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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


Jefferson Hotel

A cotton warehouse in 1861, converted to hotel 1900, restored as country inn and restaurant. Turn-of-the-century iron beds, Victorian dressers, rocking chairs; 22

Jefferson, TX Historic Hotels

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

Martin Creek Lake Camping

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

Scenic Drive

Texas 105 west through piney woods to Montgomery 15 miles; driving tour of historic homes dating back to 1850s....

Cypress Valley Golf Club

Course Access: Semi-PrivateHoles: 18Reserve Advance Tee Times: Yes...

Durst-Taylor Historic House and Gardens

Durst-Taylor Historic House and Gardens is a circa 1835 wood-frame house interpreted to the 1840 to 1860 time period when the...

Old Town Well

Dug to a depth of 27 feet by slave labor in 1860, the old town well supplied citizens as well as travelers on El Camino Real ...