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 Pierre Hochendel/Maison Bayou Plantation

JEFFERSON

Population 2,205

Altitude 191


General

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. Today one of Texas' most historic towns. More than 30 structures bear State Historical Medallions. Several antique shops.

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

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.

Steel rails were also reaching west, but Jefferson, confident in the steamboat, refused Jay Gould's offer for a railroad. Gold angrily predicted death for the city, and laid his tracks elsewhere. He was right as far as the "city" goes, because growth in succeeding years, like the railroad, seemed to bypass Jefferson.

For today's traveler seeking a quiet reflection of a past era, it is a fortunate result.

BAYOU RIDING STABLES

CARNEGIE LIBRARY

HISTORIC HOMES TOURS

ALLY CARLSON HOUSE

CULBERSON HOUSE

FREEMAN PLANTATION

RUTH LESTER MEMORIAL AND PLAYHOUSE

HISTORIC INNS

JAY GOULD PRIVATE RAILROAD CAR

JEFFERSON & CYPRESS BAYOU RAILROAD

JEFFERSON HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM

TROLLEY RIDES

TURNING BASIN RIVER BOAT TOUR

WOODLANDS TRAIL


Attractions

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This file was last modified Thursday, 12-Oct-95 01:38:56