Nestled deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas, is the quaint village of Jefferson Texas. Jefferson is more Louisiana then West Texas, more New Orleans then Dallas. A walk through the brick lined streets of Jefferson, is a stroll through the antebellum days of the Deep South.
Jefferson is a town lost in time.
Jefferson was once the second largest city in Texas and was as deep into the Frontier West that the steamboats could travel from New Orleans. A bustling port town, the area that now houses the shops and restaurants in downtown Jefferson, was a seedy wharf full of brothels, taverns and gambling halls. Gunfights and duels at sunset were common affairs and no self respecting citizen would find themselves in this part of town without having business here.
This violent past is the reason why Jefferson is considered to be the most haunted city in Texas.
The steamboats no longer travel to Jefferson and the Dallas Street Wharf’s have long ago been reclaimed by nature. The hustle and bustle of this important city of commerce is gone and Jefferson is now a town of only 2,000 people.
Today, this now quiet town stands as a testament to it’s past. Old antebellum homes have been lovingly restored by their owners and are often offered for tours. The brothels and warehouses of Jefferson’s unruly past, are now cute shops and amazing restaurants. The courtrooms and jail houses of yesteryear now house museums. The brothels and gambling halls are long gone and this gentile town is now considered to the Bed and Breakfast capitol of Texas.
The Big Cypress Bayou still winds it’s way through the Historic Riverfront District but its been since 1904 since a steamboat docked in the famed Port of Jefferson. The river, much like the town it supports, is much smaller then it was in Jefferson’s heyday.
The city of Jefferson, in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers, is restoring the natural wetlands along the banks of the Big Cypress Bayou to it’s natural state. By the end of 2013, visitors should be able to walk along these historic banks and enjoy the natural beauty that this old bayou has to offer. New boat ramps are being installed and an amphitheater is being built.
Once again, the Big Cypress Bayou and Jefferson are destinations for people from all over the world.