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San-Fill-up-ee or San-Fey-Lee-Pey?


How you pronounce the east-west thoroughfare that connects upper Kirby with Memorial says so much about how long you’ve been here.

Generations of Houstonians have developed an inexplicable take on this simple Spanish name, while those new to the area insist on the proper pronunciation.

We consulted NEWS 92 FM traffic anchor Karen Christie for the definitive answer.

“As a lifelong Houstonian, sometimes I say it both ways,” she said.

And what about that exit off of Highway 290 in northwest Houston that has gotten a lot of airplay lately due to all of the recent roadwork and lane closures? It has the daunting spelling of “Mueschke.”

Christie said it’s not as tough as it looks: “Mewsh-key.”

And Mueschke has a cousin off I-10 in Sealy that stops everyone in their tracks.


Listeners on the street were stumped. One woman said, “Can I buy a vowel?” One man on the street said he would just move.

So what is the best way to say those five letters? The Houston answer is “Mill-Cack,” the Polish answer is “Mill-Shack.”

And nestled between the Museum District and downtown is a deceptively simple four-letter road that many think is of Vietnamese origin.


In fact, its roots are in Ireland where a town of that name in County Galway dates back to the Bronze Age.

According to an Irish website called “Ireland Yes,” the word is pronounced “Choom” — like “broom” with a “ch.”

The names reflect Houston’s rich cultural background. A little German, a little French, a little Czechoslovakian with some Irish and Polish thrown in.

We just give it a Texas twist. It’s what makes Houston, Houston.


Drive the Exotic Street Names of Houston  was originally published on

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