(NEXSTAR) — Did you know the Lone Star State is home to many towns known worldwide? And it’s not the ones you might typically think of, like Dallas, Austin and Houston. No, many of them are tiny.
They’re towns that share names with European destinations — and many of them have some pretty interesting stories. So get your passport ready and check out these “international” Texas towns. Tutto è più grande in Texas! (Everything’s bigger in Texas!)
“The Irish Capital of Texas!” is what this central city calls itself, as did former Gov. Rick Perry, who gave Dublin, Texas with the moniker in 2005.
According to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, among the attractions in the city are several museums, including the Dublin Rodeo Heritage Museum, which has historical ties to Hollywood western star Gene Autry. Among another notable name attached to the city is golf legend Ben Hogan, (one of only five pro golfers to win all four major golf championships), who lived in Dublin as a child. The city’s Ben Hogan Museum pays tribute to Hogan, who died in 1997.
Dublin recently hosted its second annual Hispanic Heritage Festival, which featured live music, food, boxing, a car show and a parade.
Dublin, which had about 3,359 residents per the 2020 U.S. Census, is located in Erath County and is about 150 miles from Austin.
Athens, Texas, boasts a sizeable claim and may have some backing to prove it: “home of the hamburger.”
Late resident Fletcher Davis, known as “Uncle Fletch,” is one of few who lay claim to the invention of America’s favorite meal. As Texas Monthly explains, it’s believed by many — including “Dallas Morning News” columnist Frank X. Tolbert, who investigated the claim in the 1970s — that Davis first began serving burgers at his Athens cafe before they came to prominence at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
It’s a very long story (and several other people in other cities have claimed to have invented the first hamburger), but much historical evidence exists that could serve as proof. Athens, with a population of about 12,667, holds on to the claim, however, with its city website reading “Hamburgers-Heritage-Texas.”
It’s not just a picturesque coastal city in Italy.
Located in Morris County in northeast Texas, among the city’s signature attractions is its annual Naples Watermelon Festival and Rodeo. This year’s event, according to the event’s Facebook page, even featured a mullet contest.
The City of Naples writes, “Naples is a quiet community now but used to thrive. It began to lose a lot of businesses when the interstate bypassed it about eight miles to the north.”
Naples had about 1,387 residents as of the 2020 U.S. Census. The population stayed relatively the same from the previous decade when 1,378 residents were recorded. The city’s highest Census record was in 1980 when 1,908 residents were recorded. The town lost 400 residents in 10 years according to its 1990 Census.
You won’t find the Kremlin in this unincorporated Polk County community, which has about 170 residents as of the 2000 U.S. Census. The Handbook of Texas explains founders David and Matilda Green originally submitted “Greenville” as the town’s name but it was rejected.
According to the Texas State Historical Association, while the lumbering and agriculture business initially drew the population to around 228 in 1900, growth slowed once business did. The town once had its own weekly paper, “East Texas Pinery,” in addition to a reportedly renowned school called the Moscow Masonic Male and Female Academy.
One notable native includes former Texas Gov. William P. Hobby, who was born in Moscow in 1917. These days, you may recognize him as the name behind William P. Hobby Airport in Houston.
Moscow is about 90 miles northeast of Houston.
Perhaps the most well-known “European” city is Paris, Texas — located in Lamar County. Naturally named after the France city, the town received its name from one of founder George W. Wright’s employees, Thomas Poteet, TSHA explains.
Incorporated in 1845, Paris thrived for decades due to railroading. TSHA reports that by the early 1900s, Paris was also a seat of over 90 churches of various denominations and faiths.
The city has its own Eiffel Tower replica, which was erected in 1993 and received a cowboy hat on top in 1999, Paris’ city website explains. The structure itself stands 65 feet tall and the cowboy hat is three-and-a-half feet in size.
Notable residents include pastor John Osteen (father of current Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen) and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” all-star and current “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Shangela.
Although the 1984 film “Paris, Texas,” was not filmed in the city, the town is featured in the plot and, obviously, is its namesake. Directed by German filmmaker Wim Wenders, the Harry Dean Stanton-starring film won the 1984 “Palme d’Or,” the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
A few other European-named cities (or unincorporated communities) in Texas are London, Moravia, Edinburgh, Geneva, Liverpool and Newcastle.