Today we are back in the central part of Texas, heading towards the Biggest Little Town in Texas, Italy!! To everyone’s surprise, it is pronounced IT-Lee!
Italy is located at the junction of U.S. Highway 77 and State Highway 34, and just off Interstate 35E, and approximately 15 miles south of Waxahachie and 20 miles north of Hillsboro.
Although a few families had settled in the vicinity by 1860, the Aycock brothers built the first house on the present site of the town in 1879 and used it as a dwelling, grocery store, and post office. That year residents debated what to name the settlement. Choices were Houston Creek or Egypt but Gabriel J. Penn, postmaster in Waxahachie, named the town Italy in 1880 because the climate was much like that found in “sunny Italy.”
The Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad arrived as well as the first newspaper was published, and the town was officially incorporated in 1891
The International-Great Northern Railroad reached the town in 1901. In 1913, the first cream and crimson intinterurbans opened service between Dallas and Waco on what became the Texas Electric Railway.
Today, it is a bedroom community for Dallas. Residents enjoy the small town feeling and laid back community.
- Italy is the name of the European country yet in this town it is pronounced “It-lee.”
- Cotton ruled the economy by the 1920s, when Italy had five gins, a compress, and a cottonseed oil mill.
- Milo and Corn are now grown in the area instead of cotton.
- There is a quirky pizza place is called Starship Pegasus, that attracts Trekkie fans from all over!!
- The Corley Bell Tower was erected in 1952 by the Corley family as a memorial to all of the Veterans of the Civil War. They did not have the money to build a complete building so they only built the tower and purchased the bell.