Sul(l) Ross

There is a road in Houston’s Montrose district called Sul Ross.  Not Sul Ross Street or Sul Ross Boulevard or Sul Ross Lane, just Sul Ross.  I had wondered what that meant, just never enough to really start researching it.  Even when I passed through Alpine on my train trip around the US and I encountered Sul Ross University, I didn’t research it much further although whatever Sul Ross means, it clearly was important to Texas.

sul ross street sign

I finally got around to researching Sul Ross, when I noticed that the mosaic street sign where Sul Ross meets Montrose Boulevard spelled it Sull Ross.  That made me curious – was it Sul Ross or Sull Ross? Why would a city have changed the spelling of a street? Or did the mosaic-layer get it wrong?

sull ross mosaic

A basic internet search for Sul Ross returns lots of links to Sul Ross University and its football and basketball teams.  Kindly the university has put a short biography of Lawrence Sullivan ‘Sul’ Ross on their page, after whom the university was named.  He had been a Texas Ranger, rose to rank of Brigadier General in the Confederate Army and served two terms as Governor of Texas.  He later became the president of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M) showing his keen interest in higher education in the state.

Knowing the university and street were named after an abbreviation of the word ‘Sullivan’, I suppose both Sul Ross and Sull Ross can be considered correct spellings!

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