HENDERSON Population - 11,927 Altitude - 505


Designated as the seat of Rusk County in 1843. Henderson enjoyed rapid growth during its first two decades, but a disastrous fire hit hard in 1860 destroying most businesses and homes.

Oil was discovered here in 1930 (see below). Now, this little city is an oil and agriculture commercial center;also the home of Texas Baptist Institute. City is a designated Main Street City with walking tours of the historic downtown district available.

Depot Museum and Children's Discovery Center-

This Restored 1901 Missouri Pacific Depot -  Red Caboose is the home of the Children's Discovery Center.

A beautifully Restored 1901 Missouri Pacific Railroad depot houses the museum of counties history in a quaint old waiting room and office. The warehouse portion is a hands-on learning center for children 3 to 11. On grounds is 1908 restored "Arnold Outhouse,which was the " first in state to receive historical marker. ornate, gingerbread-style, "three-holer" was built for prominent turn-of-the-century Henderson attorney. Restored 1841 log cabin on museum grounds is one of state's oldest. Other structures include a barn, broom shop, 1881 doctor's office, and an authentically restored 1880s dogtrot cabin. Open Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. - 5 p,m.; Sat, 9 a.m. - I p.m. 514 N. High St. Admission,

East Texas Discovery Well-

In 1927, Columbus M. "Dad" Joiner believed there was oil in Rusk County. Joiner and an Oklahoma attorney and oil promoter had won and lost two fortunes in oil, and despite nearing the age of 70, he was beginning another search "without even the proverbial shoestring". With inferior equipment, he drilled his first well on Daisy Bradford's land, about six miles from Henderson to a depth of 1,098 feet before junking the site. His second attempt was also unsuccessful. In January 1930, the third well was started by Joiner about 300 feet from his first attempt. On Sept, 3, 1930, the drill bit struck the Woodbine Sand and the core came up dripping with oil. On Oct. 3, 1930, the Daisy Bradford #3 blew in as a 300 barrel-a-day well at a depth of 3,592, Thus began the East Texas Oil Boom!

Pioneer Park, with derrick-covered picnic pavilions, is about six miles west of Henderson on Texas 64 at County Road 4148. Also in the park is the Joe Roughneck Monument, erected by Lone Star Steel as a memorial tribute to the working men in the oil fields known as "roughnecks".

The site of the Daisy Bradford #3 is about a mile north of Pioneer Park on County Road 4136 and is marked by a 1936 pink granite marker.

Harmony Hill Ghost Town-

Eighteen miles northeast on Texas 43, this town was an important trade center known as "Nip and Tuck" in 1850, By-passed by railroads, the town declined, and in 1906 a storm destroyed many buildings. Only a large, well-kept cemetery remains.

Howard-Dickinson House-

First brick house in county; built in 1855 and visited many times by Sam Houston, related to one of the builders. Restoration cited by American Association for State & Local History; authentically furnished. 501 S. Main St. Open Mon. - Fri. I - 5 p.m. Admission.

Lakeforest Park-

Fifty-five acres administered by City of Henderson with swimming pool, picnic areas, miniature golf, playgrounds, carousel, West on Texas 64.


Cherokee, Martin, Murvaut, and Striker.


Back to the top