"STOP TRAINS. HIPPO LOOSE IN HUTTO."
That famous phrase was disseminated in 1915, and today it still can ring true at Hutto (Texas)
. No other school in America can lay claim to the Hippo mascot name, and that's a special thing in the town located northeast of Austin.
"Being a Hutto Hippo is unique and something we take pride in in our district. Not just anyone can be a Hippo. We have years of tradition and respect that go along with our schools that revolve around our mascot," Hutto ISD Public Information Officer Emily Grobe told MaxPreps. "Our mascot has become the identity of our entire community -- one that no other town, city or school can share claim to."
Before we get into the numerous Hippo-themed things that are a part of the community, let's look at how the exotic animal got its name into the community's history.The Williamson County Historical Society tells
of a story in 1915 when a circus train stopped in Hutto to take on new cargo and to drop off other cargo. In the midst of all this, a hippopotamus broke loose from its transport car and made its way down to Cottonwood Creek.
That's how we get the telegraph message seen at the beginning of this story. The message was relayed to Taylor and Round Rock, each representing the next city on the line.
They were able to coax the wayward hippo back on to the train and about eight years later, the local schools adopted the Hippos mascot name, as evinced by graduation announcements with a hippo logo.
We should also make sure to mention that there are a few alternative stories, and they have nothing to do with any circus trains. One alternative is that Hutto had a load of large, European-bred players in the past and one opposing coach said they were as big as hippos. Yet another theory is that the team wore rag-tag uniforms and even used feed sacks as jerseys, prompting one coach to say they looked like a bunch of hippos.
Regardless of the origins, the hippos of Hutto are certainly special. And it starts from the very beginning in the city of more than 28,000. Grobe said all students from Kindergarten to 12th grade are Hippos.
"Every campus in Hutto ISD has the hippo as their mascot. Each campus has at least one concrete hippo in front of their school decorated for their campus, from a camouflage hippo at Veteran's Hill Elementary to the life-sized hippo in front of Hutto High School."