Unique Texas town names: Welfare, Mico

How did these towns get their names?

SAN ANTONIO – If you travel too fast through Welfare, you might miss it. Just east of Comfort, it is a town with a small population.

"We have about nine (people), but a few of those are goats -- my favorite goats," said David Lawhorn, who now owns Welfare.

The town consists mainly of a café and event center, which Lawhorn runs. The town, however, was not always called Welfare. It has had a few different names and, as legend goes, it was at one point named after a founding family.

"So they came up with the name Wohlfahrt," said Lawhorn

It was a German surname that, pronounced phonetically, resulted in more than a few laughs.

"That didn't fly right with the train engineers coming through when they were announcing the town, so it became too humorous and they changed it to Welfare," said Lawhorn.

Welfare is the English translation of Wohlfahrt, and roughly means welcome. This is just one of the more colorful, yet unconfirmed, stories detailing how the town received its name.

Another town with a name that is often questioned or mispronounced is Mico, which is located on the banks of Medina Lake.

The name was actually an acronym, standing for Medina Irrigation Co., which was behind the construction of Medina Dam in 1910. A camp was set up by the company to house families of those working on the construction of the dam.

"It stuck. People got tired of saying, 'Oh, that place. That place out there that's owned by the Medina Irrigation Company,' and they just went, 'Oh, Mico,'" said Carol Smith, the executive director of the Medina Lake Preservation Society.

Because it is an acronym, the “I” is a long “I”, and the town is pronounced My-co, not Me-co.


About the Author:

Justin Horne is a meteorologist and reporter for KSAT 12 News. When severe weather rolls through, Justin will hop in the KSAT 12 Storm Chaser to safely bring you the latest weather conditions from across South Texas. On top of delivering an accurate forecast, Justin often reports on one of his favorite topics: Texas history.