- About Us
Welcome to Palestine - Home of the Dogwood Trails
The City of Palestine (pronounced PAHL-uh-steen) provides comfort and affordability with the benefits of modern convenience for businesses, residents, and visitors. We are a family-oriented town that provides an elevated quality of life with limitless opportunities for business growth and development.
Palestine, Texas, the county seat of Anderson County, is conveniently located 108 miles southeast of Dallas and 150 miles north of Houston at the intersection of U.S. Highways 79 and 287 and deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas. Whether you're scouting Palestine for your new home or business site or just stopping by for a relaxing weekend visit, we're happy to have you, and the City staff is here to help make your experience an enjoyable one.
Daniel Parker, an early settler to east Texas, named Palestine after the Parkers' former home of Palestine, Illinois. In 1846, the Texas legislature created Palestine, located in the center of the county, to serve as the Anderson County seat.
Transportation & Commerce
The history and essential character of Palestine have always been shaped by transportation. Originally, the town thrived from the transportation of agricultural goods down the Trinity River. The introduction of the railroad in 1873 reshaped the city and led to a second economic and building boom. The subsequent commerce and activity created an environment that would support the success of prominent residents, such as politician John H. Reagan and Texas Governor Thomas M. Campbell. This also supported the development of some of the finest architecture in the region. The urban core of the city features architecture from such prominent architects as Nicholas Clayton and Wesley Clark Dodson. This legacy can still be seen through the numerous historic landmarks forming the districts and neighborhoods within the city.
Palestine continues to maintain its status as a transportation and shipping hub. Maintaining an ideal location for distribution to Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, and centered just over two hours from Dallas and Houston, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana, The longstanding relationship between the Union Pacific Railroad and the city continues to this day.
Palestine now ships by the highway as well as by rail. In the early 1980s, Walmart saw the advantage of Palestine's central location and built its first distribution center outside of its home state of Arkansas. That distribution center still operates today as one of only seven Fashion Distribution Centers in the U.S. The successful operations of that center led Walmart to build a second distribution center in Palestine in 1994. It is one of only 43 Regional Distribution Centers across the United States and ships and receives $2 billion in merchandise annually. Palestine is also the home to wholesale beverage distributors, aerospace parts distributors, and a wholesale giftware company. Palestine has existing structures available, as well as space to build and develop new facilities.
From its inception, the city of Palestine has been characterized by a commitment to development and emerging opportunities. The city is developing effective strategies to promote growth and development in a dynamic environment. Transportation infrastructure, available low-cost labor force, education and training programs, growing medical industry, lower cost of living, and quality of life offerings all make Palestine an effective place to locate your business. The Palestine Economic Development Corporation offers several incentives and can assist your business with relocation.
Quality of Life
In addition to industry, Palestine has a commitment to the quality of life of its residents. The Palestine Regional Medical Center and Palestine Regional Rehabilitation Hospital provide a full range of comprehensive care including the latest in diagnostic, therapeutic, and rehabilitative services. Approximately 500 employees and 50 volunteers work closely with the medical staff, which includes over 80 physicians representing 28 different medical specialties. The city continues to actively seek opportunities to better serve the health care needs of residents.
Palestine has a commitment to education. Currently, two colleges provide education and technical training. Trinity Valley Community College-Palestine offers a variety of academic transfer courses and vocational-technical programs. The UT Tyler-Palestine Campus currently offers courses in Nursing, Business, Education, Health and Kinesiology, and History.
Heritage & Tourism
With such a rich history, it is only natural that Palestine has developed into a tourist destination. The Texas State Railroad is the oldest and most widely known heritage railway within the State. Thanks to a longstanding commitment by the community to conserving and local investment in historic resources, the city currently features charming bed and breakfasts in restored Victorian homes, modern hotels, and restaurants filled with diverse fare for visitors to enjoy. Popular attractions include the Museum for East Texas Culture, The Texas Theatre, and Eilenberger's Bakery. Second only to Galveston, Palestine is home to over 1,800 historic sites. These include churches, buildings, monuments, cemeteries, museums, and more. View a full list of area attractions and accommodations at our Visitors Center Online and start planning your visit today!
The historic Texas State Railroad offers both steam and diesel excursions that travel between Palestine and the nearby town of Rusk. Special events throughout the year include The Polar ExpressTM, Spring Excursions, and the specialty food and wine trains.
Palestine is a designated Texas Main Street City and exhibits historic architecture from the early 1800s through the 1950s. Our Main Street District covers 44 blocks and is filled with eclectic boutiques, antique stores, cafes, bakeries, and diverse restaurants. Visit the Main Street Facebook page to keep up with special events, festivals, and downtown Palestine.
Palestine is the proud home of Davey Dogwood Park. The annual Texas Dogwood Trails Celebration began in 1938. Davey Dogwood Park became the main location of the annual event in 1944, when Mr. M. A. Davey, a local oil man, bought the land and donated it to the county to be used as a park. The park is especially beautiful in the spring with the dazzling white blossoms of the Dogwood trees and many other native area wildflowers. In the fall, the natural beauty shifts to the autumn colors of the native trees and the rich red of the Dogwood trees. Picnic areas are provided at Manley Mountain (near the entrance of the park) and near the center of the park. Visitors may view the scenic beauty along walking trails located near the picnic areas. Seeing the Dogwood blooms in Palestine was Number 56 in Texas Monthly's article "The Bucket List: 63 Things All Texans Should Do Before They Die". Contact the Chamber of Commerce for full details on the annual Texas Dogwood Trails Celebration.