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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

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



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

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

Things to do near Jefferson, TX

Excelsior House

19th-century hotel numbered among its guests Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Jay Gould and Oscar Wilde. Guest rooms fe...

Caddo Lake State Park

480 acres beside Caddo Lake; an area once occupied by Caddo Indians, a tribe quite advanced in civilization. Camping areas, t...

Montgomery County Preserve

71-acre forever preserved tract of pine and hardwood forest along Spring Creek, often referred to as "The Little Thicket." Ho...

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...