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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

Historic Homes Tours

Many of city's fine old homes are open during annual Historical Pilgrimage, first weekend in May and Candlelight Tour first two weekends in Dec. Others, below, are private residences and are generally open at times listed;

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


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

Things to do near Jefferson, TX

Big Thicket

Silsbee is located in the Big Thicket National Preserve....

Sabine National Forest

City is at western boundary of forest....

Big Thicket National Preserve

Some 97,000 acres of dense woods, swamps and streams administered by National Park Service as biological preserves in several...

Hudnall Planetarium

At Tyler Junior College, planetarium is one of Texas' largest. Among exhibits are replicas of exploratory space vehicles. Cam...