12 East Texas Ghost Towns to Take Day Trips to
Incorporated as a town in 1837, Nacogdoches lays claim to being the oldest town in Texas. This East Texas small town is still going strong today and has become a major city in the state. However, that can't be said for other small towns throughout the piney woods. Quite a few small towns used to populate the East Texas landscape but for various reasons, no longer exist. Although the town may be gone there are buildings still standing where the town once stood and there are street names that bear the former city names. Looking through the Texas Escapes site online, here are a few of those towns that once called Smith and Gregg County home, but no longer exist.
These lost towns are from Gregg and Smith County. There are so many more in neighboring East Texas counties that we'll get to next!
EDIT: This article originally published on Jan 22, 2018
Sitting eight miles northeast of Longview and southeast of Gilmer along what is now highway 259 is where you would find Omega. This small town was originally part of Upshur County until the county was split up in 1873. This small town was more of a gathering of homes with a few stores scattered among them. There was no real definition for a city center or commercial area. The towns' school survived until the end of World War II and at that point the school closed. Omega remained on Texas maps until the 1960's.
In 1913 you could find Burning Bush in the extreme southern part of Smith County, near Bullard. The town remained on maps for about ten years before the residents abandoned the city because of political and religious reasons. All that remains of Burning Bush are the pecan orchards.
Camden (a.k.a. - Walling's Ferry)
One of the earliest communities within Gregg County, this town had its own zip code and would accept mail with either city name. Situated on the banks of the Sabine River, this town existed from the 1840's to about 1872. The town's population fled because of mosquitoes and the threat of malaria and by the mid-1870's it was a full on ghost town. The Camden cemetery can still be found about 10 miles south of Longview in Easton.
Located in Gregg County from 1900 - 1930, this small town had a connection with the International-Great Northern Railroad. The residents have all since dispersed and the town has been removed from Texas maps.
This small town in Gregg County went through a couple of name changes after being established in the 1840's. Located about three miles northeast of Kilgore and eight miles southwest of Longview had a post office established in 1850 and the towns name was changed to Rabbit Creek and then changed to New Danville in 1852, which it remained until 1873 when the residents abandoned the city. All that remains today are a cemetery along with a church.
Now I know where the term Rabbit Creek off road ATV park gets its name along with Danville Rd. in Kilgore!
This town was located six miles south of Longview in Gregg County. Before being dropped from the maps in the 1930's, this small town began in the 19850's as Cotton Plant, but was changed to Iron Bridge after the civil war in 1876. It grew to have about 150 residents before the post office was removed in 1891.
Located about 11 miles north of Tyler along Hwy. 69 in Smith County, Thedford became a stop along the railroad and the town was born in 1874. The population dwindled to about 25 people in 1910 and all that remains to this day is a cemetery.
Laying claims to having the largest Magnolia tree in the state of Texas is just about the only thing that remains of Hopewell. The town came into existence in 1887 when it was granted a post office, but the town seemed to be doomed from the beginning because the railroad by-passed the town. Nearby Swan got the attention of the railroad. Located about four miles north of Tyler, Hopewell featured a church, school and two cemeteries in the 1930's.
Greggton (a.k.a. - Willow Springs)
Starting out as Willow Springs in the 1870's, this small East Texas town had deep ties with railroad. The population swelled with the oil boom of the 1930's and once granted a post office in 1932 the name was changed to Greggton. Located on the western edge of Longview, this town was swallowed up by the city of Longview in the 1940's through annexation. There are some buildings that remain standing in old Greggton.
This small community of about two hundred people formed the small town during the oil boom of the 1930's. The town didn't really show eagerness to grow and prosper because they didn't really create any infrastructure. There were a few families remaining in the 1960's, but now they are considered Longview residents! Situated on the western side of Longview, Teneryville sat along Pine Tree Road.
Utica called Smith County home in the northwest part of the county in 1890. When the post office opened it served about a hundred people which it continued to serve until it was closed down in 1905. Today, Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge occupies part of the land which was known as Utica.
North Chapel was settled some time before 1900 but there is very little information about the community or its population. It's said that postwar job opportunities sent residents every which way, ultimately abandoning the town. Today, the church (now redone) and a few houses are left standing off of FM 1252.