grown by Hulen Wilcox" c. 1950. Mr. Wilcox (who appears somewhat
reluctant to add one last melon) and two unidentified helpers.
Photo courtesy Arcadia Publ. & Cherokee Co Hist Commission
in a Pecan Shell
Named for Thomas Jefferson Rusk who signed the Texas Declaration of
Independence, Rusk also was the birthplace for James
Stephen Hogg and Thomas
Campbell who were the first two Governors of Texas to be born
in the state.
of significant events in Rusk:
1846: Rusk becomes
1847: Post office granted, courthouse and jail built
1850: Population 355 residents
1851: Stephens and Carter Academy was opened - to later become the
Rusk Male and Female Academy
1870s: When bypassed by the International-Great Northern Railroad,
Rusk built its own railroad to Jacksonville
- a railroad with wooden rails.
1880s: Population more than triples to nearly 2,000
1877: Work begins on State Penitentiary which later becomes the Rusk
1893: Rail line constructed linking prison with (what is now) Maydelle
1903: Gov. Thomas M. Campbell helps pass a bill extending the Texas
State Railroad from Rusk to Palestine.
1927: Courthouse square paved
1929: Population reaches 2,750
1936: Population reaches 3,859
1952: Population reaches its zenith at 6,617
Heritage Center of Cherokee County
- a block off Rusk’s courthouse square
Bank Building c. 1865 - first bank in Cherokee County
Theater - Restored movie house now house local theater - downtown
Old Rusk Penitentiary
Building: c. 1878 - U.S. 69 and Avenue "A"
Forest - 13 miles west of Rusk on Highway 84
Jim Hogg Historic
Site - 2 miles NE of Rusk on Highway 84
the 546 foot bridge is two blocks east of the square
: Mark Twain might have lived here
(from "East Texas Sunday Drives" by Bob Bowman)
Rusk, Alto, Jim Hogg State Park, Caddo Mounds State Historic Site,
two ghost towns, and the longest footbridge in the United States
Chamber of Commerce: 1-800-933-2381
|Workmen at the
state prison foundry at Rusk
Courtesy Arcadia Publishing &
Cherokee Co Hist Commission
From "All Things Historical" Column:
James Stephen Hogg by Archie P. McDonald
Thomas Mitchell Campbell by Archie P. McDonald
of an Oldtimer by Bob Bowman
"Alvin Burchfield of Rusk is the kind of oldtimer every historian
dreams of interviewing. At 92, he remembers more facts and dates
than you'll find in most county history books."
Swink Comes Home by Bob Bowman
Jim Swink, the lanky halfback who thrilled high school and Texas
Christian University football fans in the 1950s, has returned home
to his roots...
wooden-tracked railroad by Bob Bowman
The Rusk Tramway
It wasn’t the longest railroad in East Texas. And it certainly wasn’t
the most profitable. But it taught its builders, the good people
of Rusk, how not to run a railroad...
"In the late 1800's and 1900's my house served as a prison house..."
Rusk High School
Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
Churches in Rusk, Texas
on the lawn of the Third
Courtesy Arcadia Publishing & Cherokee Co Hist Commission
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact