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County
Rusk
Region
Pineywoods
Population
2010 Census - 13,712
2000 Census - 11,273
Nearby
Towns
Henderson, Texas
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Henderson Texas History:
In 1843, the Republic of Texas established Henderson as the county seat of the newly formed Rusk County. It was named for the first governor of Texas, James P. Henderson. The Henderson post office was established in 1846. In 1877, a branch railroad line was completed, connecting Henderson with the International & Great Northern railroad in Overton. Henderson became a shipping center for area farmers and ranchers. The East Texas Oil Field, the largest in the world at the time, was discovered on Oct. 3, 1930, the day the Daisy Bradford No. 3 blew in eight miles from Henderson, and two miles from the community of Cyril, later renamed Joinerville. Both towns became boom towns. Henderson’s population exploded from 3,000 in 1930 to 10,000 in 1933. The boom ended in the early 1940s and by 1943, Henderson’s population dropped to 6,437. The oil boom spawned the greatest school tragedy in the United States. In 1932, the nearby town of New London built a large $1 million school made of concrete and steel. The school board had elected to tap into the Parade Gasoline Company’s gas line in order to save the school’s monthly $300 natural bill. This practice was not illegal and was widespread in the area at the time. At this time, natural gas was odorless, and everyone was unaware a gas leak had allowed gas to collect in a huge dead space under the school. On March 18, 1937, a spark from a sander in the industrial arts section of the building ignited the gas. The resulting explosion destroyed the school and cost the deaths of over 295 students, teachers, staff and visitors. Across from the rebuilt school, a museum and a cenotaph memorialize those who were injured and those who lost their lives. Henderson incorporated in 1940. The town has 19 Texas Historical Markers, including the Howard-Dickinson House, the M. Kangerga House, and the T. J. Walling Log Cabin. In 1984, the Victorian deluxe Arnold outhouse in Henderson was awarded a Texas historical marker, giving Henderson legitimate claim to fame as the location of the "Fanciest Little Outhouse in Texas." The town was designated a Texas Main Street City in 1988. Henderson is located at the intersections of U.S. 259, U.S. 79, SH 155, SH 323, SH 322 and SH 43, 70 miles east of Athens, 60 miles southeast of Mineola, 48 miles southeast of Lindale, 32 miles southeast of Gladewater, 34 miles southeast of Tyler, 34 miles southeast of Tyler, 18.5 miles southeast of Kilgore, 14.5 miles southeast of Overton, 11 miles southeast of New London, 6.7 miles southeast of Joinerville, 48 miles south of Ore City and the Lake o the Pines Reservoir, 41 miles southwest of Marshall, 30 miles southwest of Longview, 21 miles southwest of Tatum, 10 miles southwest of Martin Creek Lake State Park, 28 miles west of Carthage, 40 miles northwest of Nacogdoches, 18 miles northwest of Mt. Enterprise, 48 miles northeast of Alto, 36.7 miles northeast of Rusk, 32.5 miles northeast of Jacksonville, and 48.5 miles northeast of Lake Palestine and Frankston, Texas.
 
Rusk County Courthouse, 1928:
This concrete and brick courthouse was designed in Texas renaissance style by architectural firm Curtis and Thomas, and A.C. Gentry. A statue of Rusk County’s namesake, Thomas Jefferson Rusk, is located on the grounds. The Rusk County Veterans Memorial was completed on the courthouse square in 2012. Individuals or groups may pledge $100 to have a veterans name listed on the memorial.
The 2010 Rusk County census was 53,330. (903) 657-0302. 115 N. Main Street.