Van Zandt
Praries & Lakes
2010 Census - 2,632
2000 Census - 2,362
Van, Texas
Van Texas History:
The first settlers in the area had arrived before the early 1860s. By 1874, the settlement that developed was known as “Ratty Towns” or “Who'd-a-Thought-It” after Mr. Ratty Towns who attempted to open a store. It was later known as Swindle. The Van post office was established in 1894 with schoolteacher Henry Vance as postmaster. Van experienced a boom period in after the Texas Oil Company discovered oil in the area in 1929. In November, 1929, Sun Oil, Shell Petroleum, the Texas Company, Pure Oil, and Humble became co-owners of the field. The Texas Shortline Railway was extended from Grand Salineto Van in the 1930s. Van is located at the intersections of IH-20, SH 110 (North Maples), SH 110/FM 16 (E. Main), and FM 314 (S. Oak Street), 29 miles southeast of Wills Point and Lake Tawakoni, 33.6 miles southeast of Emory, 24 miles southeast of Alba and Lake Fork, 23 miles southeast of Edgewood, 18.8 miles southeast of Grand Saline, 16.6 miles southeast of Canton, 50 miles southwest of Winnsboro, 35 miles southwest of Quitman, 35 miles southwest of Hawkins, 20 miles southwest of Mineola, 56 miles west of Longview, 14.4 miles west of Lindale and Tyler State Park, 38 miles northwest of Whitehouse and Lake Tyler, 26 miles northwest of Tyler, 22 miles northwest of Chandler and Lake Palestine, 12 miles northwest of Edom, 41 miles northeast of Athens, 37 miles northeast of the Cedar Creek Reservoir and Purtis Creek State Park, and 9 miles northeast of Ben Wheeler, 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.
Van Community Library & Community Center:
The library provides traditional library services, children’s programs, children’s computers (no internet access), internet access for adults, English Second Language classes, and more. The library is free. Open Mon-Fri, 9am-Noon; Tue & Thu, 4pm-7pm. It is located inside the Van Community Center. (903) 963-7942. 310 Chestnut Street, Van 75790
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  Ben Wheeler Map; Click to Enlarge  Ben Wheeler Texas Area Map 
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 
Event Venue - Van Community Center & GED Program:
The center hosts a GED program and is available for event rentals. (903) 963-8641. 310 Chestnut Street.
Annual Van Zandt County Fair and Rodeo, 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. Contacts
Annual Ben Wheeler Birthday Bash in Ben Wheeler, TX, 4th Weekend in May:
Activities include an old fashioned picnic (bring your own; concessions are available), pony rides, mule drawn wagon rides, a one day Ben Wheeler Museum (bring artifacts to show), a Ben Wheeler the Postman reenactment, storytelling, quilts, spinning and crafting areas, games, a Birthday cake, adult costume contest, and live music. (903) 262-4786. 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. Ben Wheeler Map; Click to Enlarge  Ben Wheeler Texas Area Map
Annual Fall Feral Hawg 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, Mid-October, 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.
Red Moon Farm, Van, TX:
They were formerly the Texas Daily Harvest in Yantis, Texas. They grow organic produce and sell it through CSA memberships. (254) 541-5625. 1484 VZ CR 1505, Van, Texas 75790. Email
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.
The Farmhouse Restaurant, Van, TX:
They serve southern comfort foods, including chicken fried steak and delicious pies. The restaurant is housed in a 1920s Jamestown, Texas barn. (903) 963-7007. 1125 South Oak Street, Van, Texas 75790. Farmhouse Restaurant Menu  Reviews   
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