LONGVIEW, TEXAS

Longview, Texas is located in eastern Gregg and western Harrison counties. Longview was founded in 1870, when the Southern Pacific Railroad extended its track from Marshall in Harrison County westward into Gregg County. The town was laid out on land purchased from Ossamus Hitch Methvin. Railroad management named the town Longview, for the impressive view from Methvin’s house, which was located on what is now Center Street. In 1871, a post office was established, and soon Longview became the western terminus of the railroad. Longview quickly developed as an important regional trading center, bringing in wagons from across East Texas. A commercial district quickly sprang up around the terminal. In its first years, Longview was a rough railroad town. Violence was common, and nearly half of the businesses were saloons. In 1872, the International Railroad built a connection between Longview and Palestine. By 1873, Longview was named county seat of Gregg County. Four years later, a third rail line was constructed in Longview, and despite a major fire in 1877, the town grew rapidly. In the early 1900s, population and growth slowed, and by 1920, Longview had become a rural cotton and lumbering center. During the 20s, the price of cotton fluctuated and and the timber industry dwindled. Fortunately, a paved highway, which later became U.S. Highway 80, was built through Longview causing population rebounded. But by 1929, the Texas and Pacific Railway moved its division offices to Mineola, taking nearly 700 families away from Longview. But just one year later, the East Texas oilfield was discovered, and spared the town from the effects of the Great Depression, and helped the town claim its position as the established business center and governmental seat of Gregg County. Longview became a thriving commercial and industrial city. During the 40s and 50s, Longview’s growth was steady, fueled by a growing migration from rural areas of Gregg County and by the annexation of neighboring communities. Later, growing Longview spread eastward into Harrison County.