East Texas

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East Texas boasts thick forests and tall pines, a thriving Native American reservation, small towns with historical roots, and two Texas industries. The region has more than 20 state parks including Caddo Lake, Lake Livingston, Tyler State Park and the Texas State Railroad.  

Located in the Big Thicket region since 1854, the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation offers recreational campgrounds that accommodate more than 200,000 visitors annually. Visitors can enjoy Lake Tombigbee and the surrounding hiking and nature trails.   Each June, the Alabama-Coushatta host a powwow.

Postcards of East Texas towns capture the local architecture and small town feel. These images document the important buildings of the time where people gathered for public events or went about their day-to-day life. News stories of the day, like the 1916 Paris, Texas fire, were documented through postcards. These images serve as mementos of a changing landscape.

The region is home to one of the most important oil regions in the nation, the East Texas basin, which includes the extensive East Texas oilfield. The oil industry has made its mark not only on the landscape but also on the region’s postcard memories. From oil gushers to fields of soaring oil rigs, this booming industry is splashed across postcard after postcard.

Since the early 19th century, the lumber industry looms large in East Texas. Railroads moved the supply of lumber around the state and brought visitors to the region. Today, visitors can explore the Texas State Railroad to learn more about the history of the railroad industry in East Texas.  

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Items in this Exhibit

The links shown below to the items displayed in this exhibit will open in PDF format in a separate window or tab. The documents are shown here in their entirety so some of the files contain multiple pages.

Texas’s Only Indian Reservation, Home of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribes, 17 miles east of Livingston on U.S. 190. Indian women in traditional costume, undated. Prints and Photographs collection, 1/152-1. and 'Na-Ski-La Bit-Le-Ha’ (Dogwood Dancers), undated. Prints and Photographs collection, 1/152-4.

The Last Indian in Northeast Texas this may be. Carved by Hungarian immigrant Peter Toth, this 30 foot wood sculpture resides at the Texas Tourist Bureau on I-30 at Texarkana, recalling the Caddo tribe once dominant in the Ark-La-Tex, about 1950s-1990s. Prints and Photographs collection, 2006/267-1048.

Logging Scene, Beaumont, Texas, 1908. Don Kelly Southeast Texas Postcard collection, 1991/183-506.

Logging Scene, near Beaumont, Texas, undated. Don Kelly Southeast Texas Postcard collection, 1991/183-511.

Beaumont Oil Gusher, Beaumont, Texas, undated. Don Kelly Southeast Texas Postcard collection, 1991/183-539.

Oil Fields at Night, Greetings from Beaumont, Texas, undated. Don Kelly Southeast Texas Postcard collection, 1991/183-568.

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Logging, Orange, Texas, undated. Don Kelly Southeast Texas Postcard collection, 1991/183-829.

Lotcher and Moore Camp, log camp, Orange, Texas, undated. Don Kelly Southeast Texas Postcard collection, 1991/183-831.

Kirby Lumber Corporation, Silsbee, Texas, undated. Don Kelly Southeast Texas Postcard collection, 1991/183-1369.

Paris, Texas, from N.E. corner of square after the fire, 1916. Prints and Photographs collection, 1949/003-1-2.

Court House, Marshall, Texas, circa 1900s. Prints and Photographs collection, 1988/180-16.

Texas Indians: The Story of Indian Village and The Alabama Indians in Polk County, Texas on The Alabama-Coushatta Reservation, 1948. James Ludwell Davis Sylestine papers, 1990/106.

Fort Houston, Home of Judge Reagan, Palestine, Texas, April 22, 1909. Prints  and Photographs collection, 2006/267-858.

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Page last modified: September 27, 2016