"Our courthouse is so beautiful, we don't need a slogan."
Shelby County Seat, East
32 NE of Nacogdoches
At the intersection of Hwy 7 & 87
Just E of Hwy 96 in the middle of Shelby
17 miles W of Louisiana's state line
| Like the
town of Centerville
(Leon County), Center was named for its location at the center of Shelby County.
Center, Texas History in a Pecan Shell
Margaret Wilson and Jesse Amason donated the townsite in 1856 or 1857. In an 1866
election Center became the county seat, in one of Texas'
county seat disputes. In August 1866 the county records were stolen and brought
to Center, putting an end to the dispute. A post office opened there the same
year - further cementing the permanence of seat of county government.
In 1882 the courthouse burned. It was replaced by the current
courthouse which is usually regarded as one of the handsomest in Texas
In 1904, The Gulf, Beaumont and Great Northern Railway came through.
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The 1885 Romanesque Rivival courthouse is worth driving out of the way to see.
Inspired by the castles in his native Ireland, architect John Gibson also
included a fenced cupola in this handsome and unusual brick building.
County Courthouse by Lou Ann Herda
The courthouse and
matching (former) jail make Center an East
Texas weekend destination in itself.
The spacious square
shows the two buildings to their best advantage, however there's more. Right in
the Center of the Piney Woods, the city took the time to plant a wide variety
of trees on the courthouse lawn. In addition, the trees complement the courthouse,
rather than obscure it. A long row of hitching-rings are set into the curb on
the West side of the square.
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| || ||L
- Hitching Rings on Center's Courthouse Square |
R - The Old Jail Now
Center Chamber of Commerce
Center, Texas Attractions
National Forest - Entrance 11 miles SE on Hwy.87Shelby
County Museum is one block off the square on the corner of Pecan and Thomas
Hwy 87, FM
417 and FM 2694 to Boles Field Recreational Area, and other Forest Services Roads
in Sabine National Forest
Shelby County Chamber of Commerce - In the former jail.
100 Courthouse Square
A-101, Center Texas 75935.
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in East Texas
by Bob Bowman
"Through the efforts of the Texas Historical Commission
and the Pineywoods Foundation of Lufkin, historical markers are being placed at
the sites of each camp at Lufkin, Alto, Center, Tyler, Chireno, Tyler and San
Using only shovels, German prisoners built at Center an Olympic-size
swimming pool that was used for years by the town. Center Mayor John Windham,
who helped dedicate Center’s historical marker in January, recalled that County
Agent John Mooseburg was instrumental in bringing the POW’s to the town as labor
for agricultural work.
With a peak capacity of 700 prisoners, Camp Center
was the largest POW camp in the U.S." more
Legend Of Bone Hill by Bob Bowman
Bone Hill, a landmark standing
about four miles northeast of Center, reportedly got its name from a herd of cattle
who died atop the mill, leaving their bones to whiten in the East Texas sun. But,
as with all legends, there’s more to the story... more
Tree: The Haunted Tree of Shelby County's Square by James L. Choron
"There are too many people still around who remember the last time
someone tried to cut it down."
Days - A Ghost Story by James L. Choron
by Archie P. McDonald, PhD |
A feud that grew into a war erupted
in East Texas in 1839 and raged until 1844,
with occasional flair ups at various times for years afterwards.
in Harrison and Shelby counties but eventually involved San Augustine, Nacogdoches,
and other East Texas counties.
side was called the Regulators, who, as their name implies, wanted to "regulate"
the activities of rivals. Naturally, the Moderators wanted to "moderate" being
"regulated." Now it gets confusing... more
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic
photos, please contact
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