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Communities of Tyler County

Colmesneil
COLMESNEIL. Do you say “Col-mes-neil” or “Col-ma-neil”? Well, that depends on who you ask. But no matter who you ask, it’s a great little place with the big name!

Colmesneil, located 10 miles north of Woodville, was once the largest city within Tyler County. The old sawmill town was named after Mr. W.T. Colmesneil, the first train conductor to travel through the area. Mr. Colmesneil’s home has been restored and is now open as the W.T. Colmesneil House Library and Museum. The house is thought to be unusual in that it doesn’t face the street but instead faces the back of the property……and the railroad tracks. It is told that Mr. Colmesneil positioned it so that he could sit on the porch and watch the trains pass. Although the train tracks where taken up by TXDOT and the sawmill is gone, Colmesneil is still alive. Thriving on good ole’ country living, residents find the small town atmosphere a great place to raise families.

What do parents want for their kids? A good education for one. Colmesneil School District has been recognized by the state as an exemplary school district. Perhaps this is a result of the small classrooms providing great student/teacher ratios.

Parents and citizens alike take pride in the school and extra-curricular activities, and that pride shines throughout the community. “Go Bulldog” signs and folks all over town wearing red on game days are just a few reflections of support for the youth.

Lake Tejas, which is owned and operated by Colmesneil ISD, is a huge attraction for the youth and the elderly. Fed by seven natural springs and equipped with low and high diving boards, a “Wet Willie Slide,” kiddie slides and more, it is a great place for families to make a splash! Over the years, pavilions, paddle boats and campsites have been added for even more fun.

Lake Tejas is also the location for the annual Family Fun Day, held the Saturday before the July 4th weekend. Admission is free and local organizations such as the FFA and the Volunteer Fire Department set up booths to sell food and host games for all ages. After a day of all the watermelon you can eat, live bands and the laughter of children as they splash in the lake, it all ends in a bang with a fireworks show over the lake.

Just a hop, skip and jump away from Lake Tejas you will find several private lakes operated by the Property Owner Associations. Retirees and weekenders enjoy fishing from their back yards and the peacefulness of good ole’ nature. Another attraction for retirees is getting “coffee shop news” from around the table at the local store. Old-timers are always found enjoying fellowship and reminiscing about the old days.

Some residents find employment with the school and local businesses, but for those who commute to jobs in neighboring cities it is all worth it. There is something to be said for small towns, so give us a visit and let us know what you have to say.

Rockland
ROCKLAND. Named for the revealing limestone bedrock found in this area, Rockland is situated in the northeast corner of Tyler County, near the Jasper County line and the Neches River. The arrival of the Sabine and East Texas Railroad in 1882 from Beaumont supported the growth of the area, with a post office established a year later in 1883 and a sawmill that opened in 1894. The population of the area has remained nearly the same since 1990 at 105 residents.

Dam B/Town Bluff
DAM B. Dam B got its name from the Corp of Engineers plan to develop a series of three dams in the area. It was the second in the plan but the first to be built…hence Dam B. Its position between Woodville and Jasper, and being so close to the lake, make it an excellent fishing, boating and swimming community. Cherokee, Magnolia Ridge and Hen House Ridge are Corp of Engineers Parks located in that area. They have campsites, fishing piers and boat ramps. Each park has something different to offer. So check them out. Dam B has a Branch Post Office and a Volunteer Fire Department.

TOWN BLUFF. Town Bluff was one of the oldest settlements in Tyler County and served as a temporary seat of government before the permanent site of Woodville was established. The Corp of Engineers has an office in Town Bluff, which houses a small museum. Close by, the town’s park has a playground and picnic tables. It also has a wonderful panoramic view of the Bluff from which its name was derived. It overlooks the Steinhagen Lake and its dam. If you have the energy you can walk down to the dam at a nearby location.

Doucette
DOUCETTE. Doucette is on U.S. Highway 69, north of Woodville, in central Tyler County. In 1834 Elijah Hanks received a land grant in the area. A community coalesced around a sawmill built in 1890 by Alva Carrolls and for a while was known as Carrolls’ Switch. In 1891 Carrolls was bought out by William McCready, a Mr. Bodev and Pete Doucette, for whom the community was renamed. A post office was established in 1893, and sawmill operator William McCready was the first postmaster. The sawmill was eventually bought by Samuel F. Carter and his brother, whose partnership firm was called the Emporia Lumber Company. Before Emporia ceased operating the mill in 1906, Doucette had become one of the leading towns in East Texas.

During the 1920s the population in Doucette reached its height at 1,800. In the 1930s it fell to around 500 people and was served by about eight businesses. From 1943 to the late 1960s the population remained 250, and from 1970 to 1988 Doucette had 130 residents and four businesses. Though the heyday of lumber production at Doucette was during the early decades of the 20th century, as late as 1946 the mills there were producing 30 cars of poles and piling each week. Doucette managed to remain a small but viable community. In 1990 and 2000 it had a population of 131. Many of its current residents are descendants of those earlier citizens.

Spurger/Fred
SPURGER. Positioned in southeastern Tyler County, Spurger was named for a family of early landowners. The area’s premier school was opened in 1859, and its post office was instituted in 1881. Though the population fell to 120 in the 1960s, the number has risen to its current figure at 472.

FRED. Fred is a thriving little community located on Highway 92 between Spurger and Silsbee. The center of the community is the elementary school, which is a part of the Warren School District. The school is a state TAKS academic recognized campus. Grades Pre-K through fifth grade are serviced. After fifth grade students are bussed to Warren. The school hosts the largest Halloween carnival in the area, and the proceeds from the carnival go toward funding several programs for the school.

Fred has its own post office and has a busy health clinic. It is home to several denominational churches. Additionally, it has a video store with new and old videos for rent. Two local stores call Fred home, along with a restaurant, Fred Grocery, the Lazy E and Restaurant 92. Fred Grocery offers anything from souvenir Fred T-shirts, sliced luncheon meats, cheese, and pizza to snacks, groceries, gas and feed. The Lazy E offers feed, groceries, a hot breakfast and lunch, and short order items, with their taco salad being one of the best. Restaurant 92 offers hot meals, short orders and very good fresh seafood entrees. The restaurant is noted for its Friday night seafood buffet.

The community has a very active Lion’s Club and Volunteer Fire Department. The community sports a Community Park, which has an official Little League Ball Park, home to the South Tyler County Little League. The park also sports a popular one-fourth-mile walking track.

The best thing in Fred is its people. When there is a crisis the people of the community pull together to get through the crisis, whether it be someone in need or something special the community needs. Come visit Fred and its local establishments.

Warren/Hillister
WARREN. Warren, Texas is located in south central Tyler County, 12 miles south of Woodville on U.S. Highway 69 and 19 miles north of Kountze. Warren is located on a historical road that once ran from Liberty to Town Bluff. The Warren community began in earnest in 1883 with the building of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad, which ran from Beaumont through Warren to Rockland on the Neches River, and then in later years it eventually ran to Dallas. The first post office opened in 1883 in a large building that held the train depot and telegraph office.

Warren was named for a Mr. Warren, who was connected with the first saw mill built in the community in the mid-1880s by the Young and Williams Globe Planning Mills of Beaumont. The community and surrounding area was to become the home of a number of saw mills in the future years.

The Warren community continued to grow in the future years, but, like most small towns in rural areas, its population fluctuated. By 1917 Warren was the home of one of the 47 schools in the county, Warren District #24. By 1955 all of the small schools surrounding Warren had consolidated to form the Warren School District. Two of the early educators later served in elected positions: V.A. (Yank) Collins served as a state senator and Dave Lindsey served as a state representative. Today the Warren ISD has close to 1,300 students and is the second largest school district in Tyler County.

The Warren community is growing today, with new residents who have moved into the area looking for a more relaxed way of life and good schools for their children. Warren is the home to many welcoming churches offering a variety of denominations. New businesses have been opened in the past year, while others have seen major renovations. The first bank in Warren has opened, and another is in the planning stages.

Located in the Big Thicket close to the Neches River and Village Creek, the lake area just to the north, Warren is poised to continue to grow and prosper with great hunting and fishing resources and recreation areas available.

HILLISTER. Positioned within the south central section of Tyler County, Hillister’s heritage began as a sawmill town. The town was one of several that was established in the county with the emergence of the lumber industry and the railroads. Hillister’s population remained at 100 until the early 1940s, and now stands at around 200.

Ivanhoe
IVANHOE. For over 40 years Ivanhoe has been a haven for weekend family recreation and retirement. The community is located 50 miles North of Beaumont, seven miles south of Woodville, 35 miles east of Livingston and 35 miles west of Jasper on Highway 69. You have the small-town atmosphere of Woodville close by and your choice of larger cities to meet all your needs within an hour’s drive.

There are five lakes in Ivanhoe: the 165-acre Lake Charmaine for cruising and water sports and four other quiet lakes for fishing and relaxing. And you can enjoy all this on the fringes of the unique “Big Thicket National Preserve” portion of the Texas Forest Country. Birding opportunities are huge on Lake Sam Rayburn, and golf courses are just a short drive away.

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