The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas


November 9, 2013

Historically Speaking: Palestine's three towns, Part 2

PALESTINE — In the latter 1800s, towns across the state were fighting for prominence and one way to ensure prosperity was the prospect of attracting a railroad.

Prior to 1872 the best way to travel to Palestine was by riverboat on the Trinity. From there, you could take a horse and carriage in to town. The lack of paved roads at the time made getting to Palestine an interesting journey to say the least.

Palestine's civic leaders would pay $150,000 raised though bonds and additionally give land to the railroads for their infrastructure.

The land next to the railroad was used for a depot, shops and offices. The land directly to the north of the tracks would be divided into lots and sold back to the city and its citizens for the construction of stores, hotels and civic buildings.

In July of 1872 The International Railroad arrived. In December of the same year the Great Northern Railroad would also run its lines though town.

The joining of the two lines forming the International & Great Northern Railroad would create a relationship between the I&GN and Palestine that would last till this day.

The Railroad management assumed that all the citizens would follow the example set by others and move to the new town close to the tracks.

However, the older families resisted this and thus created East Palestine and West Palestine or “Old” and “New” town respectfully; this decision would create one on the most unique towns in Texas. Its was also with the arrival of the I&GN railroad that would thrust Palestine into its “Golden Age “ of growth, and Downtown would become a visual and economical representation of Palestine's sophistication and importance as a major center of commerce in the region.

As well as the buildings that you currently see downtown, so many important and ornate buildings existed that have been lost.

These include our three story Municipal Building decorated with a bell tower, the Temple Opera House, and several prominent hotels, of which The Redland's is the last standing.

Palestine once boastfully claimed the title “The Queen City Of East Texas,” a title that's been forgotten, but not necessarily undeserving.

Our Downtown in still as important as it has ever been. In fact, many buildings downtown still have their original and ornate look, simply hidden and waiting to be rediscovered.

With the opening of new business and the restoration movement that has been continuing, Palestine may one day regain its title as “ The Queen City Of East Texas.”


Text Only
  • 7-26-simon-slaw.jpg Cooking with Simon: Stomp grapes and eat Texas food

    If you’re picking up the newspaper on Saturday, you still have a chance to come out to Sabor a Pasion and celebrate the grape harvest at the 2nd Annual Charity Grape Stomp.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Two decades of storytelling

    For the past 20 years, I have covered everything under the sun while working as community editor at the Palestine Herald-Press. I have covered festivals, banquets, graduations, fires, wrecks, elections, giant vegetables, you name it, I probably wrote about it.

    July 26, 2014

  • At the Movies: 'Begin Again' — Fresh tale creates appeal

    Some people film big pictures.  Others do small pictures.  Writer-director John Carney makes small pictures. 

    July 26, 2014

  • IMG_1373.jpeg COOKING WITH SIMON: Summer produce brings recipe inspiration

    Chefs are always recreating their menus and finding new inspiration for recipes. People ask me how where my new ideas come from and what I do to get inspired. The answer – mowing the lawn – and, by the way, I have a lot of lawn, vineyard and fields to mow.

    July 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Swiss Chard  & Peach Salad COOKING WITH SIMON: Garden vegetables ready to harvest

    Last month, I was invited to cook for a group of clients at a fishing lodge in Alaska. It was quite an experience – beautiful scenery, amazing salmon, halibut, and great accessibility to some of the best fishing in the world.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • watermelon COOKING WITH SIMON: Red, white and watermelon

    Happy 4th of July weekend! On every street corner the fruit of Texas is being sold from the back of old trucks and roadside produce stands.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • COLUMN: Musings about life and the pursuit of happiness

    Yesterday was July 4th, a time we celebrate independence and the truths that all men are created equal and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” to quote Mr. Jefferson.

    July 5, 2014

  • MOVIE REVIEW: 22 Jump Street

    I should have known better.  Just like “Legally Blonde” and “Dumb and Dumber,” a comedy based on a premise as opposed to one based on truly funny characters merged with a clever situation should never have a sequel.

    July 3, 2014

  • 6-28--SIMON-Lamb-Sliders.jpg Cooking with Simon: Celebrate July 4th with lamb burgers

    Being born in one country and raised in another can bring a bit of confusion to one’s life. And then to find yourself living in a third country as an adult, is one reason this kiwi is all messed up.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editor's Notebook: Kids can create their own summer fun

    Things are so different today than when I was a kid. A recent conversation with my 9-year-old son reinforced my belief.

    June 28, 2014