|1870-1871 - Then Came The Railroad: The original site of Longview lay in the western outskirts of the pioneer rural community of Earpville (pronounced as "Arpville") in Upshur County.|
The original site of Longview lay on the western outskirts of Earpville, a pioneer Upshur County community along the old Marshall-Tyler Road (today known as U.S. 80). Founded around 1850 by James Earp, Earpville (pronounced "Arpville") consisted of several farmhouses, a post office, blacksmith shop, a church, one or two stores, stagecoach stop and campground.
After the War Between the States, Northern capital allowed the Southern Pacific railroad to expand toward California from the pre-war terminus at Marshall. The Southern Pacific bought a 100-acre tract in April 1870 from farmer 0. H. Methvin, laying out a town site in advance of track construction. The name "Longview," implying farsighted plans, was selected for the new town and was inspired by the scenic view from atop Rock Hill, where Methvin's home was located.
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|1874 to 1880 - Rails, Timber, and Cotton Bring Growth: Like the oil boom exactly 60 years later, the railroad boom of the 1870s was a rowdy, colorful period that became legend and resulted in lasting improvements. |
Sale of lots began in September 1870, with the Southern Pacific buying another 50 acres from 0. H. Methvin to extend its town site further west. To attract investors and to speed development, streets were given a metropolitan width of 100 feet. The Longview Post Office was established Jan. 27, 1871, with O.H. Pegues, Jr. appointed first postmaster. On Feb. 22 that year, commercial train service began at Longview with great celebration. The track ended at a locomotive turntable between Center and High streets.
In May 1871, the one-square-mile town of Longview was incorporated. At age 20, James Stephen Hogg (first native-born governor of Texas 1891-1893) founded the city's first newspaper, the Longview News.
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|1880 to 1900 - The Good Old Days: During the 1880s and 1890s, greater Longview developed around two focal points, each based on a separate depot on the Texas & Pacific track. |
Greater Longview developed around two focal points, each based on a separate depot on the Texas & Pacific track. The downtown depot was on the west side of Fredonia Street while the Junction depot was near the site of the original International depot. Beginning in 1883, the shortest mule-drawn streetcar line in the nation operated between the two depots. (Until the 1940s, trains stopped at both depots). The grand Mobberly Hotel was built in 1884 at the Junction.
The city's increased wealth brought several banking institutions, including F.J. Harrison and Co., A.E. Clemmons & Sons, and First National Bank. Other establishments serving early Longview residents included Peoples State Bank and the Citizens National Bank. The latter was housed in the Everett Building (built 1910), now home to the Gregg County Historical Museum.
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|1900 to 1910 - Into the Twentieth Century: Longview was led into the Twentieth Century by Mayor Gabriel Augustus Bodenheim, known as "Bodie" (1873-1957). |
Longview was led into the 20th Century by Mayor Gabriel Augustus Bodenheim (1873-1957), known affectionately as "Bodie." Serving as mayor 1904-1916 and 1918-1920, Bodenheim oversaw Longview's first municipal water works, sanitary sewer system and street- paving projects. Known for his red lapel carnation and gold-headed cane, the mayor engineered the long-delayed annexation of Longview Junction, bringing the city's population to 5,000.
In appreciation, a landscaped downtown "Bodie Park" was created in his honor. The Longview Independent School District was created in 1909, replacing a wooden 1883 high school with a three-story brick structure featuring an impressive cupola. New elementary schools built in this period were Campus Ward, First Ward and Northcutt Heights.
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|1910 to 1930 - The End of the Beginning: After the eventful first decade of the century, Longview's buoyant development under the mayoralty of G. A. Bodenheim continued unabated for several years.|
J. Garland Pegues established the City Garage (later Pegues-Hurst Ford) in 1904. However, all roads leading out of Longview remained dirt wagon tracks, so railroads remained the city's lifeline. In 1910, there were 18 daily passenger trains. Beginning in 1911, Longview's rail center image was boosted with formation of a fourth line, the Port Bolivar & Iron Ore railroad. The Santa Fe took over the line in 1914. In the 1970s, the PB&10 right-of-way within Longview was developed as Cargill Long Park.
In 1912, the city's mule-drawn streetcars became electric trolleys. Local industry included Graham Manufacturing Company's box factory, producing containers for shipping fruits and vegetables. R.G. Brown's sawmill and lumber mill and a large planning mill operated by Castleberry & Flewellen provided local employment.
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|1930 to 1940 - First Discovery Wells and Then the Boom! Longview's fortune was made by the largest single pool of petroleum ever discovered before or since in the 48 states. |
Black gold! Suddenly, the Great Depression was forgotten with late 1930 discovery of the East Texas Oil Field, biggest in the world. Trapped in a layer of porous sandstone called the Woodbine formation some 3,600 feet below the surface, the field was some 40 miles long and five miles wide. Nearly half of the huge field was in Gregg County.
The Longview Chamber of Commerce offered a prize of $10,000 for the first oil well in Gregg County within 12 miles of the city. Realtor B.A. Skipper - who long had believed there was oil here - and other investors had already begun drilling on a farm owned by Kelly Plow Works manager F.K. Lathrop. On Jan. 28, 1931, the well blew in, capable of producing 18,000 barrels per day. The possibility of a single field loomed. The oil boom was on.
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|1940 to 1950 - The World at War-We Heed Freedom's Call: As
the East Texas oil boom receded, the big question was whether Longview
would stagnate like most other oil-boom centers of the past|
During World War II,
Longview served as gathering point for the "Big Inch" pipeline. Two feet
in diameter - the largest pipe yet constructed - the "Big Inch" line
carried crude oil to Pennsylvania. From there, branches led to East
Coast refineries. Completed in July 1943, the "Big Inch" protected the
bulk of the nation's wartime fuel supply against German submarines which
threatened tanker ships.
It is said that the Allies rode to victory on East Texas crude.
With the coming of the war, Longview was selected as site of a major
U.S. Army hospital. Harmon General Hospital consisted of 232 frame
buildings on a 156-acre tract off Mobberly Avenue. The facility was
dedicated Dec. 15, 1942, serving thousands of GIs before deactivation on
Jan. 20,1946.TELL ME MORE
|1950 to 1960 - A City that Grows: As the decade began, the LeTourneau plant was the largest industrial employer in Longview.|
The end of World War II
ushered in a long period of national prosperity, and Longview thrived
thanks to the East Texas Oil Field and associated natural gas.
Construction in Longview during the 1950s rivaled or exceeded that of
Major projects included a 10-story bank building, new sanctuaries
for First Baptist and First Methodist churches, the Petroleum Building,
Jaycee Exhibit Building at the Gregg County Fairgrounds, a new high
school auditorium, and several new school campuses. Major residential
subdivisions of the 1950s included Forest Park and Brookwood. By
decade's end, the city's population had increased from 24,502 to 40,050 -
a 63 percent growth rate.TELL ME MORE
|1960 to 1970 - A City that Expands its Influence: The
last decade of Longview's first hundred years was a time of historic
and fundamental change for Longview as for the whole country.|
The last decade of
Longview's first hundred years was a time of historic and fundamental
change. In 1962, the "slant hole" scandal brought unfavorable national
attention to the East Texas Oil Field. In 1963, the city reached west of
its own developed area and annexed the unincorporated community of
Greggton, including much of the Pine Tree Independent School District.
Construction of Loop 281 (begun in 1964) and Interstate Highway 20
(completed through Gregg County in 1968) helped decentralize the city's
development. Longview's major industrial addition of the decade was the
Schlitz (later Stroh) brewery. The city continued its healthy population
growth, boasting 46,744 residents at decade's end.
The decade of the 1970s saw
complete integration of the Longview Independent School District. For
the first time, African-Americans were elected to the Gregg County
Commissioners Court, City Council and School Board. In May 1970,
Longview celebrated its centennial with a ten-day festival involving a
large segment of the population. As the decade unfolded, plans were
under way for a new Longview High School campus, civic center,
historical museum, oil museum, and shopping mall.
After a hundred years, Longview had outgrown its comfortable image
as a small town. Boasting such amenities as a symphony orchestra, ballet
theater and art museum, the far-sighted community had come a long way
from its humble beginning of "100 Acres of Heritage."
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