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Longview & Marshall:
A metropolitan Sunday Drive

Excerpted from
"The East Texas Sunday Drive Book"
by Bob Bowman

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Covering two of East Texas' principal cities, Longview and Marshall, this Sunday Drive is almost metropolitan in nature.

Begin at in downtown Longview with the excellent Gregg County Historical Museum at the corner of Fredonia and Bank streets. The museum's exhibits illustrate the development of Gregg County from the days of the Caddo Indians and will prepare you for the rest of your Sunday Drive.

Longview itself was carved out of the pine forests in l870 when railroad engineers surveyed a 50-acre tract deeded to the Southern Pacific Railroad by O.H. Methvin. From the crest of Capps Hill, the surveyors, looking into the distance to the south, remarked what a "long view" there was from the hill. Longview was made the county seat of newly-created Gregg County in l871.

Leaving the museum, you'll want to spend some time walking the streets of downtown Longview, where many of the city's oldest buildings are being preserved as the result of a strong historical movement in the community.

Longview Texas street scene
Longview street scene
TE photo, 2002

Be sure to see the historical marker to the last raid of the Dalton Gang at 200 North Fredonia. Here, at the First National Bank, a bloody gunfight resulted in three deaths when the Dalton Gang robbed the bank. The robbery resulted in the ultimate capture of the gang, ending its reign of crime and violence.

The Gregg County Courthouse is also in downtown Longview. Here is a statue to General John Gregg, a general in the Confederate Army. Other Longview places of interest include:

  • The Campbell Honeymoon Home, located at 521 North Second Street. This was the home of Texas Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell when he married Fannie Bruner while working as a clerk in the Gregg County courthouse in l878.
  • The Stagecoach Stop Museum at 322 Teague, one of the few remaining homes from Earpville, the forerunner of Longview. The building dates from the early l860s.
  • The Brown-Birdsong home at 104 West Whaley Street. This Victorian home was built in l879 by an early settler, B.W. Brown, a Methodist lay minister. Brown helped create Gregg County.

From Longview, head east on U.S. 80. You'll pass through Hallsville while traveling a scenic route characterized by meadows, ranches, and turn-of-the-century buildings. Hallsville dates back to l839 when W.C. Crawford built a fort as protection against Indians. The town was named for pioneer Elijah Hall in l870 when the railroad arrived.

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Entering Marshall, head for the downtown area to the south of U.S. 80. In the middle of the downtown area is the Old Courthouse Museum on Peter Whetstone Square. The museum includes an excellent exhibit of everything historical in Harrison County, including Indian artifacts, pioneer relics, needlecraft implements, paintings and drawings, religious memorabilia, and much more.

Marshall was founded in l842 and by l860 was the fourth largest city in Texas. After the Civil War, it became the gateway to Texas when the Texas and Pacific Railroad provided transcontinental railway service to the west.

Marshall, named for Chief Justice John Marshall, has an abundance of historical homes and the best way to see them is to pick up a copy of Max Lale's excellent historic tour guide from the Chamber of Commerce. Most of the historic buildings are located around the downtown area and near the railroad tracks on Washington Street.

Another excellent publication is the Marshall Stagecoach Trace Guide, a driving trail of sites in Harrison County.

Some of Marshall's most interesting historical sites include:

  • The Starr Family State Historic Site, known locally as "Maplecroft" for its abundance of maple trees. Located on 407 West Travis Street, the site is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The site tells the story of a prominent East Texas family since its arrival in Texas in 1834.

  • The Ginocchio Historical District on North Washington Street. The area includes the Ginocchio Hotel, once called "the finest overnight hotel and eating establishment between New Orleans and Denver." Built in the l890s, the hotel includes a rare, curly pine staircase. Also in the historical district are several Ginocchio homes built in the l880s, and the old Texas and Pacific Railroad Depot, one of the most interesting depots in East Texas.

  • The Allen House at 610 Washington, the museum and headquarters for the Harrison County Conservation Society. The New England-style salt box house was built in l879.

  • La Maison Malfacon, located aet 700 East Rusk Street, a bed-and-breakfast inn that was once the home of Texas publisher Robert W. Loughery, who became the U.S. consul to Acapulco, Mexico. The home was built in l866.

  • The site of the State Capitol of Missouri, 400 South Bolivar. The Confederate governor of Missouri moved his government-in-exile to a one-story wooden dwelling on this site during the Civil War after being run out of Missouri by federal troops.
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From Marshall, head east on Farm Road 1998.

At the Scottsville community, take time to explore the Scottsville Cemetery, which contains some of the most elaborate statutary in East Texas. Of particular interest is a breathtaking statue of a grieving angel. The gothic revival chapel made of stone was dedicated in l904 by Pete and Betty Scott Youree in memory of their only son, William.

Also at Scottsville is the plantation home of William Thomas Scott, who built the home in l840 after living for several years in a log cabin.

From Scottsville, continue on 1998 until you reach the intersection of Farm Road 134. Head south on 134 to the one-time cotton community of Jonesville. Here, you'll find an honest-go-goodness general store of the kind found around the turn of the century. The T.C. Lindsey & Company General Store, which evolved from the Jones Trading Post, has been in business since l847 and includes an enormous antique collection, as well as run-of-the mill store items. The store has been the scene of several movie and television productions. Nearby is a new museum housing rare automobiles, jukeboxes, and other memorabilia.

You'll also find at Jonesville a cotton gin, one of the last such businesses left in East Texas; the home of Dr. Samuel Floyd Vaughn, which dates back to the l840s; and Locust Grove, a stunning two-story house with double porches built in l847.

From Jonesville, continue on 134 to Waskom. Here, head south on Farm Road 9 until it intersects with Farm Road 2625. Follow 2625, passing through Crossroads, Rosobrough Springs, Darco and Gailee, until it reaches Farm Road 968. Head west back into Longview.

For meals, we recommend a couple of places, Johnny Cace's Seafood and Steak House, an institution in East Texas; Sally's Good Foods, also in Longview, which specializes in homestyle country meals; Gable's Restaurant in Marshall, which takes pride in its chicken, steaks and seafood entrees; and Neely's Sandwich Shop, also in Marshall, famous for its "brown pig" sandwich.

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(For additional information on places found on this Sunday Drive, contact the Longview Chamber of Commerce, 100 Grand Boulevard, Longview, TX 75604, telephone 214/753-3281, or the Marshall Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 520, Marshall, TX 75671, telephone 214/935-7868.)
Excerpt by permission of author Mr. Bob Bowman.
November 2000

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