One of the first questions we often get at Kissing Tree is about our unusual name. Many of you probably know that it was inspired by a legendary event in San Marcos history!
In 1857, Texas statesman Sam Houston caused quite a stir when he kissed some local ladies on the cheek to thank them for sewing a Texas Flag for his stump speech. At the time, those kisses were the talk of the town, and the giant oak where he gave both the speech and the kisses became known locally as the kissing oak.
The tree still stands today, as does the community spirit it represents. When it came time to name our neighborhood—a place that is all about people coming together—we knew we couldn’t pick a better local symbol.
How Do You Name a Neighborhood?
In addition to our neighborhood name, we also had to name all the sections within the community, and it only seemed appropriate to keep with our theme of celebrating Texas legends.
Each time we name a neighborhood section, we start by looking at the physical features and topography of the land. Are there are hills? A creek or water feature? Where is the section located—is it in the center of the neighborhood or on the edge?
Next, our creative team makes a list of Texas landmarks and their special features. We look at the size of the landmarks and how they fit into their communities. We research the landmarks’ history and significance, and ask ourselves if the name is hard to spell or pronounce. Finally, our land and marketing teams get together and match up the land sections to the names. It’s hard work, but we try to make each name meaningful and appropriate for life here at Kissing Tree.
Here are some of our neighborhood names and the inspiration behind them:
Driskill: This section was named for the historic Austin hotel built in 1886 by cattleman Col. Jesse Driskill. Since 1887, every Texas governor has hosted an inaugural ball in the Driskill ballroom.
Fair Park: If you’ve been to the State Fair of Texas to eat a corn dog, you’ve visited Fair Park. This historic 277-acre complex is home to the Cotton Bowl as well as five museums and ten event venues.
The Fairway: Named for its proximity to the golf course and Fair Park, this section of Cottage homes wraps around the 18th hole of the Kissing Tree golf course.
Lomita: Spanish for “little hill,” Lomita is named for a small town called Lometa in Lampasas County. In the 1880s, the town was a railway hub and a major shipping point for cattle, wool, and mohair.
Bonnell: As one of the highest points in Austin, Mount Bonnell offers panoramic views of the city, the Pennybacker Bridge, Lake Austin, and the surrounding hills. Since the 1850s, visitors have climbed the 775 feet to reach the prominent overlook.
Fannin: James Fannin was commissioned as a colonel in the Texas army by General San Houston. He fought in many battles in the Texas Revolution before surrendering the Battle of Coleto Creek.
Balmorhea: Home to the one of the world’s largest spring-fed pool, Balmorhea State Park in West Texas offers swimming, snorkeling, camping, and more. The 1.3 acre pool is up to 25 feet deep in spots and stays a brisk 72-76 degrees all year round!