Man-shack? Austin City Council approves public hearing on changing Manchaca to Menchaca

Bob Perkins is a retired judge. Back in the early 1980's while reading the Handbook of Texas, he first noticed a mistake that's apparently lasted for generations.

“I read in there about how the town of Manchaca is named for Jose Antonio Menchaca from San Antonio and kind of thought, well if it's named for him how come they don't spell his name right?” Perkins said.

So who was Captain Menchaca?

“He was one of the heroes of the Battle of San Jacinto,” Perkins said.

Menchaca, born in 1800, later became Mayor pro-Tem of San Antonio.

Perkins doesn't believe the name mistake was malicious...just a mistake. But over the years, the spelling error became a pronunciation error.

“In 1849 the stage coach company starts publishing ads about going from Austin to San Antonio and they change the name...they take Manchaca and they cut off the last ‘A’ and they say Manchac Springs,” Perkins said.

People still say it that way.

“If it's correct to say man-shack well then I guess the state north of us should be called Oklahom. And further north should be South Dakot, North Dakot, Nevad, Montan, Arizon, Californi,” Perkins said.

Perkins reached out to some of his descendants and they too wondered why the road and town were spelled that way, so he formed a 501c non-profit called Justice for Menchaca.

He doesn't believe taxpayers should bear the cost of the change.

“The city told us it would cost $24,000 to change all the street signs along Manchaca Road. We raised the money and we deposited a cashiers check with them January of 2016,” he said.

Council Member Sabino Pio Renteria submitted an application for the name change, pointing out that it wouldn't cost taxpayers a thing.

As for whether residents will oppose changing their address:

“The post office has told us that regardless of the change, they're going to keep on delivering, it's one letter change, from m-a to m-e,” he said.

On Thursday the Austin City Council approved setting a hearing on the name change for October 4. 

“I guess my hope is that sooner or later people will start saying Menchaca. I think a lot of Spanish speakers, as soon as they see that word Menchaca, that's the way they're going to say it. Anybody that speaks Spanish, there’s no way they're going to say ‘Man-shack’ out of that,” Perkins said.