Various dates between 1836-40 are cited as the beginning of Jefferson at a river landing on Big Cypress Bayou. Whatever the date, early settlers were already established when the town was laid out in 1842. Today, many structures bear state historical medallions. Jefferson was an early major East Texas river port of entry when Big Cypress was navigable by steamboats from New Orleans.
It is the location of one of Texas' first breweries and, in 1873, the world's first ammonia refrigerant ice plant. It was the state's first city to use artificial gas for street lighting.
More than 60 bed-and-breakfast accommodations are offered in historic buildings. Explore several antique shops.