“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Palestine in Anderson County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

The I&GN Railroad in Palestine

The I&GN Railroad in Palestine Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, August 16, 2020
1. The I&GN Railroad in Palestine Marker
Inscription.  ​

Established as Anderson County seat in 1846 by the Texas Legislature, Palestine grew steadily throughout the remaining 19th century, nearing 9,000 residents by 1900. The town first centered on trade facilitated by the Trinity River, with frequent steamboats bringing in staples in exchange for local and East Texas products. The river, however, was only navigable for half of each year, leaving residents to rely on ox-drawn wagons at other times.

Realizing the potential of the railroad, local leaders John H. Reagan and George A. Wright garnered wide support to offer county money to the Houston and Great Northern Railroad, later consolidated into the International and Great Northern Railroad, which reached Palestine in 1872. Between 1874 and 1875, the railroad moved its headquarters, along with shops and a roundhouse, to the town and became a vital economic force.

From the time rail construction began until beyond 1900, the railroad was the biggest employer in Palestine. Many employees came from other parts of the state and nation, as well as from other countries. A county immigration society helped promote immigration
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efforts, and the local newspaper sent thousands of circulars recruiting newcomers. Many immigrant families lived in Palestine, creating an international community in East Texas.

In an effort to spare the courthouse and original town square the noise and traffic associated with a railroad, the line was routed west of what became known as Old Town, the town's original business district. New Town developed around the rail depot, however it was decades before the two sections blended together. Although the automobile lessened the reliance on rail travel and shipping, the impact of the railroad is still seen in Palestine today.
Erected 2003 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 13178.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical year for this entry is 1846.
Location. 31° 45.722′ N, 95° 38.427′ W. Marker is in Palestine, Texas, in Anderson County. Marker is at the intersection of West Spring Street and West Oak Street, on the right when traveling west on West Spring Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 105 West Spring Street, Palestine TX 75801, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Christopher Columbus Rogers (a few steps from this marker); Captain Steven L. Bennett (approx. 0.2 miles away); Anderson County in the Civil War
Palestine Vistor Information Center image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, August 16, 2020
2. Palestine Vistor Information Center
The marker is farther to the right in this view of the former Palestine Depot.
(approx. 0.2 miles away); John H. Reagan (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sacred Heart Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); Kolstad Jewelers (approx. half a mile away); Site of McKnight Plaza (approx. 0.6 miles away); First Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Palestine.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 30, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 186 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 30, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 28, 2023