Text of a Texas Historical Marker states:
Palestine was established as the Anderson County seat in 1846. The town first centered on trade facilitated by the Trinity River, with frequent steamboats bringing in staples in exchange for local and East Texas products. The river, however, was only navigable for half of each year, leaving residents to rely on ox-drawn wagons at other times.
Realizing the potential of the railroad, local leaders John H. Reagan and George A. Wright garnered wide support to offer county money to the Houston and Great Northern Railroad, later consolidated into the International and Great Northern Railroad, which reached Palestine in 1872. Between 1874 and 1875, the railroad moved its headquarters, along with shops and a roundhouse, to the town and became a vital economic force. From the time rail construction began until beyond 1900, the railroad was the biggest employer in Palestine. Many employees came from other parts of the state and nation, as well as from other countries. A county immigration society helped promote immigration efforts, and the local newspaper sent thousands of circulars recruiting newcomers. Many immigrant families lived in Palestine, creating an international community in East Texas.
In an effort to spare the courthouse and original town square the noise and traffic associated with a railroad, the line was routed west of what became known as Old Town, the town’s original business district. New Town developed around the rail depot, however it was decades before the two sections blended together.
For this urban hike we parked in a corner of the Kroger Parking lot and walked over to the fire station to register.
Walk registration is at this fire station built in 1968.
Marker for Old Town.
Marker that tells us a school used to be here.
1888 Presbyterian Church
Anderson County Peace Officer Memorial.
Former Post Office built in 1913.
1983 St. Philip’s Episcopal Church
1905 First Christian Church
Ed walking by the new sanctuary for the First Christian Church.
Mural on a retaining wall.
I think this is the old gin in “Old Town” Palestine.
The three story Art-Deco building constructed in 1931 replaced the previous 1880 jail. After 135 years of housing criminals and juveniles, this facility closed in 1996. It is currently vacant.
Palestine Salt Works C. S. A.
The Courthouse is an imposing 1914 structure in the Renaissance Revival Style.
Ed spotted this giant dragonfly.
Marker for first Girl’s School, Sunday School, and Library attached to a piece of the building which no longer exists
McClure-McReynolds-Fowler Home built in 1849.
Interesting marker in front of the Greek Revival home designed by James Bunda, built in 1851.
A pretty house with no marker.
The John R. Hearne Family Home was built in 1896. It was continuously occupied by members of the Hearne family until the death of Esther Hearne in August of 2004.
Built and continuously occupied by family of Dr. Henry Link.
Link House – Queene-Anne Style home built in 1897 next door to his father’s house.
Alamo Elementary School built around 1911 now sits empty.
Pretty house no marker.
Texas – a vintage movie theatre from 1930.
Mural on a side street.
Second mural on the same building.
In 1945 the brethren bought an old church and remodeled it into their lodge.
Marker on the steps of the lodge.
Carnegie Library built in 1914 is now used for city offices.
Sanctuary dedicated on June 18, 1893, and named Sacred Heart.
The Redlands Hotel was built in 1914. Brown brick is artistically laid on all five stories with a cap of metal cornice on two sides.
Indian statue on a street corner.