Van Zandt
Praries & Lakes
2010 Census - 400
2000 Census - 400
Ben Wheeler, Texas
Ben Wheeler Texas History:
The site was first settled by Benjamin F. Wheeler around 1847; he obtained a grant of 640 acres at Craegleville near Grand Saline, and carried mail to the community in the early years. The community was named Clough after prominent early settler George Washington Clough; in 1876 a post office was established at his home and Clough became the first postmaster. The community was renamed for Ben Wheeler in 1878. Wheeler carried the mail from Tyler to Buffalo, staying the night with his friend Clough. In the early 1880s George Clough built a general store, a schoolhouse, and a church one mile east of the present townsite and applied to move the post office and change the name to Georgetown. While the post office was moved, there was already another Georgetown in Texas, so the community's name remained Ben Wheeler. A grocery store was established at Ben Wheeler in 1905, and in 1919 the town had a bank, a school, two churches, two cotton gins, a corn mill, the weekly Headlight, and an annual fair. With the growth of the nearby Van oilfield, hotels and dance halls opened. The population reached 375 in 1933. During the 1930s the cotton market fell, and many local farmers turned to truck farming; in the 1960s they turned to cattle. Ben Wheeler is located south of SH 64, at the intersection of FM 858 and FM 279, 12 miles southeast of Canton, 18 miles south of Grand Saline, 27.6 miles southwest of Mineola, 18 miles southwest of Van, 27 miles west of Lindale and Tyler State Park, 25 miles northwest of Tyler, 21 miles northwest of Chandler and Lake Palestine, 8 miles northwest of Edom, 22 miles northeast of Athens and Lake Athens, and 26.6miles northeast of Purtis State Park and Eustace, Texas.
Van Area Oil and Historical Museum:
This museum features exhibits depicting the history of Van as it grew from a farming community to becoming an important part of the East Texas oil industry. Exhibits include books, historical records, oil derricks, a working vintage corn sheller, a sewing machine, postal equipment, surveying equipment, a small working replica of an oilfield pumping unit, an old fire truck, oilfield tools, and household items,  ration books, school items and photos. Future plans include restoring an authentic Log Cabin which was found by Ken Baker when he was tearing down an old house; the house had been built around the cabin. Open Wed-Fri, 10am-Noon, and 1pm-4pm. Admission is free. Donations are gratefully accepted. Van Zandt County Genealogical Society: (903) 963-5435. The museum is located in Van on SH 16, just past Hilliard’s Hardware Store.
Ben Wheeler Arts & Historic District Foundation & Children's Library:
The foundation and the Children’s Library of Ben Wheeler are located in the historic Elwood Schoolhouse in downtown Ben Wheeler. The building is also used for events. The library is open Sat, 10am-2pm; Thursday, 3:30pm-6pm. (903) 833-1070.
Moore's Store:
Moore’s Store is housed in the former 1933 Fat Daddy Moore mercantile store. Amenities include a restaurant serving Homecooking, a bar, a dance floor, and live music on Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 9pm. Open Mon-Thu, 11am-10pm; Fri, 11am-12am; Sat, 11am-1am; Sun, 11am-10pm. (903) 833-5100. 1535 FM 279. Facebook   
Canton First Monday Trade Days and the Canton RV Park, Civic Center & Cafe:
First Monday Trade Days is thought to have started during Confederate times when district court meetings were held the first Monday of each month and residents and visitors swapped surplus stock, and later began swapping dogs, antiques, and other items on the 30 acre grounds. It has grown to be one of the nation’s best and most famous flea markets. It covers more than 100 acres and is so large it is impossible to view everything in one day. You will find “real” dealers and serious collectors at this market. Most indoor vendors accept checks and credit cards; many outdoor vendors accept cash only. Scooters, wagons, shopping carts, and sometimes wheelchairs are available for rent near each of the main entrances. Food and drink vendors and picnic tables are available within the park. Maps are available at the main gates and at the Information Booth in Trade Center IV. The town of Canton has 3,292 residents; over 200,000 visitors descend on the town during Trade Days so make your overnight reservations early. The market is open Thursday through Sunday prior to the first Monday of each month, from 7am to 6pm. Some vendors remain open until dark during the spring and summer months. Hours vary seasonally. Trade Days are located at the City of Canton’s Civic Center. The historic main west entrance features the 1850 arch and “The Trade” statue featuring a man and two dogs. This entrance is located on FM 859 (North Monday Lake). Additional entrances are located at SH 19 (Trade Days Boulevard), and SH 64 (Davis Street). Admission to Trade Days is free. (903) 567-6556. Fax: /2923. 800 Flea Market Road, Canton, TX 75103. Email 
Annual Moore's Store Saint Patty's Day Bar Stool Race, 19 March:
Participants buzz down Main Street on custom made and homemade bar stools! Other activities include an adult Easter egg hunt, and live music. (903) 833-5100.    
Annual Van Zandt County Fair and Rodeo, Canton, TX, April:
Activities include rodeo events, a pet show, a cook-off, concerts, a talent search, a chili cook-off, merchandise venues and food booths, and more. (903) 567-4149. The fairgrounds are located at 24742 SH 64 at SH 234 East, Canton. Contacts
Annual Far Out Art Fest, April:
This event features Texas artists and craftsmen. It is held at Harmony Garden Park in downtown Ben Wheeler Friday evening through Sunday at 4pm.  
Annual Fall Feral Hog Festival in Ben Wheeler, TX, August:
Activities include a wild hog cook-off, a follies show, a Hog Queen, live music on the Pickin’ Porch, a parade, vendors, and more. (903) 833-1070. Ben Wheeler is located on FM 279 and SH 64, 17 miles south of Grand Saline, ten miles southwest of Van, 10 miles northwest of Van, and 11.6 miles southeast of Canton. Email  Ben Wheeler Map; Click to Enlarge  Ben Wheeler Texas Area Map
Annual Van Oil Pageant, Parade & Festival, Sept or Oct, Van, Texas:
Activities include a mother/daughter tea (903-963-5101), a pageant, a 10am parade, antique tractors at the Farmhouse Restaurant (FM 314 at IH-20), and festival activities such as a live auction, a cake and pie baking contest, face painting, a bounce house, dominoes, washers and horseshoes, live entertainment at the park pavilion, a petting zoo, and a live auction. (903) 963-5051. This event is held downtown at the Van City Park.
Ben Wheeler Community Garden and Education Center:
The center offers classes in nutrition, gardening, recycling and other topics. The center is located near the downtown area at 1270 FM 279. (903) 833-1070.
Blueberry Hill Farms, Edom:
Open daily, 7am-7pm during blueberry season which begins approximately June 6th and extends into July. Chuck Arena: (903) 852-6175. The farm is located just south of Edom Texas at 10268 FM 314. Edom is located at the intersection of FM 314 and FM 279, 21.6 miles southeast of Canton, 10 miles southeast of Ben Wheeler, 24 miles southwest of Lindale, 20 miles northwest of Tyler, 13 miles northwest of Chandler, 13.4 miles northeast of Murchison, and 22 miles northeast of Athens, Texas.
Echo Springs Blueberry Farm, Brownsboro, TX:
Pick your own blueberries. They are open during blueberry season which begins the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and extends into July. They sell ice cream cones, ice cream Sundays, drinks, snacks, blueberry pastries, frozen blueberries, gift baskets, jams, jellies and coffee. They reopen mid-November for the Christmas holidays. Holiday gift basket orders begin November 19th. (903) 852-5277. The farm is located at 7235 FM 607, Brownsboro, TX 75778. Brownsboro is located at the intersection of SH 31 and FM 314, 16.5 miles northeast of Athens, 8 miles northeast of Murchison, 15 miles southeast of Ben Wheeler, 5 miles south of Edom, 19.7 miles southwest of Tyler, and 8 miles west of Chandler, Texas. Facebook  Brownsboro Map; Click to Enlarge  Brownsboro Area Map
Moore's Store & Live Music, Ben Wheeler, TX:
Moore’s serves award winning hamburgers and homemade potato chips, veggie wraps, salads, fried pies, and more. It also serves beer and wine. On Thursday there is an acoustic duo or band. On live music nights bands usually play from 8pm-11pm. Open Sun, Tue, & Wed, 10:30am-2:30pm; Thu-Sun, 10:30am-10pm. (903) 833-5100. Moore’s is located in downtown Ben Wheeler at 5135 FM 279. Ben Wheeler is located on FM 279 and SH 64, 17 miles south of Grand Saline, ten miles southwest of Van, 10 miles northwest of Van, and 11.6 miles southeast of Canton. Facebook  Reviews
Forge Bar and Grill & Live Music, Ben Wheeler:
They serve pizza, Happy Hour, and live music. Open Wed, 11am-10pm; Thu-Fri, 11am-11pm; Sat, 11am-12am. The kitchen and music stop at 10pm. (903) 833-5970. 1610 FM 279, Ben wheeler, Texas.  Reviews  
Four Winds Steakhouse, Wills Point, TX:
They serve great food in a fine dining environment with great views. The restaurant is located in the ranch house of former Dallas Cowboy Lee Roy Jordan. The chef is Frank Rumore, the former chef at Del Frisco’s. Reservations are available online or by calling after 2pm. (903) 873-2225. 21191 FM 47, Wills Point, 31 miles slightly northwest of Mineola, 18 miles slightly northwest of Grand Saline, 14 miles northwest of Canton, 20 miles northeast of Kaufman, 16 miles slightly southeast of Terrell, 24 miles southwest of Emory and 18 miles southeast of Quinlan, Texas. Reviews  Wills Point Map; Click to Enlarge
The Shed Cafe, Edom, TX:  
They serve good home cooking. Menu items include catfish, chicken fried steak, and homemade pies made from local fruit. A vegetable stand is located on the front porch. This local favorite has been the subject of several articles, including in the December 2008 Texas Monthly. On Tuesday evenings they host live country and bluegrass music. Open daily, 7am-8pm. (903) 852-7791. They are located at 8337 FM 279. Reviews 
Historic Roseland Plantation B & B, 1850s:
This award winning B & B features the Windsor House B & B, the Cherokee rose Log Cabin, weddings in a historic wedding chapel, a traditional afternoon (High Tea) by reservation, and special afternoon teas during Tyler’s Azalea Trail and Rose Festival weeks. Tours of Roseland Plantation include the five buildings dating from the 1850s; buildings include the Windsor House, Hambrick Chapel, the slave cabin, ballroom, and the Cherokee Rose Cabin. Tours are available by reservation between the hours of 10am and 4pm. In 2006 the Rose Plantation was voted East Texas’s #2 attraction by the East Texas Motorcoach FAM tours .Fees apply to all activities.(903) 849-5553. 2601 SH 64, Ben Wheeler, TX 75754.