Praries & Lakes
2010 Census - 18,712
2000 Census - 17,598
Palestine, Texas
Palestine Texas History:
Palestine was established in 1846 as the county seat of the newly formed Anderson County. The town was named after Palestine, Illinois, the hometown of Baptist minister Daniel Park who established the Pilgrim Baptist Church near Elkhart in 1833. An exact replica of this church is located 4 miles south of Elkhart on FM 861. The Palestine post office was established in 1847. The county courthouse was built on a small hill. According to the census taken by Susan Scott Mallard, wife of Judge John B. Mallard, Palestine had 1,200 residents in 1848. The Mallard home was the oldest home still standing in Palestine in 1990. In 1866, transportation was provided by Neches River paddle boats. The International-Great Northern Railroad built a line through Palestine in 1872. It built the line and established the railroad built its shops, switching yards, and offices on level ground nearly a mile west of the courthouse. A horse-drawn streetcar line was built to connect the courthouse and railroad station, but that proved to be uneconomical, and the single car was sold to the City of Dallas. By 1896, a new depot had been built, and the town was a shipping center for cotton, lumber, cottonseed oil, and fruit. During the 1880s and 1890s stores, saloons, and lodging houses rapidly formed a new business district by the tracks. This resulted in two business districts, Old Town and New Town, a designation still used in 1990, though the two sections had grown together. In 1914, Palestine had 11,000 residents. The 1928 discovery of oil east of Palestine at Boggy Creek diversified the town's economy and helped the town’s economy survive the Great Depression. Palestine soon became a center for oil-well servicing and supplies. Palestine is located west of the Neches River at the intersection of U.S. 84, U.S. 79 (Palestine Avenue), SH 155 and SH 19 (Crockett Road); it is surrounded by Loop 256. It is located 58.4 miles southeast of Corsicana, 59 miles southeast of Canton, 45 miles southeast of the Cedar Creek Reservoir & Cedar Creek Islands WMA, 50 miles southeast of Purtis Creek State Park, 34.7 southeast of Athens, 30 miles southeast of the Richard Chambers Reservoir, 21 miles southeast of the Gus Engeling WMA, 47.3 miles southwest of Tyler, 52 miles southwest of Whitehouse, 58.5 miles southwest of Henderson, 30 miles southwest of Striker Lake, 22.2 miles southwest of Frankston and Lake Palestine, 26 miles southwest of Jacksonville and Lake Jacksonville, 52 miles slightly southwest of Cushing, 30.5 miles slightly southwest of Rusk, 21 miles southwest of Maydelle and the Fairfield State Forest, 31 miles north of Tennessee Colony and the Gus Engeling WMA, 64.5 miles northwest of Nacogdoches, 38.5 miles northwest of Alto, 35.3 miles northwest of Crockett and Houston County Lake, 22.7 miles northwest of Grapeland and Mission Tejas State Park, 30 miles northwest of the Davy Crockett National Forest, 11 miles northwest of Elkhart, 49 miles northeast of Centerville and Fort Boggy State Park, 58.5 miles northeast of Mexia, Texas, and 35 miles east of Fairfield Lake State Park and Fairfield, Texas.
Old Town Palestine:
This area is located in a hollow along Howard Creek and features turn of the century buildings which are being restored. Many of them house restaurants and quaint shops, including a candle factory. During the early 1900's, the tin barn to the West of Howard Creek served as the Luminary Barn for the City of Palestine where the equipment used to daily light the gas street lamps was stored. It now houses Mary Jean’s, a fine gift shop and home décor store, and a candle factory. Howard Creek (also called Wells and Caddo Creek) flows between the tin barn and the old cotton gin and other buildings. Downtown Palestine has 4 National Historic Districts. A walking tour brochure is available from the Palestine Chamber of Commerce at 401 W. Main Street, Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm. A driving tour of Palestine’s historic sites is available from the Museum for East Texas Culture at 400 Micheaux Avenue; (903) 723-1914. Old Town is located near 302 E. Crawford Street, 2 blocks west of the courthouse square.(903) 731-4434.
Anderson County Courthouse, 1914:
The courthouse was designed in Renaissance revival style by Charles H. Page & Brothers. The courthouse features a double spiral interior staircase and a beautiful stained glass montage within the dome. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Texas Historical Landmark. The 2010 Anderson County census was 58,458. (903) 723-7406. 703 North Mallard Street.   
Anderson County Jail, 1930s:
The three story jail was designed in art deco style, and built of concrete and steel. In the 1930s, it was said to be one of the safest jails of its time. The jail still features its original cells and window bars. The jail is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The jail is now privately owned and is operated as Grinch’s Lair, a tourist attraction. (903) 373-8158. 704 Avenue A.