There is a nice memorial on the courthouse grounds to all Anderson County Veterans who died in service to their country. I feel it is important to remember the contributions of our military to our freedom and way of life.
The Palestine Visitors Center is located in the ole railroad terminal which was built in the 1880s. Here you can get good information about Palestine and other attractions in the area. Hours are 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday; 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday; and Noon to 4 PM on Sunday.
Sometimes towns make murals to reflect the history of the area; sometimes just for the sake of the art; and sometimes just to cover up an ugly spot. The main photo is an example of using murals to cover ugly spots and the 2nd photo is an artistic/historical mural. Even the one covering the ugly spots deserves some credit though, at least they are trying to beautify the area.
Another building in Palestine listed on the National Register of Historic Places is the magnificent Sacred Heart Church. This beautiful building was completed in 1890 replacing an older building completed in 1874 that was destroyed by fire. The present building was designed by Galveston architect Nicholas J. Clayton.
The Redlands Hotel was completed in 1914 as a luxurious hotel for businessmen. Today you can get a weekend suite or a place for an extended stay here, and it is right downtown. The Redlands is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Carnegie Library was well predated by the lending library established by Judge John Graham Gooch in 1853 lending out his own books. However, this is still a very nice example of the many libraries established throughout the United States by Andrew Carnegie. This one was completed in 1914.
Palestine has the second most number of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places of any city in Texas, ncluding four full historic districts. Galveston has the most. Love that Chamber of Commerce Building (photo 3).
The Museum For East Texas Culture houses a recreated old schollroom, and a variety of artifacts and displays concerning the history of Palestine and East Texas. Displays also show the importance of the railroad to the development of the town; don't miss the refurbished caboose outside. The museum is housed in the old Palestine High School which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hours are 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday and 1 PM to 4 PM on Sunday (I heard a rumor though that the hours may be reduced).
Palestine (pronounced Pah-LESS-Teen or PAL-uh-steen) is a town of about 18,700 (up 6% since 2000) located along US Highways 79, 84, and 287 in eastern Texas. Palestine is the county seat of Anderson County, and was named for Palestine, Illinois. The original county seat was a small village named Houston (no not that one); but it was determined that the town was two miles from the center of the county. Taking the ruling that county seats in Texas should be in the center of the county VERY literally the town of Palestine was established in the 1840s as the county seat. Anderson County was named for former Vice President of the Texas Republic Kenneth L. Anderson. The beautiful Anderson County Courthouse was designed by the Austin architectural firm of Charles Page & Brother using the Beaux Arts style of architecture and was completed in 1914. I like the Ionic Columns, the Porticoes, and the statue of Justice. The courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The old downtown area is filled with architecture from the 1800's and the area is currently being rejuvenated. There are many antique stores and specialty shops to browse through as well as restaurants and a candle factory.
There are also some antique things and fun hats and boas. Lots of wonderful smells from the soaps and bath salts as you enter the shop. In the front of the store is the Bayberry Clothing Company which have brands such as April Cornell, Faith, and Usinda.
The Texas State Railroad dates back to the late 1800's when the TexasPrison System opened the East Texas Penitentiary in Rusk, Texas. The railroad was opened to transport timber and iron ore. After renovation, the railroad was reworked and reopened in 1976 as a tourist attraction to provide rides from Palestine to Rusk.
The office is opened 8am - 5pm to make a reservation for a ride. Check the website for a schedule.
Adult Round trip $16 or $22 for climate controlled.
Child Round trip $10 or $14 for climate controlled.
Children under 3 travel free.
Mark and I didn't have time to take the train ride, but it looked fun. There is also a small gift shop to browse in and lots of pictures on the walls to look through from the early days of the railroad.
This house is quite a landmark in Palestine and was built in 1896 by a native Texan from Robertson County, John Randolph Hearne who moved to Palestine in 1876. Mr Hearne operated retail drug stores in both Dallas and Palestine and also helped organise the Palestine National Bank. John Hearn's parents gave land to him and his new bride Emma Howard in 1883 as a wedding present. The house was built in pine and oak which Hearn personally selected and the red brick veneer was added in 1902.
The house continues to remain in the Hearne Family. Infact Esther Hearne lives in the house. The Texas Country Reporter t.v. series did a segment on this wonderful old lady in 2004, who at 102 yrs old was learning the computer, sending emails and surfing the net. Her instructor was a former pupil of this school teacher. It was an amazing story.
The Masonic Lodge or Temple is one of the oldest organisations in Anderson County and was unofficially established in 1846. For the first two years, meetings were held in members homes until the lodge was built in 1848. In 1859 the masons built a 2 story structure to provide a school for boys with a meeting hall on the 2nd floor. They later constructed a separate schoolhouse for girls in 1852.
This is the 3rd lodge which has 3 floors. The first floor was split into 3 separate stores for rental to local merchants. The second floor was styled as the city's first Opera House and the third floor was the meeting rooms for the lodge.
The Museum which was opened in 1982, is set up in the old Palestine High School building which was designed and built in 1915/16. Some of the exhibits include the railway room, The Fire Department Room, The Reagan Campbell Room, The Main Floor Hallway. There is also a vast collection of business and commercial historical documents as well as genealogy records stored there. Located right next to Reagan Park.
Open : Mon-Sat 10.00 - 5.00, Sun 1.00 - 4.00. Admission $1.00