Königshofen. The town became our sister city, and in 2006 became the namesake for Bad Königshofen Family Aquatic Center.