(TX 294 and FM 1990 intersection, 11 miles SW of Palestine):
Founded in 1840s as a ferrying point on the Caddo Trace; later became
a major landing for flatboats and steamers on the Trinity River, where
cotton and other products were
shipped by a four-day trip to Galveston
to be exchanged for flour, salt, and sugar.
Magnolia -- named for a huge tree in center of town -- reached its
zenith in 1863, when it had several hundred people and eight major
stores. Focus of social life then was Haygood's Magnolia Tavern, where
board and lodging for a man and two horses cost $2 a day.
Haygood's was the scene of many gala parties feting riverboat passengers,
for when a deep-throated steamer whistle blew a few miles from port,
it signaled a rush of people from miles around eager to greet arrivals
and collect long-awaited parcels.
Growing river traffic spawned many towns like this, and from 1830
to 1880, Texas waterways were dotted with boats. From the first, though,
the state's rivers were unsuited for extensive trade, because even
the largest were shallow, winding, and often choked with debris. After
1880, trains replaced riverboats.
An irony of the transition was that one of the last steamers to pass
Magnolia, in 1872, carried rails for the tracks being lad through
Magnolia historical marker
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, April 2010
Born in South Carolina May 8, 1806.
Died October 15, 1890
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
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