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Anderson County Seat, East Texas

Junction of Hwy 84, 79 and 19
108 miles SE of Dallas
150 miles N of Houston
36 miles SE of Athens on Hwy 19
Population: 18,977 (2010) 17,598 (2000)

Book Hotel Here >Palestine Texas

Missouri Pacific passenger depot in Palestine, Texas
Missouri Pacific Passenger Depot circa 1953, razed
Spring Street, Palestine, Texas

Photo courtesy Maurice Higginbotham

The Original County Seat was a town named Fort Houston. When the State declared that County Seats be at the geographic center of the county, Andersonians took them seriously and moved the two miles it required. Fort Houston melted into oblivion.

The County was named for vice-president of Texas Kenneth Lewis Anderson. There is a rumor that the city was named after Palestine, Illinois.

Palestine Texas Landmarks/Attractions

Anderson County courthouse Palestine Texas old  photo
Photo courtesy TXDoT
Anderson County Courthouse
Texas State Railroad station
The Texas State Railroad State Park >

The Texas State Railroad >
by Archie P. McDonald, PhD ("All Things Historical" Column)

TE Photo
  • The Texas State Railroad State Park & the Texas Forest Trail
    • Palestine is joined to nearby Rusk (25 miles) by the Texas State Railroad. This antique steam train is operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. The train operates from March to October. 1-800-442-8951 for reservations.
  • Murder on the Disoriented Express
    In October a local theater group performs Murder on the Disoriented Express on the train. This is a fund raising effort for the Palestine Library and the tickets include a buffet dinner. Make reservations by calling 1-800-659-3484.
  • Museum for East Texas Culture at 400 Micheaux Ave in Reagan Park. The museum puts to excellent use the former Palestine High School (c.1916). The Statue of John H. Reagan was sculpted by Pompeo Coppini in 1908 and was cast in Rome.

  • Howard House Museum at 1011 N. Perry Street. A Texas Historic Landmark, the house was built in the mid-1800s and bought by the city in 1963. Open Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 to 5:00, group tours by appointment.
  • Palestine’s Texas Theater by Bob Bowman
    The Texas Theater, one of the grand old movie houses of East Texas, has been restored and is now a setting for community stage productions. The Texas is not only a landmark for Palestine...
  • Texas Theatre by Dana Goolsby
    The crown jewel of downtown Palestine
    213 W. Crawford Street
  • The Redlands Hotel at 400 North Queen. Now a nostalgic galleria of specialty shops, the old hotel thrived from 1915 to 1918 and then served as an office building for the next four decades.
  • Carnegie Public Library, located at 502 North Queen. Built in 1915, the building is a recorded Texas historical landmark.
  • Book Hotel Here > Palestine Texas

    Palestine TX -  Restored Texas Theatre with neon sign
    Photo by Dana Goolsby, 2011
    Texas Theatre
    John H. Reagan Memorial, Palestine, Texas
    Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, 2009
    John Henniger Reagan
    & The John H. Reagan Memorial
    Palestine, Texas church
    Palestine Churches
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2006
    Anderson County jail, Palestine, Texas
    Anderson County Jail

    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2006
    Palestine Texas school
    Palestine School

    Photo courtesy Lori Martin, December 2005
    Federal Building Palestine Texas
    The Federal Building

    Photo courtesy Lori Martin, December 2005
    Ivanhoe Building Palestine Texas
    The Ivanhoe Building

    Photo courtesy Lori Martin, December 2005

    Palestine Texas Natural Attractions

  • Dogwood
    Late March and early April is a wonderful time to visit. Anderson County has some of the nicest rolling hills and dogwood trees bloom in profusion just before the deciduous trees leaf out.
  • Davey Dogwood Park
    Just north of town is Davey Dogwood Park, 200 acres of streams, trees and winding roads. The perfect place for a spring picnic. For information on current conditions call Texas Dogwood Trails Inc. at 903-729-7275.
  • Wisteria Trail
    Palestine is also on the unofficial East Texas "Wisteria Trail."
  • Palestine Community Forest
    There's another 700 acres in Palestine Community Forest. Just NW of town, this park offers memorable autumn views due to the proliferation of Sweetgum and Yaupon Trees.
  • Lake Palestine
    Over 25,000 acres. Marina and swimming beach. Twenty miles north.
  • Concord
    "The countryside around Montalba, north of Palestine in Anderson County, is among the most beautiful in East Texas with its small mountains, winding roads and scenic streams..."

  • Nearby Destinations
  • Anderson County Towns
  • Hwy 287 northwest 59 miles to Corsicana on I-45, then I-45 north on to Rice, Ennis and Dallas; or from Corsicana take Hwy 31 west to Kerens, Malokoff, and Athens.
  • Hwy 19 North 36 miles to Athens.
  • Hwy 19 South 36 miles to Crockett.
  • Hwy 84 East 31 miles to Rusk
  • Book Hotel Here > Palestine Texas

    Sunday Drive

    Palestine: Old homes, fruit cakes, and stained glass windows

    Excerpted from "The East Texas Sunday Drive Book" by Bob Bowman

    The focal point of this Sunday Drive is Palestine, the county seat of Anderson County and a town whose history parallels the arrival of the railroad in the l870s. But you'll also have the opportunity to see some excellent rural scenery.

    Start your Sunday Drive with a tour of downtown Palestine. The Chamber of Commerce offers an excellent walking tour guide which will carry you to several points of interest, including: next page

    Book Hotel Here > Palestine Texas

    Memorial Hospital
  • The Haunting of Old Memorial Hospital In Palestine by Dana Goolsby
    The old hospital has been abandoned as a care facility, however locals claim the facility has not been entirely deserted. Supernatural tales have lived within the old hospital far prior to the closing of the facility.
  • Palestine Texas History and Features
  • A Steamboat’s Tale by Bob Bowman
    "Lying in the Trinity River at Parker’s Bluff, near Palestine, a cluster of remnants from an old sidewheeler steamboat serve as reminders of an era when cotton was king in much of East Texas...."
  • Almost a Houston (Fort Houston) by Bob Bowman
  • Palestine: Old homes, fruit cakes, and stained glass windows by Bob Bowman
  • The Texas State Railroad and the Texas Forest Trail
  • The Texas State Railroad From "All Things Historical" columns by Archie P. McDonald, PhD
  • The Gem Picture Palace and Other 1920s Charms by Sandy Fiedler
  • "Voice of East Texas" East Texas feature stories by Sandy Fiedler from Palestine
  • Texas’ Oldest Bakery Ships Thousands of Pounds of Holiday Desserts by Dana Goolsby
    The oldest bakery in Texas - Eilenberger’s Bakery, located in historic downtown Palestine.

  • Country Legend Gene Watson by Bob Bowman
    Someone once asked country singing legend Ray Price to name his favorite singers. Price paused a minute and finally said, “I have too many to name, but Gene Watson would be right at the top.” But Watson--who was born in Palestine and raised in Paris--is such a low-keyed individual that he considers singing “just something I like to do,” like working on cars in his shop....
  • The 40-minute de facto president by Mike Cox


  • The note-in-a-bottle in Trinity River
  • (From Mike Cox's "Texas Tales")

    Carnegie Library in Palestine Tx
    Carnegie Library in Palestine
    Main Street Palestine today
    TE photo
    Palestine Texas city hall postcard
    Palestine City Hall
    Old postcard TE archives
    Palestine Texas street scene postcard
    Sycamore Street
    Old postcard TE archives
    Palestine Texas Spring street post card
    Spring Street
    Old postcard TE archives

    Palestine Tourist Information
    Palestine Convention and Visitor Bureau
    825 Spring Street, Palestine, TX 75801
    903-723-3014 or 800-659-3484
    Palestine Chamber of Commerce
    401 W. Main Street
    Book Hotel Here > Palestine Texas

    Palestine Texas Forum
  • Subject: It is wonderful town!
    I was reading all the wonderful stories on my hometown of Palestine, Texas and it made me glad to be from a small town. It was great place to grow up and still is to this day. When I travel my mind often return to Palestine. I am now forty years old and I still get lump in my throat when at dusk the light come on Ave A all the way to the Anderson County Courthouse on top of the hill as it stand there in all it beauty. - Rodney Paul Smith, Palestine,TX, April 12, 2007
    This page for Palestine, Texas sponsored by: Sandy Fiedler 10/01 5,00

    Book Hotel Here >
    Palestine Texas

  • Palestine, Texas
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