In the Texas countryside, the color purple has nothing to do with Oprah Winfrey. It has everything to do with marking property lines and serves as a makeshift “No Trespassing” sign.
The color purple — specifically purple paint — is commonly placed on fence posts, trees and rocks to serve as a visible reminder of where one property line starts and another stops. Presumably, purple was chosen as the color because it blends in to the natural surroundings better than bright orange or red.
The practice of using purple paint started in 1987 in Arkansas when it became state law and allowed property owners to mark their property lines with purple paint. In 1997, Texas law was changed to allow for purple paint to replace “No Trespassing” signs, which were too easy for violators to tear down or remove.
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Jonathan Kennedy of EastTexasLands.com explained other reasons signs were problematic, “In Texas as we know, people like to take target practice at signs so they are having to replace them frequently.”
“The law says the marks are vertical lines at least eight inches long and one inch wide, placed between three and five feet from the ground. They must also be easily visible,” according to KETK News. Purple was chosen for the law’s color as many colorblind individuals can see purple.
Since Texas law allows for property owners to defend their property with deadly force, special attention should be paid to the color purple to ensure trespassing does not occur.
Other states followed Arkansas and Texas and have similar property marking color laws on the books. Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Maine, Florida, and Kansas also use purple paint to mark territory. Idaho, Montana, and Arizona use orange paint.
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