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Jefferson, Texas

Various dates between 1836 and 1840 are cited as the beginning of Jefferson at a river landing on Big Cypress Bayou. Whatever the date, early settlers were already established when the town was laid out in 1842.

Jefferson early became a major East Texas river port of entry, the Big Cypress was then navigable by steamboats from New Orleans. The discovery of nearby iron ore brought smelters and plow works, while plentiful pine and cypress stimulated the lumber industry.

Today. Jefferson is one of Texas' most historic towns. More than 30 structures bear state historical medallions.

Here was one of Texas' first breweries, and in 1873 the world's first ammonia refrigerant ice plant. It was the state's first city to utilize artificial gas for street lighting, and shortly after the Civil War, reached a peak population of 30,000 with as many as 15 steamboats at a time lining the docks, and scores of wagon trains passing through on the way West.

For today's traveler seeking quiet reflection of a past era, it is a fortunate result. More than 60 bed and breakfast accommodations are offered in historic buildings.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Turning Basin River Boat Tour

45-minute narrated tour of Big Cypress Bayou, featuring riverport history of Jefferson. Just below old trestle across Polk St. bridge (U.S. 59)

Jefferson, TX Tours

Jay Gould Private Railroad Car

Jay Gould Private Railroad Car—The "Atalanta" has luxurious interior with four staterooms, lounge, dining room, kitchen, butler'

Jefferson, TX Railroad History




Things to do near Jefferson, TX

Village Creek State Park

Named for the 63-mile long creek which flows through the heart of the Big Thicket. Stream is renowned as a float stream, and ...

East Texas Oil Museum

Every aspect of the oil boom days of the 1930s is re-created through dioramas, films, sound effects and mementos of the oil f...

The Discovery Science Place

Two exhibit halls are featured at this downtown children's math and science museum. Many activities are included focusing on ...

Martin Creek Lake Camping

At Martin Creek Lake Park the camping facilities include restrooms with showers; hike-in primitive campsites with no drinkin...

Lookout Mountain

First Monday Trade Days offers all sorts of wares, antiques, and collectibles. Camping facilities available with hookups and ...