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Area History

Livingston History In a Nutshell

  • In 1835, Moses L. Choate, a native of Livingston, Tennessee, started a settlement which he first named “Springfield”.
  • Polk County was formed from Liberty County in 1846.
  • Moses Choate donated 100 acres for the county seat and town on the condition that it would be renamed “Livingston” in honor of his hometown.
  • Population of 135 in 1880.
  • Began as an agricultural community with the main crops being corn and cotton.
  • The construction of the Houston East and West Railroad in 1880 spurred rapid growth. The Livingston and Southeastern Railway and the Beaumont Great Northern Railroad connected Livingston to markets everywhere.
  • The railroad encouraged the growth of sawmills in and around the county seat.
  • By 1900 the population reached 1024.
  • A major fire occurred in 1902 caused by a feud between wet and dry proponents. Most of the town between Abbey and Polk Street was destroyed. Only the courthouse and few businesses survived.
  • Livingston was incorporated in 1902 and the process of rebuilding began, helped by the establishment of a brick factory soon afterwards.
  • Telephones arrived in 1903 with 40 telephones in service.
  • Electricity changed the town beginning in 1905. Fifteen homes were wired for lights which only worked at night. By 1910 businesses were installing electric fans and household appliances were becoming more common, so power was increased to include daylight hours as well.
  • There have been five courthouses through the years. The first was a one-room log cabin. Each subsequent courthouse was larger and more elaborate. The current courthouse was built in 1923 and has been renovated as the County’s needs change. The newest addition is the Judicial Center located south of the courthouse square.
  • The first school was a free academy financed by the Trinity Lodge #14, A.M. & F.M. in 1849. This school continued to operate until the late 1800’s.
  • In 1888 the board of the Public Free Schools of Livingston built a large two-story building on Jackson Avenue. Twenty years later, Livingston saw its first graduating class of three students.
  • 1910 brought the construction of a modern school with electrical services, a heating plant in the basement, nine classrooms, an auditorium and a library.
  • Early businesses in town included general stores, a livery and feed stable, brick factory, cotton gin, hotel, sawmills and blacksmiths.
  • In 1917 State Highway 35 (now U. S. 59) was constructed and became a major transportation artery through the town.
  • In 1932 oil was discovered about 10 miles south of the town. By 1936 there were ninety-three producing wells. The town extended its city limits at this time.
  • The economy continued to be based on agriculture, lumber and oil until the late 1960’s when tourism was added.
  • Lake Livingston Reservoir was built in 1968 to provide water storage and flood control on the Trinity River. Since that time, the lake has provided economic opportunities and a recreational destination for tourists interested in fishing, camping and boating.

See how we #LivLocal at these events...

Main Street Raffles Huge Prizes

Main Street Raffles Huge Prizes

Posted Date: 11/16/2022

Main Street Raffles Huge Prizes        It is time for some big prizes and some local love. This year Main Street and many sponsors have come together to raffle off 6 different prize packages worth . . .

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Scavenger Hunt for Rufus The Elf

Scavenger Hunt for Rufus The Elf

Posted Date: 11/18/2022

City of Livingston’s Special Events Presents: A Scavenger Hunt        It’s the time of year for fun, family and friends. Get a group together or enjoy some self-care alone time and join the . . .

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Livingston Hometown Christmas Event

Livingston Hometown Christmas Event

Posted Date: 11/28/2022

Livingston Hometown Christmas        It is time for a special event all the locals look forward to and all the visitors turn into a holiday tradition. Livingston Specialty Merchants’ Guild and . . .

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“All Aboard” for Local Holiday Tradition, Christmas Train Village

“All Aboard” for Local Holiday Tradition, Christmas Train Village

Posted Date: 11/25/2022

“All Aboard” for the Christmas Train Village...  The Polk County Heritage Society ushers in the 2020 holiday season with their 18th Annual Christmas Train Village event. You do not want to miss it! . . .

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Christmas Tree Farm Opens

Christmas Tree Farm Opens

Posted Date: 10/04/2022

Local Christmas Tree Farm Opens      The Piney Woods of Texas is just that. Piney woods. With the thick forests full of beautiful trees all over, sometimes the views are taken for granted. . . .

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Painting Class at Sew Fancy

Painting Class at Sew Fancy

Posted Date: 11/20/2022

Painting Class at Sew Fancy        Sew Fancy is the longest running antique mall and craft store in town. This shop is just outside of the city towards the lake. They are hosting an Pastel Painting . . .

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Annual Open House at Gokey’s Old Town Emporium

Annual Open House at Gokey’s Old Town Emporium

Posted Date: 11/22/2022

Annual Open House at Gokey’s Old Town Emporium      Gokey’s Old Town Emporium is a local Old Fashion Ice-Cream Parlor where the ice cream is just the cherry on top of the sundae. It has everything . . .

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Live Music at Across The Tracks

Live Music at Across The Tracks

Posted Date: 11/25/2022

Across The Tracks hosts Another Great Show        This rustic venue is excited to bring “Live, Local, Music” to downtown. Across The Tracks is located in the Historical Livingston Main Street . . .

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Visit with Santa at Gobel West

Visit with Santa at Gobel West

Posted Date: 11/22/2022

Visit with Santa at Gobel West      Gobel West Accessories is a local jewelry shop with additional accessories such as handcrafted leather goods like belts, wallets, and hat bands. It gives off . . .

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Annual Bethlehem Event in the Park

Annual Bethlehem Event in the Park

Posted Date: 11/25/2022

First Baptist Church hosts "A Drive Through Bethlehem" event in Pedigo Park. This will be a live performance of what life was like when Christ was born. Please contact Church with questions. . . .

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