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County
Smith
Region
Pineywoods
Population
2010 Census - 96,900
2000 Census - 83,650
Nearby
Towns
Tyler, Texas
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Tyler Texas History:
Tyler was founded in 1846 by the Texas State legislature as the county seat of the newly formed Smith County. A commission chose a centrally located site, in 1847 purchased 100 acres from Edgar Pollett for $150, and platted 28 blocks around the courthouse square. The town was named for President John Tyler. A log courthouse on the north side of the square also served as the meeting hall and church. A new log courthouse was built in the center of the square in late 1847. It was replaced with a brick courthouse in 1852. Tyler incorporated in 1850. Tyler quickly became a commercial and shipping center for area plantations and farms. During the Civil War Tyler was the site Camp Ford, the largest Confederate ordnance plant in Texas, and the largest Union POW camp west of the Mississippi River.
With so much of its wealth invested in slavery, Tyler and Smith County suffered economically in the early post war period. The economy was also hurt when the Texas and Pacific and the International Railroads bypassed Tyler in the early 1870s. The town experienced resident and economic growth when the Houston and Great Northern built a line to Tyler in 1874. Tyler citizens were instrumental in the 1877 completion of the narrow gauge Tyler Tap Railroad between Tyler and Ferguson (now Big Sandy). In 1879, the Texas and St. Louis Railway Company purchased the Tap line and located its machine shops and hospital in the Tyler. In 1880, the Kansas and Gulf Short Line Railroad also established machine shops in Tyler. Due to the influx of laborers to the railroad shops, the city's population nearly tripled from 1880 to 1890. By 1885, the town had a public school system, two private colleges, two banks, several churches, a plow factory, planing mills, wagon and carriage factories, an ice factory, several gristmills and cotton gins, hotels, an opera house, lodge societies, a waterworks and two newspapers. By 1910, Tyler had 10,400 residents. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, agriculture remained Tyler’s main industry. The leading cash crop was Cotton until the mid-1890s when truck farming and fruit orchards became equally important. When the peach blight wiped out much of the fruit industry, farmers began growing roses which were ideally suited to the climate and soil. By the 1940s, over half the country’s rose bushes were grown within 10 miles of Tyler. After the East Texas Oil Field was discovered near Tyler in 1930, the city became an important regional center for the oil and gas industries. By 1950, the oil and gas industry and other commercial interests replaced farming in importance to the economy. Read the following sentence and you will see why the international Adopt-a-Highway movement originated in Tyler. The City of Tyler is located at the Junctions of U.S. 69, U.S. 271, SH 31, SH 64, SH 110, SH 155 and several Farm Roads, 73 miles northeast of Corsicana, 46 miles northeast of Malakoff and the Cedar Creek Reservoir, 36 miles northeast of Athens and Lake Athens, 11.4 miles northeast of Chandler and Lake Palestine, 95 miles southeast of Dallas, 36.8 miles southeast of Canton, 25.8 miles southeast of Mineola and Lake Hawkins, 13.8 miles southeast of Lindale and the Old Sabine Bottom WMA, approximately 10 miles south of Tyler State Park, 36 miles southwest of Gilmer, 39 miles southwest of Longview, 26 miles southwest of Kilgore, 25.6 miles southwest of Gladewater, 21 miles southwest of Hawkins, 54 miles west of Tatum, 34.6 miles northwest of Henderson, 11.5 miles northwest of Whitehouse and Lake Tyler, 41 miles northeast of Rusk, 27 miles north of Jacksonville and Lake Jacksonville, 15 miles north of Bullard, 47 miles northeast of Palestine, 25 miles northeast of Frankston, 12 miles northeast of Flint, and 10.8 miles northeast of Noonday, Texas. 
 
Camp Fannin Veterans Memorial:
The Camp Fannin Army infantry training center trained World War II military recruits. The camp was named in honor of Colonel Fannin of the Goliad Massacre. Amenities include regimental and site markers, and a memorial. Self-guided tours are available. The site is located on the grounds of the University of Texas Health Science Center at 11937 U.S. 271. Site guides are available from the hospital information desk. (903) 877-7075.
 
Smith County Courthouse, 1955:  
This concrete, brick and stone courthouse was designed in modern style by architects Thomas Jameson & Merrell. Click on the above link for photos of the beautiful 1910 courthouse which was dismantled after construction of the current courthouse was completed. The 2010 Smith County census was 209,714.  (903) 590-2600. 100 North Broadway Avenue.
 
Smith County Jail, 1881:
The jail has been renovated to its 1890's Italianate style. It now houses the law office of Robert B. Gilbert. Photos of the 1910 Smith County Courthouse are on display. Guided tours are available. (903) 593-2403. 309 East Erwin Street.