Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jefferson, TX. Sternwheelers. "Gone With the Wind" Museum. Caddo Lake. Lake O' the Pines. Big Cypress Bayou. Vietnam Memorial.


For “Travel Tuesday” let’s visit Jefferson, TX in the Piney Woods Region of TX.  Texas Piney Woods is one of the seven regions in TX.

Experience the warmth and Southern hospitality of the Texas Piney Woods Region. This beautiful forest land offers visitors a glimpse of the history of the Republic of Texas and early statehood times. The Texas Piney Woods offers some of the best fishing, down home cooking, championship golf and family activities in the Lone Star State. Discover the Southern Hospitality of the Texas Piney Woods Region.

Jefferson, Texas

“Jefferson, Texas is located on Big Cypress Bayou in the Cypress Valley of Northeast Texas. It is the County seat for Marion county. Named for Francis Marion, a Revolutionary War patriot who was known as the "Swamp Fox", Marion County was created in 1860. Jefferson was named for Thomas Jefferson, and was conceived as a port city by Allen Urquhart and Daniel Alley, who saw its potential as the head of navigation when they prepared a plan for the town site in 1841.

The City of Jefferson, Texas..."Riverport to the Southwest". At a time when steamboats plied the Big Cypress River from the Port of New Orleans, true Southern gentility was the order of the day. This sense of timelessness prevails even unto today.
Let yourself be whisked away to a land not far away as you glide peacefully along an open-air riverboat where Jefferson’s colorful past comes alive. Take a ride into the 19th century as you travel on a steam engine train of which played a significant role in Jefferson’s history.

Horse-drawn carriages and trolleys ramble through brick streets,

Relax in a carriage ride and hear the many legends and lore. Relive the past as you stroll through museums and special places of interest. Spend a memorable evening in an historic hotel or motel or one of the many elegant bed & breakfasts. Jefferson is well known as the Bed & Breakfast Capitol of Texas.
Ease along the brick streets as you enter the merchant’s shops and be dazzled by their variety of wares. Allow yourself to be captivated by culinary delights ranging from casual to fine dining.

Settle in for a journey through time when the living was easy and the era was golden. As you stand on the banks of the Big Cypress you’ll get a sense of days gone by. Close your eyes and you can almost hear the whistle of steamboats entering port, the rustle of long petticoats and riverboat gamblers trying their fortune.

    In 1845, when obstructions were removed from Big Cypress Bayou, steamboats could reach Jefferson from New Orleans. After the arrival of the first steamboat, Jefferson became a boom town where many pioneers to Texas first set foot on Texas soil when they disembarked from the steamboats.

to be by ox-drawn wagons.

   Jefferson became a port of entry into the Republic of Texas and then the State of Texas. It was also a shipping port for those who wished to sell agricultural products, especially cotton. Cotton was brought to Jefferson from as far away as Dallas by ox wagon and then sold in Jefferson through receiving, forwarding, and commission merchants to markets in New Orleans and St. Louis.

    During Jefferson's Golden Era as a steamboat port from 1845 until 1875, it became a cosmopolitan town like most port cities with a confluence of cultures and businesses. The architectural styles, which developed in Jefferson during this period of prosperity, resembled those of New Orleans. The homes were primarily of Greek revival design.

A Day At Historic Jefferson, Texas

Jefferson has become a community with a high quality of life. Tourists come to Jefferson seeking the ambience, relaxation and activities which are provided here. Jefferson boasts many bed and breakfast inns, restaurants, places of entertainment and shops. There are boat rides on Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake, wagon and surrey rides, rides on a railroad train and tours of historic homes. New residents from across the United States have chosen Jefferson for their home because it is an open, friendly community where people from diverse places and backgrounds feel comfortable in a progressive setting. One of the most common statements from those who have experienced Jefferson is "Jefferson is a magical place and a town that time forgot."


Caddo Lake

   Caddo lake is located in Marion County, Harrison County and Caddo Parish Louisiana, a few miles east of Jefferson. It is a beautiful water garden of bayous, cypress trees, Spanish moss, lotuses and water lilies. There are many fine homes and restaurants located on Caddo lake and Big Cypress Bayou. Both day and night tours of this majestic swamp are available.  To visit Caddo Lakes Web-site, please go to www.caddolakecollections.com and enjoy the history along with some beautiful photos.


Big Cypress Bayou

Big Cypress Bayou, Jefferson,


Big Cypress Bayou, Jefferson,

    Big Cypress Bayou (sometimes called Big Cypress Creek) is formed in the southern part of Franklin County and flows eastward into Camp, Titus, Morris, Marion, and Harrison Counties. Two major water impoundments, Lake O' The Pines and Caddo Lake, are located on the Bayou. Lake Franklin County, a small impoundment, is located at the headwaters of the bayou. Big Cypress Bayou flows for approximately 38 miles in its upper reaches and an additional 34 miles between Lake O' The Pines and Caddo Lake. Running its entire course through a heavily forested region of northeast Texas, these upper reaches of the bayou are subject to varying water conditions and are not always suitable for recreational use. Log jams are prevalent when floating Big Cypress Bayou and may hinder navigation.


Lake O' the Pines


   Lake O' the Pines is a lake operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It has large open water for sailboats, ski boats and other water craft. Its camping nature trails, beaches and other recreational areas are outstanding. On its shores are homes, restaurants and boat marinas.    To  visit  Lake O' the Pines  Web-site, please go to  www.lakeothepines.com and enjoy the history, fishing report, property for sale and rent, and scenes of the lake.


  Jefferson is a pedestrian community. A resident or visitor can walk to banks, restaurants, coffee shops, governmental offices, antique shops, bars, and park in an intimate riverfront setting. It has recently relocated a circa 1934 Texas Forest Service tower near downtown for broadband access to all wireless services including wireless Internet.”


with an ox team and in the

with an ox team and in the  “Jefferson has played an important role in the early development of the state. Center of culture and refinement, of stern-wheelers, wagon trains, and ox-team freighters, Jefferson was once the pride of a great empire around which revolved graceful living, southern charm, prestige, and. productivity. The town's bygone glories cannot be forgotten, and today Jefferson is a most eloquent reminder of an era long since vanished.

  Situated on Big Cypress Bayou, Jefferson early became a riverport town, and, in fact, has been described as the "Riverport to the Southwest." The boats came up the Mississippi River into the Red River, through Caddo Lake, and up Big Cypress to what was known as, and still is termed, the "Turning Basin" where the stern-wheelers loaded and unloaded cargo. One of the early settlers of Jefferson was Captain William Perry, owner/builder of the world famous Excelsior Hotel, who arrived with the first stern-wheeler in 1844.

At a time before railroads came to North Texas, all towns and farmers were dependent on port cities to import and export their goods. Jefferson had the distinction on being the only dependable port in North Texas. Also in Jefferson's favor, cotton was the basis of the economy and came in large, bulky, 500-pound bales which, without a railroad, had to be shipped by boats. Jefferson all but monopolized shipping from an area that extended over 200 miles west, including the cotton rich "Black Land" north and south of Dallas.

The State of Texas, born in 1845, was a new incentive for an immigration rush into the area. People of all classes and professions, singly or in companies, by land, sea, and river, pushed in to Texas. Land was cleared, cabins built, and crops planted. Some wealthy planters migrated to Jefferson, settling on the bayou, and with their families and slaves, began to create a new cotton kingdom. Jefferson received the lion's share of the early immigration movement and soon became an East Texas metropolis.

A natural barrier in the Red River, called the "Great Raft" routed water into Cypress Bayou, reopening the channel enabling the steamboats to go as far as Jefferson. Elegant stern-wheelers from the Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers churned into Jefferson, earning the town the title of "Gateway to Texas". At the height of this bustling movement, the riverport town of Jefferson was second only to Galveston in the amount of tonnage shipped from Texas. During the Civil War, Jefferson became very important to the Confederacy as supplier of meat, hides, food staples, iron, monitions, and leather goods.

The years after the Civil War became Jefferson's heyday with people coming from the devastated southern states seeking a new life. In 1872, there were exports in the thousands of dry hides, green hides, tons of wool, pelts, bushels of seed, several thousand cattle and sheep, and over a hundred thousand feet of lumber. For the same period, there were 226 arrivals of steamboats with a carrying capacity averaging 425 tons each.

  Then began the "great decline." There have been many causes cited for the loss of prosperity, population, and businesses. It is felt strongly that one of the principal reasons for Jefferson's decline is that in 1873 the U.S. Corps of Engineers removed the Great Raft from the Red River above Shreveport, dropping the water level in Big Cypress Bayou to the point that shipping was uncertain and no longer financially profitable.  Railroads were also extended during this period of time across Texas, which reduced Jefferson's commercial market area. With the coming of railroads, shippers of merchandise no longer depended on waterways.  The town ceased to be a prominent port city and commercial center.

of the mid 19th Century in

However, many of the mid-nineteenth century homes and buildings remain.


Jefferson, Tx, a small town in



Today, Jefferson is a quaint small town featuring tour attractions reminiscent of its heyday. Its streets are lined with antique and gift shops stocked with unique treasures.

Horse-drawn carriages and trolleys tour along the original brick streets. Just one block away from downtown are riverboat tours of Big Cypress Bayou, the same waterway once traveled by stern-wheelers.”


“See one of the many museums...starting with Scarlett O'Hardy's
"Gone With the Wind"TM Museum
  Turn up your volume for the theme music!

This 1,700-square-foot museum dedicated to Gone With the Wind features one of the largest private collections of memorabilia from this epic story of the Old South.

Take one of Jefferson's many tours
including Turning Basin Bayou Tours...







Explore haunts and history..beginning at The Grove

The Grove is a private residence and tour home in the old Stephen Smith Land Grant section of town.”

I hope you enjoyed the visit to Jefferson, TX.


On This Day:

Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedicated, Nov 13, 1982:

“Near the end of a weeklong national salute to Americans who served in the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington after a march to its site by thousands of veterans of the conflict. The long-awaited memorial was a simple V-shaped black-granite wall inscribed with the names of the 57,939 Americans who died in the conflict, arranged in order of death, not rank, as was common in other memorials.

The designer of the memorial was Maya Lin, a Yale University architecture student who entered a nationwide competition to create a design for the monument. Lin, born in Ohio in 1959, was the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Many veterans' groups were opposed to Lin's winning design, which lacked a standard memorial's heroic statues and stirring words. However, a remarkable shift in public opinion occurred in the months after the memorial's dedication. Veterans and families of the dead walked the black reflective wall, seeking the names of their loved ones killed in the conflict. Once the name was located, visitors often made an etching or left a private offering, from notes and flowers to dog tags and cans of beer.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial soon became one of the most visited memorials in the nation's capital. A Smithsonian Institution director called it "a community of feelings, almost a sacred precinct," and a veteran declared that "it's the parade we never got." "The Wall" drew together both those who fought and those who marched against the war and served to promote national healing a decade after the divisive conflict's end.”



Now that we are relieved of doing anything else to Claudia’s place, Ray and I concentrated on getting my place ready for the appraiser. 

We hadn’t cleaned the four big cellular shades in my bedroom for ages.  Last time we did as we were instructed, and cleaned them with Oxyclean, in my bathtub.   That was awkward as the shades are so wide, and bending over that long wasn’t good for my back. 

This time I laid two of them out on a big work table outside, sprayed them down with diluted SuperClean, rubbed that in with a soft brush, and let them sit for a while.  It was very windy up here on this hill, and I wished I hadn’t been wearing shorts.

One thing lead to another, as when we removed the shades we could see that the walls needed painting. After all, this house is 10 years old, and it has marks from different window treatments over the years.  Ray washed the walls down with TSP, while I moved stuff out of his way.

I rinsed the shades with the water hose nozzle set on ‘shower" until the water ran clear.  They look like new again. We hung them up over some poles in the RVport to dry, and with the wind, that didn’t take long.  I brought them in and folded them up so their pleats will be crisp.

I let Miss Priss run around on my living room floor for the first time.  I had really wanted to wait until she had her first shots, but she seemed so bored staying in her cage all the time.  After I had put her back, I was in the kitchen, and who should come around the corner, but Miss Prissy Kitten.  I put her back again, and watched her get her head out between two of the bars and then get her body out.  So I had to put her in a different cage, as it is for her own safety that she is in there.

In the afternoon the temperatures dropped, so I had to turn on the heat. When I clean the other two shades, I’ll be wearing jeans today.


Tumbleweed Dee said...

That's a great idea on the blinds, wish I knew that when we had the condo. It's quite a job using the bathtub bending over.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Refresh my memory. When you sell you house, where are you going to move?

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thanks for your comments Dee and DD.

Yes, Dee it was one of those BTDT things, and I didn't want to do it that way again.

DD. I can put a 40' Park Model in the driveway of the side lot, and get it ready to live in. Then when the house sells, I can move the 40' to another lot somewhere. That's really all I need at my age.

Happy Tails and Trails, Penny

John Jensen said...


Just a comment on your Lake Caddo bayou photo.

These type of bayou photos are passed off by the State of LA and the oil and gas industry as pipeline or exploration canals, when nothing could be further from the truth. One, these old bayous are known and used by locals for the last 150+ odd years and two, see the Cyprus on the sunken (underwater) berm edge? Those are 200 + year old Cyprus trees. Oil and Gas industry only been here about 90 years. Any ole' Pirougue paddler knows them bayous been here a very long time. They are over 2,000 miles of bayous in Loosiann been here thousands of years. Only pencil neck I ever heard of that know that, is a guy over at www.ancientcanalbuilders.com. Not bad for some one never run a trotline. Though he tole me he run 'skate' gear off a Halibut boat in Alaska some. Sounded like he knew salt water pretty good.

Just thought you might be interested, cause it sure is a right nice picture.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, John.

That's very interesting about the ancient canals.

Happy Trails, Penny