There were some 50 home or more built before World War I and many of these are marked with prominent signs which designate the year they were built and the names of the original owners. You can get tour maps and take a self-guided tour. There are over 20 official state historical markers.
The Franklin County Public Library is housed in a restored turn-of-the-century bank on the downtown square. Built in 1913 after the original First National Bank building was destroyed by fire. The bank took up the first and second floors and a large room at the front of the building was used by a dentist office. The bank continued to use the building until 1965 when a new building was built and the old one was later donated to the town to be used as a library.
Renovations were carried out to add an elevator for the handicapped although along with other modifications. Apparently when the windows were replaced, coins were found under the old ones that dated back to the early 1940’s so the crew added new coins for the next generation and remodelers.
The hours are Mon 9 am- 6 pm, Tues-Fri 9 am- 5 pm, Sat 9 am- 12 noon (Closed Sundays and Holidays).
Mt Vernon has the distinction of being the smallest city in Texas which has been approved as an official Texas Main Street City and the town is continually carrying our restoration. The downtown square surrounds the raised public plaza. The stagecoach stop was originally at the northeast corner of what is now Interstate 30 and State Highway 37 and was named Lone Star but was later abandoned with the town began to grow.
In the Plaza is a memorial to every soldier, sailor and marine in Franklin County who served in the world war. There is also a plaque below the memorial which states that the Plaza between 1878 and 1912 was the site of the first Franklin County Courthouse. After that time, the public plaza was established.
The Old 1912 Jail is located just behind the county courthouse. There is a permanent collection on display of a renovated 1912 vintage county jail on the upper floor. There is also a cell block of historical interest. Prisoners were housed here until 1992 and the steel doors and bars over the windows are intact.
The Franklin County Historical Museum is located in the former City Hall which was built in 1940, The museum is just a block behind the downtown square. On the side of the building was the old fire station. This museum is one of only 13 museums holding eggs of extinct Carolina Parakeet; Heath Hen; Passenger Pigeon.
They are open Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 to 4:00. Saturday 10:00 to 12:00.
This little park is just across from the old jail… a little run down and in need of some TLC, it features volleyball courts and has facilities for tennis, baseball, soccer, basketball, and picnicking. There is also playground equipment and a swimming pool which is open Memorial Day through Labor Day.
The first congregation of this church was organised in 1855 but wasn’t moved to this present site until around 1875. The original building was constructed in 1896 but the present day brick church was not built until 1930. An official Texas Historical Marker has been put at this church. I certainly won’t forget this church in a hurry. I picked up several Fire Ant bites just walking across the grassy strip to take my picture… not to mention transporting them into my car!!!
There is also a small 1890’s log cabin behind the railroad depot which has been moved onto the property. The cabin is built of hand hewn logs. It was originally moved to Cecil Martin farm in the 1930s before being donated by the descendants of the Martin family to the city.
The old railroad depot was built in 1894. As part of the Cotton Belt, the last regular passenger service from Mt Vernon ended in 1956. Today the depot has been restored and features a model train exhibit; working telegraphy and railroading exhibits. There is also a 1902 Studebaker covered wagon. Inside the depot there are two waiting rooms where passengers could enjoy a cool dupper of water from the public water buckets
On the property are small outbuildings comprising of a small barn, smokehouse, chicken coup and of course the necessary outhouse. There is also a 1868 log cabin which was moved to this location and where you can study log construction.
The Majors-Parchman Farmstead is a 1883 Victorian farmstead at the corner of Kaufman and Tolbert. The property is now a museum which will give you an idea of a working farm around the 1880’s.
The home also serves as headquarters for the Franklin County Historical Association.
Open in connection with museum, Tuesday & Thursday 10-4, Saturday 1-3, or by appointment. Admission is free.
This old wooden gazebo is the focal point of the Town Plaza and has been used for various events and activities throughout the years. Mt. Vernon became only one of a few towns statewide given the honour of being named a "Preserve America Community", a project was initiated by Mrs. Laura Bush
Right on the square in the 1894 Parchman-Meredith Store Building is the Franklin County Genealogical Society. It was established in 1997. Their room is open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm. The research room is now online as well if you are searching for family background.
Franklin County has had two courthouses. One built in 1875 when the county was known as Titus County and the current building which was constructed in 1912. The latest is in classic revival style. The courthouse sits across from the Town Plaza in the downtown square.