Texas' Historic "White Settlement" Considering Name Change

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White Settlement may be on the way out.

Voters in this city just west of Fort Worth will decide Nov. 8 on a proposal to change its name to West Settlement.

The "White" part is just not right for today's business world, Mayor James Ouzts said.

"When people see the name, the question of race comes to mind. They ask, 'What is that all about? Why is that name there?' " Ouzts said. "If you start out in a negative spot, it's hard to overcome that."

But the name has many staunch defenders.

"Why don't they go ahead and change the name of the White House to the West House?" former Councilman Alan Price said.

"They want to do away with the heritage of White Settlement and destroy the history of White Settlement."

Origin of name

An explanation of the name's origin is the most prominent feature of the city's Web site. Sometime in the late 1840s, an area of scattered Anglo settlers in the midst of Indian camps came to be known as the White Settlement, according to the city's home page and Texas historians.

Ouzts said a name change was first suggested in 2004 when the City Council was meeting with the economic development firm GSBS Batenhorst.

The city's budget has depended heavily on sales taxes for 30 years, Ouzts said, and city leaders were trying to devise ways to maintain its business foundation.

The proposed name change is among eight measures unanimously approved by the council in September to burnish the city's image to attract new business.

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