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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jefferson Ghost Walk

this is one of the lovely Victorians, it is called the Benefield House,
 it is not on the haunted tour.
There is a great little town in East Texas about an hour from where I live, called Jefferson.  My favorite Aunt Ro lived there, and it is where I spent many happy memories as a child.  Whenever we went to visit I always felt like I was back in time It was a booming town in the 19th century and because of this it has incredible Victorian mansions.  Here is a little bit of the history.

Jefferson, Texas is located on Big Cypress Bayou in the Cypress Valley of Northeast Texas. It is the County seat for Marion county. Named for Francis Marion, a Revolutionary War patriot who was known as the "Swamp Fox", Marion County was created in 1860. Jefferson was named for Thomas Jefferson, and was conceived as a port city by Allen Urquhart and Daniel Alley, who saw its potential as the head of navigation when they prepared a plan for the town site in 1841.
waiting for us at The Benefield House
    In 1845, when obstructions were removed from Big Cypress Bayou, steamboats could reach Jefferson from New Orleans. After the arrival of the first steamboat, Jefferson became a boom town where many pioneers to Texas first set foot on Texas soil when they disembarked from the steamboats.
     Jefferson became a port of entry into the Republic of Texas and then the State of Texas. It was also a shipping port for those who wished to sell agricultural products, especially cotton. Cotton was brought to Jefferson from as far away as Dallas by ox wagon and then sold in Jefferson through receiving, forwarding, and commission merchants to markets in New Orleans and St. Louis.

Pride House, one of the haunted Victorians

Pride House
     During Jefferson's Golden Era as a steamboat port from 1845 until 1875, it became a cosmopolitan town like most port cities with a confluence of cultures and businesses. The architectural styles, which developed in Jefferson during this period of prosperity, resembled those of New Orleans. The homes were primarily of Greek revival design.
     When the log raft was removed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the year 1873, the water level in Big Cypress Bayou was reduced and navigation to Jefferson was threatened. Railroads were also extended during this period of time across Texas, which reduced Jefferson's commercial market area. The town ceased to be a prominent port city and commercial center. However, many of the mid-nineteenth century homes and buildings remain. 

There is a wonderful haunted tour there called, The Jefferson Ghost Walk, I have been on the tour several times, and even though I have never seen a real live ghost, it is worth taking the tour for the history alone.  It has wonderful resturants and hotels, I highly recommend a resturant called The Bakery and a lovely B/B called The Benefield House.

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