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Cherokee County TX
Cherokee County

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Jacksonville Hotels


Cherokee County, East Texas

31° 57' 49" N, 95° 16' 7" W (31.963611, -95.268611)

Junction of U.S. Hwy 69 and U.S. Hwy 79
14 miles NW of Rusk the county seat
27 miles S of Tyler
25 miles NE of Palestine
42 miles SE of Athens
ZIP code 75766
Area codes 430, 903
Population: 13,997 (2020)
14,544 (2010) 13,868 (2000) 12,765 (1990)

Book Hotel Here › Jacksonville Hotels

Tomato Bowl, Jacksonville, Texas
"The Tomato Bowl"
"Home of the Jacksonville Fight'n Indians"

Photo by John Troesser, 2002

History in a Pecan Shell

Jacksonville began as Gum Creek - the watercourse it overlooked. The first school opened in 1846 and post office was granted under the name Gum Creek in 1848.

With an early settler (blacksmith and postmaster) named Jackson Smith and Dr. William Jackson opening his practice nearby shortly thereafter - it was written that the town would be called Jacksonville. Smith had a townsite and square platted by 1850 and Dr. Jackson was one of the first to build inside the "city limits."

The post office name changed it's name that same year and two years later the International-Great Northern Railroad built through Cherokee County. They bypassed the town - but it was close enough to compromise. In late 1872 most of town was relocated two miles east to be alongside the tracks.
The Baptists and the Methodists built their churches around 1849 and the Masons opened a lodge in the early 1850s. The first newspaper published in Jacksonville was the Texan Intelligencer. Other papers that followed included the Cherokee Argonaut and Daily Progress.

In 1881 a public school took over the existing private "Collegiate Institute" and Jacksonville had a full public school system by 1892. Jacksonville College opened in 1899. Much later (1957) a Baptist theological seminary opened its doors. [See Colleges in Jacksonville]

Agriculture has always figured in Jacksonville's history. From the 1880s until 1914 it was a center for peach production and after that tomatoes were the major crop Jacksonville became known as the "tomato capital of the world" and home of "The Tomato Bowl" - the local stadium.

In 1904 Jacksonville's population was reported as 1,568. By the 1930s the figure had reached 6,000, and by the late 1950s, some 10,000. During the 1980s it reached 12,000, and in the early 1990s the town reported 13,020 residents and 551 businesses.

Jacksonville, Texas
Landmarks & Attractions

Jacksonville Texas Love's Look Out
Love's Look Out
Photo courtesy C. DeWaun Simmons, October 2006

Love's Look Out

"Perched atop a scenic forested ridge beside U.S. Highway 69 north of Jacksonville, Love's Lookout offers perhaps the grandest view in East Texas. Visitors can scan a horizon that stretches into several counties. Some are convinced that, on a clear day, they can see Louisiana... more "- (Bob Bowman's "All Things Historical" column.)

Not exactly a traditional "lover's leap" - nevertheless, the altitude and visual depth of this rest area surprises most people motoring through this part of East Texas.

View from Jacksonville Texas' Loves Look Out
The view from Love's Look Out
Photo courtesy C. DeWaun Simmons, October 2006

Jacksonville TX - Lover's Leap lookout

Lover's Leap Lookout Tower in Jacksonville
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson
Love's Look Out, Jacksonville, Texas

"Love's Look Out" on Highway 69

Postcard courtesy rootsweb.com/
Jacksonvill, Texas post office
Post Office in Jacksonville
Photo courtesy Lori Martin
Municipal building, Jacksonville, Texas
1930s postcard of the Municipal Building in Jacksonville
Postcard courtesy rootsweb.com/
Simple but elegant brickwork downtown.
Photo by John Troesser, 2002
Jacksonville architecture
A former hotel in Jacksonville
Photo by John Troesser, 2002
Neon Masonic sign, Jacksonville, Texas

Neon Masonic
Signs Downtown

Photo by John Troesser, 2002

Jacksonville, Texas Chronicles
The Circus Fight by Bob Bowman
"What one historian has called "the most famous circus fight in history" unfolded in 1873 as Robinson's Circus was preparing to leave Jacksonville in East Texas..."

Pistol Packing Mamma by Bob Bowman
One of the most popular songs in the U.S. during the mid-1940s was “Pistol Packing Mama.” But few know that the song came from East Texas and was written and performed by an Cherokee County musician Al Dexter, who was born at Jacksonville in 1902...

Haunted Jacksonville by Dana Goolsby
Jacksonville City Cemetery, Mother Templeton Statue, Killough Monument, and Lon Morris College

Crown Cafe- Old photos
The Killough Massacre

The Killough Massacre, October 5, 1838
by Janet Gregg

A Monument to the Killough Massacre
by Mitchel Whitington, from "Ghosts of East Texas and the Pineywoods"

Killough Massacre marker
Killough Massacre marker
Photo courtesy Janet Gregg, 2005

Jacksonville, Texas Images
Vintage & Contemporary

Southern Pacific Railroad Singers, Jacksonville, Texas  1920s
Southern Pacific Railroad Singers. This Jacksonville-based female choir performed in Texas towns all along the SP route in the late 1920s
Photo courtesy Arcadia Publishing and The Cherokee County Historical Commission

WW I Monument
Vintage Photos
Theatre, School, Church
Iron Works Historical Marker
Colleges in Jacksonville

Jacksonville, Texas Forum
I found your site while planning a short motorcycle ride in [East Texas] for me and my wife. Eastern Oklahoma has more mountains but ... otherwise the bike riding roads are about the same. Thanks to your site, we have made some nice trip plans for the area. - Mark A. Guthrie, Jacksonville, Texas, November 24, 2006

Take a road trip

East Texas

Jacksonville, Texas Nearby Towns:

See Cherokee County
Smith County | Anderson County | Henderson County

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