Smith County, Texas

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SMITH COUNTY

1881 SMITH COUNTY JAIL - 309 East Erwin, Tyler - Medallion and Plate - 1994
1881 SMITH COUNTY JAIL

HOUSTON ARCHITECT EUGENE T. HEINER AND BUILDER HENRY KANE DESIGNED AND BUILT THIS STRUCTURE IN 1880-81 TO SERVE AS SMITH COUNTY'S FOURTH JAIL. AN 1894 SECOND-STORY ADDITION DOUBLED THE JAIL'S CELL SPACE. THE BUILDING WAS REPLACED BY A NEW JAIL IN 1916 AND SUBSEQUENTLY HOUSED THE LEWIS HOTEL UNTIL 1986. IT FEATURES CLASSICAL DETAILING OF THE ITALIANATE STYLE. A STUCCO FINISH SCORED TO LOOK LIKE CUT STONE, ELABORATE WINDOW MOLDS AND CONSOLES, AND CLASSICAL BELT COURSES.
TEXAS HISTORIC LANDMARK - 1989

BELZORA LANDING - HEAD OF NAVIGATION ON THE SABINE RIVER - FM 14 near Sabine River - travel information marker - 1969 (Marker has been stolen)

HEAD OF NAVIGATION ON THE SABINE RIVER, BELZORA LANDING

A THRIVING PORT FOR TYLER AND EAST TEXAS, FROM 1850S UNTIL ARRIVAL OF RAILROADS IN 1870S. ONE OF MANY PORTS ESTABLISHED WHEN SETTLERS (AS IN EASTERN STATES) TURNED TO RIVERS FOR TRANSPORTATION. IN TEXAS RIVER-FREIGHTING PROVED RATHER DISAPPOINTING. THE LONG, WINDING RIVERS WERE DIFFICULT FOR EVEN SMALL, SHALLOW-DRAFT STEAMERS TO NAVIGATE. BOATS ON THE SABINE FARED VERY WELL, HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF ABUNDANT RAINFALL AND FAVORABLE TERRAIN.
FOR SEVERAL MONTHS EACH YEAR, LIGHT STEAMBOATS COULD ASCEND THE RIVER TO BELZORA. THE GALVESTON NEWS FOR THAT PERIOD INCLUDED BELZORA IN LISTINGS OF PORTS. IN DRY SEASONS IT WAS LOCAL PRACTICE TO LOAD GOODS ON BARGES, FLATBOATS AND OTHER CRAFT AND WAIT FOR A FRESHET TO SEND THEM DOWNSTREAM.
IN ADDITION TO THE BOAT LAND, BELZORA HAD A FERRY USED BY TRAVEL ON THE DALLAS-TO-SHREVEPORT POST ROAD. THE TOWN HAD A DOZEN BUSINESSES, A POST OFFICE AND A COMBINATION CHURCH-SCHOOLHOUSE.
AMBITIOUS PLANS FOR GREATER INLAND NAVIGATION, DEEPENING OF RIVER CHANNEL, AND BUILDING OF LOCKS AND DAMS NEVER MATERIALIZED. BELZORA, LIKE MANY SISTER PORTS, BECAME AN HISTORIC RELIC - A GHOST TOWN. (1970)

DUCK CREEK SOIL EROSION PROJECT - CR 431, Northwest of Lindale - Subject Marker - 1984

DUCK CREEK SOIL EROSION PROJECT

IN 1929, ONE OF THE TEN EROSION CONTROL RESEARCH STATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES WAS SET UP SOUTHEAST OF THIS SITE FOR THE PURPOSE OF STUDYING EROSION PROBLEMS AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF EROSION CONTROL METHODS. THIS WAS ONE OF THE FIRST ORGANIZED EFFORTS TO SOLVE THE NATION'S SOIL EROSION PROBLEMS IN A PLANNED, SCIENTIFIC MANNER.

FIVE YEARS LATER, IN 1934 THE DUCK CREEK WATERSHED NEAR THIS SITE WAS APPROVED AS A DEMONSTRATIONAL PROJECT FOR WORKING WITH ALL KNOWN METHODS OF EROSION CONTROL. IN COOPERATION WITH THE LANDOWNERS IN THE 25,000-ACRE AREA, A PLAN OF CONSERVATION TREATMENT WAS DEVISED FOR EACH FARM. MUCH OF THE LABOR USED IN CARRYING OUT THESE PLANS, SUCH AS BUILDING DAMS AND FENCES AND PLANTING TREES AND PASTURE GRASS, WAS PROVIDED BY A NEARBY CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS (CCC) CAMP.

THE SUCCESS OF THE DUCK CREEK PROJECT ATTRACTED MUCH ATTENTION AND MANY VISITORS TO THE AREA. DUCK CREEK WAS USED BY THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE AS A TRAINING GROUND FOR AGRONOMISTS, SOIL SURVEYORS, ENGINEERS, BIOLOGISTS, FORESTERS, ECONOMISTS, AND OTHERS WHO CARRIED KNOWLEDGE LEARNED HERE TO MANY OTHER STATES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. (1984)

OLD OMEN (CANTON) COMMUNITY - FM 345, West of Arp - Subject Marker - 1978

OMEN (CANTON) COMMUNITY

PROMOTERS ALEXANDER DOUGLAS, THOMAS WEATHERBY, AND MITUS WHITE PLATTED THE TOWNSITE OF CANTON IN 1850 NEAR THE JUNCTION OF TWO MAIN ROADS, ONE LEADING TO THE COUNTY SEAT AT TYLER. ALTHOUGH THE POST OFFICE WAS RENAMED CLOPTON IN 1852 AND THE NAME WAS CHANGED TO TROUP IN 1854, THE VILLAGE CONTINUED TO BE KNOW AS CANTON FOR MANY YEARS. THE FIRST STORE OPENED IN 1852 AND SOON THE COMMUNITY HAD A TANYARD, BLACKSMITH SHOP, CABINET AND WAGON SHOP, HOTEL, SCHOOL, SEVERAL DOCTORS, CHURCHES, AND A MASONIC LODGE. THE 1860 CENSUS SHOWED 34 HOUSEHOLDS IN THE TOWN.

WHEN THE INTERNATIONAL & GREAT NORTHERN RAILROAD BYPASSED CANTON IN THE 1870s, MANY BUSINESSES MOVED AWAY. IN 1880 THE TOWN AND POST OFFICE ADOPTED THE NAME OMEN. FOR 30 YEARS, OMEN WAS THE LOCATION OF THE SUMMER HILL SELECT SCHOOL, A COEDUCATIONAL BOARDING SCHOOL DIRECTED BY A. W. ORR (1849-1924) OF GEORGIA. THIS HIGHLY-REGARDED INSTITUTION DREW STUDENTS FROM ALL PARTS OF TEXAS AS WELL AS FROM OUT OF STATE.

THE CLOSING OF THE POST OFFICE IN 1906 AND THE SCHOOL HASTENED OMEN'S DECLINE. OIL DISCOVERIES DURING THE 1930s REVIVED THE COMMUNITY BRIEFLY, BUT WITH THE DEPRESSION THE POOPULATION DWINDLED FURTHER AND OMEN BECAME A RURAL VILLAGE.96 (1978)

SMITH COUNTY - US 64, West of Tyler - Centennial Granite Marker - 1936

 
SMITH COUNTY FORMED FROM NACOGDOCHES COUNTY. CREATED APRIL 11, 1846. ORGANIZED JULY 13, 1846. NAMED IN HONOR OF GENERAL JAMES SMITH, PIONEER SOLDIER AND STATESMAN, FRIEND OF GENERAL SAM HOUSTON, THOMAS RUSK AND J. PINCKNEY HENDERSON.
BORN SEPTEMBER 10, 1792. DIED DECEMBER 25, 1855, BURIED WITH
MILITARY HONORS AT HENDERSON. TYLER, THE COUNTY SEAT. 
 

SMITH COUNTY ROSE INDUSTRY AND THE TYLER ROSE GARDEN - Rose Park, West Front Street, Tyler - Travel Information Marker - 193

SMITH COUNTY ROSE INDUSTRY AND THE TYLER ROSE GARDEN

A COMBINATION OF SANDY SOIL, YEAR-ROUND RAINFALL, AND A LONG GROWING SEASON MAKE THE TYLER AREA IDEAL FOR ROSE PROPAGATION. FIRST KNOWN COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION BEGAN HERE IN THE 1870S WHEN INDUSTRY PIONEERS SUCH AS G. A. MCKEE AND MATHEW SHAMBURGER (1827-88) SOLD ROSEBUSHES ALONG WITH OTHER NURSERY STOCK.
BUSINESS EXPANDED IN THE 1920S AS MORE NURSERYMEN BEGAN GROWING ROSES. PRODUCATION WAS INCREASED BY NEW GROWING METHODS SUCH AS IRRIGATION, INTRODUCED IN 1924 BY A. F. WATKINS. THE TEXAS ROSE FESTIVAL WAS STARTED IN OCT. 1933 TO PUBLICIZE THE INDUSTRY. SCIENTIFIC PLANT RESEARCH, BEGUN IN THE 1930S BY J. C. RATSEK, DR. E. W. LYLE, AND OTHERS FROM THE TYLER SUBSTATION OF THE TEXAS AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION, WAS IMPLEMENTED BY ORGANIZATION OF THE TEXAS ROSE FOUNDATION , INC., IN 1945.
THE TYLER ROSE GARDEN, A 22-ACRE MUNICIPAL PARK, WAS CREATED IN 1952. NURSERIES DONATE THE MANY VARIETIES OF PLANTS, WHICH ARE CARED FOR BY THE CITY.
TODAY THE INDUSTRY IS VITAL TO THE ECONOMY OF SMITH COUNTY. IN 1973 THE VALUE OF BUSHES AND FLOWERS SHIPPED AROUND THE WORLD BY LOCAL NURSERIES TOTALED $9,000,000. ONE-HALF OF THE ROSEBUSHES PRODUCED EACH YEAR IN THE UNITED STATES COME FROM THE TYLER AREA. (1975)

STARRVILLE COMMUNITY - FM 16, East of Winona - 1977

STARRVILLE COMMUNITY

IN 1852 THE REV. JOSHUA STARR, A METHODIST MINISTER FROM ALABAMA, BOUGHT 640 ACRES OF LAND HERE ON THE DALLAS-SHREVEPORT ROAD. PLATTING STARRVILLE, ONE OF THE EARLIEST TOWNS IN SMITH COUNTY, HE SOLD LOTS WITH DEED COVENANTS AGAINST GAMBLING AND LIQUOR. IN 1853, HE HELPED ORGANIZE STARR LODGE NO. 118, A.F.&A.M.; METHODISTS AND MASONS SHARED A 2-STORY BUILDING WHICH THE CHURCH BOUGHT FROM STARR IN 1854. THE POST OFFICE WAS MOVED FROM NEARBY GUM SPRING TO STARRVILLE IN 1857. THE TOWN THRIVED WITH STORES AND OVERNIGHT LODGINGS FOR FREIGHTERS. IT HAD GRIST MILLS, SAWMILLS, FOUNDRIES, AND A WAGON FACTORY; MUSIC TEACHERS, DENTISTS, PHYSICIANS, PHOTOGRAPHERS. ITS CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS WERE HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL. THE METHODISTS SUPPORTED A FEMALE HIGH SCHOOL; THE BAPTIST FOUNDED ANN JUDSON FEMALE SCHOOL. A UNION ACADEMY, MALE HIGH SCHOOL, AND FEMALE COLLEGE ALSO EXISTED BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR (1861-65).

BYPASSING OF STARRVILLE BY THE TYPER TAP RAILROAD IN THE 1870s BROUGHT POPULATION LOSSES. IN 1907 THE POST OFFICE AND THE MASONIC LODGE WERE REMOVED TO WINONA. THE SCHOOLS OF STARRVILLE AND BAKER SPRINGS WERE CONSOLIDATED IN 1924, AND LATER WERE MERGED WITH THE WINONA PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM. (1977)

VIAL-FRAGOSA TRAIL - CR 452, near Lindale - Centennial Granite Marker - 1936

VIAL-FRAGOSO TRAIL

IN THIS VICINITY EXTENDED THE VIAL-FRAGOSO TRAIL.

BLAZED IN 1788 BY PIERRE VIAL AND FRANCISCO XAVIER FRAAGOSO ON THEIR WAY FROM SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO, TO NATCHITOCHES, LOUISIANA.

 

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