Starr City, Texas: Map D4

Starr City, Texas was the first large-scale city I developed with pencil. I penciled it so I could pretend the city began in the 1800s, and grew steadily since. I could erase roads and build new ones, change property lines as properties changed hands, etc. The pencil allowed my maps to transcend a fixed point in imaginary time.

The Starr City series offers a far more detailed city sketch – down to property lines and business names. I placed the city at the real-life Texas intersection of US 290 and I-10 on the border of Kerr and Kimble Counties. I adjusted the geography to fit my taste (mainly dragging a bigger version of the Pedernales River by nearly 60 miles to flow straight through town) and went from there.

At the time, I didn’t favor the A-Z and numbered street grid I prefer now for large cities, so there are no systematic street names. Also, as I mentioned in my bio, Starr City reflects a time in my life when I’d yet to explore many urban areas – thus, the city features an abundance of middle-class neighborhoods with cul-de-sacs and corporate shopping centers.

A quick key to this series, which spanned from 2003-2008:

  • C = small commercial business
  • SC = shopping center
  • 4 black squares around an intersection = traffic light
  • 2 black squares around an intersection = caution light (blinking yellow)
  • 4 empty squares around an intersection = 4-way stop sign
  • ES, MS, HS = elementary (empty circle), middle (asterisk), high school (black circle)
  • Black triangle = private school
  • Tiny dots = hills or cliffs

This map – Map D4 – shows the area just southeast of downtown Starr City. The metro, for context’s sake, is home to nearly 200,000 people, and the city has in recent years become an economical hub for West Central Texas/The Hill Country.

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