2000 Census - 4,824
Gilmer Texas History:
Gilmer was founded in 1846 as the county seat of the newly formed Upshur County. The legislature named the town Gilmer after Thomas W. Gilmer who died during the test firing of a new cannon on the U.S.S. Princeton on February 28, 1844. The same explosion also killed United States Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur whom the county was named after. A temporary townsite was located 3 miles north of Gilmer; it is marked with a Texas Historical Marker. The Gilmer post office opened in 1847. Voters selected the permanent townsite in 1848. In 1860, Gilmer had twenty-five businesses, seven physicians, six law offices, two churches (Methodist and Baptist), two academies, and the post office. During Gilmer’s early years it was an area cotton center with as many as six gins in operation. In 1890, sweet potatoes became a major crop. In the late 1920s, crops were quarantined because of an infestation of sweet potato weevils. After the quarantine was lifted, the town established the East Texas Yamboree. During the 1920s, the town’s population dropped from 2,268 to 1,963 due to the fall of cotton prices. The discovery of the East Texas oil field at Joinerville saved the town from the worst effects of the Great Depression. By 1940, Gilmer had 3,138 residents. The population dropped slightly in the 1960s due to residents moving to a new subdivision located outside the city limits. After Gilmer annexed the subdivision, the population increased to 5,192. Today many residents commute to Longview and Tyler for work. Gilmer is located at the intersection of U.S. 271, SH 154 and SH 155, 45 miles northeast of Whitehouse and Tyler Lake, 36 miles northeast of Tyler, 36 miles northeast of Lindale and Tyler State Park, 20 miles northeast of Hawkins, Lake Hawkins and Big Sandy NWR, 15 miles northeast of Big Sandy, 40 miles northeast of Mineola, 35 miles southeast of Lake Fork, 30 miles southeast of Quitman, 36 miles southeast of Winnsboro, 25 miles southeast of Lake Bob Sandlin, 30 miles south of Mt. Pleasant, 19 miles south of Pittsburg, 30 miles southwest of Daingerfield and Daingerfield State Park, 60 miles southwest of Wright Patman Lake, 55 miles southwest of Atlanta and Atlanta State Park, 41 miles southwest of Linden, 28 miles southwest of Lake O’ the Pines, 43 miles west of Jefferson, 60 miles northwest of Uncertain and Caddo Lake, 51 miles northwest of Martin Creek Lake State Park, 40 miles northwest of Marshall, 46.5 miles northwest of Henderson, 28.5 miles northwest of Longview, 28 miles northwest of Kilgore, and 14 miles north of Lake Gladewater and Gladewater, Texas.
Upshur County Courthouse, 1933:
This modern courthouse was designed by architect Elmer G. Withers. The 2010 Upshur County census was 39,309. (903) 843-4003. 100 West Tyler Street, Gilmer, TX 75644.
Upshur County Historical Museum:
The museum features exhibits and photographs depicting the history of Upshur County. Exhibits include Caddo and archaic period artifacts, tools, furniture, military uniforms, costumes from the East Texas Yamboree, pottery, and other miscellaneous artifacts. The entrance murals were painted by artists Amy Patterson and Charlotte Spencer. The museum offers special monthly exhibits and events. Open Tue-Sat, 10:30am-4pm. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. (903) 843-5483. The museum is housed in the 1925 post office building at119 Simpson Street. Email
The Flight of the Phoenix Museum:
This beautiful and unique airplane hangar houses an operations base for the Dean Lumbar Company’s business aircraft, and the museum. The museum features many aircraft and hosts several aviation events each year. Fights and flight lessons are available to visitors by appointment. Open Tue-Sat, 9am-4pm. Admission is free. (903) 734 5850. This museum is located at the Gilmer Municipal Airport, Fox Stephens Field off U.S. 271 on Aviation Drive. Map
Gilmer Civic Center:
The center hosts special music and dance events. The auditorium provides seating for up to 1,105, a stage, and a commercial kitchen. (903) 797-8888. Events: (903) 734-1758.
Upshur County Library:
The library provides traditional library programs, children, youth and adult programs, summer programs, an excellent genealogy section, a Civil War reference section, public access computers with internet connections, and free Wi-Fi. It is housed in the former Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints church building. Open Mon-Fri, 9am-5:45pm. . (903) 843-5001. 702 West Tyler Street.
Darby Farms Natural Beef:
This east Texas dairy farm is owned by Cody and Rachelle Darby. Their beef cows are bred to registered Black Angus bulls and are rotated on Bermuda/Bahai grass based pastures. All cattle are free of hormones and antibiotics. Beef is processed at a local USDA inspected facility. Beef is sold by the whole, half or quarter; smaller packages are available. Area delivery or shipping is available. (903) 725-7051. 9713 Giraffe Road, Gilmer, Texas 75644. Email
Annual Hog Wild Tournament, Feb:
Categories include dog hunting, gun hunting and trapping. Four member dog teams must have a designated team captain. The team with the heaviest live hog wins; no pen raised hogs. The 2 member gun teams and 2 member trapping teams must also have a designated captain. Jim Barnhart, a retired government trapper, will build you a custom trap that will not only work great for the hog hunt but will last you for years to come. Jim’s Cell: (903) 841-0485. Jim’s Home Number: (903) 734-7033. The weigh in station is Mike Spencer’s Tractor Dealership at 1338 U.S. 271 South. Register for this event at the Chamber of Commerce. (903) 843-2413.
East Texas Yamboree, 3rd Thu-Sat in Oct:
This festival celebrating the sweet potato began in 1935. Activities include a pageant, the Saturday Queen’s Parade, a school/youth parade, a barn dance, carnival, livestock show, street dance, live music, a photography contest, a home canning contest, a quilt show, a luncheon, a yam pie contest, yam exhibits, a fiddler’s contest, junior and senior art shows, a tater trot, an arts and crafts show and a barbeque. The livestock shows are held at the Gilmer Civic Center and livestock grounds on U.S. 271. The arts and crafts booths are located near the Yamboree building in City Park at 1300 U.S. 271 North, just north of the Gilmer Civic Center and livestock grounds. There are no individual food concessions. The Upshur County Community Fund will provide the food concession. The coronation is held at the Civic Center on Wednesday night. The Saturday barn dance is held at the Trinity Street Gym at the intersection of Warren and Trinity Streets. The street dances are held on the downtown square. (903) 843-2413. Email