LONGVIEW, TX (GREGG COUNTY).Longview, the county courthouse of Gregg County, is on Interstate Highway 20 and U.S. highways 80 and 259, about 125 miles east of Dallas in eastern Gregg and western Harrison counties. Within the early 1990s it had been the most important city in Gregg County. Its current boundaries include three leagues of land granted to Anglo-Americans late in 1835. There was no significant settlement of the world , however, until the 1840s and 1850s. What became Longview consisted of mostly hilly land within the southeast corner of Upshur County, devoted more to small farms than to large plantations. Before the war there have been , within what are now the Longview city limits, two rural communities with us post offices: Earpville within the east and pine within the west. A Methodist congregation at Earpville, dating back to 1846, later became this First United Methodist Church of Longview. Today’s pine Cumberland Presbyterian Church was chartered in 1847.
The town of Longview itself was founded within the early 1870s, when the Southern Pacific Railroad (later the Texas and Pacific) extended its track from Marshall in Harrison County westward into Gregg County. The railroad bypassed Earpville and laid out a replacement town a mile to the west ashore purchased from Ossamus Hitch Methvin, Sr. Railroad management called the new settlement Longview, reportedly due to the impressive view from Methvin’s house, which was on what’s now Center Street. A post office was established in January 1871 before regular rail service to the town began. thanks to financial problems the Southern Pacific delayed further track construction for 2 years, and Longview became the western terminus of the railroad. Wagons from throughout East Texas journeyed to the town, which quickly developed as a crucial regional trading center. a billboard district, composed of hastily built wood-frame buildings, sprang up round the terminal.
On May 17, 1871, Longview incorporated, the primary community in Gregg County to try to to so. Earpville disappeared from the map, but pine endured as a recognizable community, known later as Awalt, then as Willow Springs, and eventually as Greggton before being annexed by Longview within the 1960s. During its early years the town was dominated by Republican Party interests. Among the first opponents of the Republicans was James Stephen Hogg, who established, then discontinued, a triweekly newspaper during a two-month stay in Longview in 1871. In its first years Longview was a rough railroad town; violence was common, and nearly half the town’s businesses were said to possess been saloons.
Despite its rough character, however, there have been already signs within the early 1870s that the town was developing into a skilled city. In 1873 a weekly newspaper, the Longview New Era, began publishing. In 1872 the International Railroad (later the International-Great Northern), built a connection between Longview and Palestine. The railroad joined the Southern Pacific a few mile east of the Longview depot, and therefore the area became referred to as Longview Junction. a 3rd railroad, the Longview and Sabine Valley, began construction from Longview Junction in 1877. because the railroads furthered the economic transformation of the region, seven new counties were established in northeastern Texas by the fragmentation of long-established larger counties. In 1873 a county centered geographically and politically on Longview was proposed; it had been to require pieces from Upshur, Rusk, and Harrison counties. Longview became the county courthouse . When the Rusk portion clothed smaller than hoped and therefore the Harrison part proved unattainable, Longview was left very near one fringe of alittle and peculiarly shaped Gregg County.
During the 1870s and early 1880s the town grew rapidly. Partly thanks to a serious fire in 1877, the first frame buildings of the commercial center were replaced with structures of brick and stone. By 1882 Longview had Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Christian churches, also as three sawmills, two schools, a bank, a planing mill, a gin , a foundry, a workshop , a street railway, an opera with a capaciousness of 450, and three weekly newspapers-the New Era, the Surprise, and therefore the Democrat. At that point the estimated population was 1,525.
The area around Longview Junction also developed into alittle commercial center, and a street railway running along Fredonia and Methvin streets operated between the 2 depots. Longview Junction was annexed to the town in 1904. From 1882 until after war II, the city’s main plant was the Kelly Plow Company, a really substantial agricultural equipment factory. The town’s population grew steadily during the last years of the 1800s. By 1910 it had reached 5,155. The Longview light bulb and power service began supplying electricity around 1895; the primary municipal waterworks was installed in 1904; and a sanitary sewage system was installed around 1910. In 1903 the Graham Manufacturing Company built an outsized crate and box factory for farm produce next to the Kelly Plow Company. The Port Bolivar ore Railroad Company, formed in 1911, built about thirty miles of track north from the Junction as a part of an unsuccessful decide to develop Ore City.
Between 1910 and 1920 the increase slowed, and in 1920 Longview was a rural cotton and lumbering center with an estimated 5,713 residents; African Americans made up 31 percent of the population. Racial tensions, which had long been simmering beneath the surface, erupted into violence within the Longview riot of 1919. Black residences and businesses were burned and one African-American man was killed several miles west of Longview. During the 1920s cotton prices fluctuated and timber supplies dwindled, resulting in economic uncertainty for Longview. However, a paved highway, later referred to as U.S. Highway 80, was built through the town, and therefore the population increased by nearly 2,000 during the last decade . By 1929 the town had quite 7,000 residents. The Longview Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1916, promoted the town with an aggressive ad campaign . A Rotary Club was organized in 1920. In 1926 Longview became the headquarters of the newly founded East Texas Chamber of Commerce. In 1929 the Texas and Pacific Railway moved its division offices to Mineola, and nearly 700 families moved away. By 1930 the population of Longview had dropped to five ,036, slightly less than its population in 1910. the invention of the rich East Texas oilfield within the early 1930s, however, saved the town from the tough economic effects of the good Depression. Located several miles outside the oilfield, Longview was spared the worst aspects of boomtown chaos but was ready to maximize its position because the established business center and governmental seat of Gregg County. the town was transformed from a sleepy cotton, lumber, and railroad town populated largely by natives to a thriving commercial and industrial city dominated by mostly Southern newcomers. The population quite doubled during the 1930s, to 13,758 in 1940. that very same year the town reported 750 rated businesses. Burgeoning tax receipts allowed city and county officials to create numerous new government structures and schools, including a replacement county seat in 1932.
In 1942 construction began on the large Inch pipeline, which originated in Longview (see BIG INCH and tiny BIG INCH). From February 13, 1943, through August 31, 1945, this pipeline transported quite 261 million barrels of petroleum to the East Coast for refining. This ensured an uninterrupted supply of gas and oil during war II. Concerted efforts to draw in diversified industries to Longview during the war and for twenty years thereafter were led by Lewis Estes, newspaper publisher. During war II the federal built an outsized hospital complex, Harmon General Hospital, just outside of Longview. After the war, Robert G. LeTourneau opened an outsized factory for earth-moving equipment, and he acted with other civic leaders to show Harmon General Hospital into LeTourneau Technical Institute. In 1950 Eastman Kodak Company chose a site near Longview for its new subsidiary, Texas Eastman Company, which became the most important chemical complex in inland Texas. Other developments during the immediate postwar period within the greater Longview area included Gregg County Airport and Lake Cherokee. In 1966 a Schlitz brewery and an associated container factory were inbuilt Longview; the beer plant later became the Stroh Brewery, the most important in Texas, producing 4 million barrels annually.
During the 1940s and 1950s the population of Longview grew steadily, from 24,502 in 1950 to 40,050 in 1960. The city’s growth was fueled by a growing migration from rural areas of Gregg County and by the annexation of neighboring Greggton and Spring Hill. More recently the Longview metropolitan area has spread east into Harrison County. the town population reached 45,547 in 1970 and 62,762 in 1980. within the early 1990s Longview was a crucial regional industrial and center . the town is served by the Longview, Pine Tree, and Spring Hill independent school districts, each having a serious highschool . Longview’s population in 1990 was 70,311; the metropolitan area had an estimated population of 170,200. In 2000 the population was 73,344.