Designated as the Rusk County seat in 1843, the city enjoyed rapid growth during its first two decades, but a disastrous fire in 1860 destroyed most of the commercial buildings. Oil was discovered in 1930. The city is now an oil and agriculture commercial center, as well as home of Texas Baptist Institute.
This Main Street City has walking tours of the historic downtown district. The city is part of the National Register of Historic Downtown Squares.
Events include the Wildflower Driving Trails April 15–May 31 and the Heritage Syrup Festival in November.
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