Welcome to City of Huntington
Office Hours – Monday – Friday – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
On April 22, 1846, the Texas legislature created the county of Angelina from the land south of the Angelina River in the Nacogdoches District, which covered a vast area of East Texas. In 1854 the county seat was moved from its original site at Marion on the Angelina river to Jonesville, about two miles southeast of the present town of Huntington. About four years later it was moved to Homer where it remained until 1962 when Lufkin became the county seat. Many settlers followed the movement of the county seat or moved to other towns, and the Jonesville area declined (nutt,1992a). In the late 1800s Lewis Baird and Alvin Russell tried unsuccessfully to build a town about a mile east of present huntington, by establishing businesses near what later became the crossing of the Texas & New Orleans and Cotton Belt railroads (Bowman, 1976a; Cloud, 1940a; Durham, 1959; Nutt, 1992a)
RAILROADS For years prior to 1900, the East Texas Railroad ran from near Beaumont in Jefferson County to Rockland in Tyler County, terminating on the south bank of the Neches River about 25 miles south of the present Huntington. Shortly before the turn of the century, the East Texas Railroad was sold. The new owners renamed it the Texas and New Orleans and extended its route from Rockland to Dallas, passing through the eastern part of Angelina County (Bowman, 1976a).
TOWNSITE With the approaching railroad, E. A. Blout of Nacogdoches and W. J. Townsend, Sr., of Lufkin, established the town of Huntington. The site was so named in honor of Col. Collis P. Huntington, then president of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company which was building the new lines through Angelina County. A plot of the townsite, showing the location of the blocks and lots of the town, laid out from acreage formerly owned by Mr. Blout, was filed in the office of the Angelina County Clerk, J. J. Singleton, on June 18, 1900, recorded in Volume 3, Page 590 of the Deed of Records. The Huntington Land and Townsite Company was chartered with E.A. Blount as president, and on May 21, 1901, donated about fifteen acres of land to the Texas and New Orleans Railroad Company for station grounds in the center of town (Sparks, 1992a) as shown in the original townsite plot. On June 18, 1900, a picnic was held under a big oak tree on Spruce Street, about a block east of the present McMullen Memorial Library on Main Street. Many town lots were sold to the highest bidder and according to an account given by Mr. and Mrs. Jack Sharpe, lifelong residents of the area and born in the 1870s, Huntington received its name on that day.
The first railroad station at Huntington was a freight car, which stood on Magnolia Street just east of north Main Street, near where the First Baptist Church building is presently located. A permanent station for the T & NO was opened in 1903. Carlton Earl Buckner came to Huntington a agent on August 4, 1920, and served as agent from 1920 – 1941, when Southern Pacific Railroad stopped Western Union telegraph service. The station was closed, three to four years later, having once been a social meeting place for townspeople to gather and greet passenger trains. The T & NO was known as the “Wooden Axel Road”, “Time No Object”, and the “Turnip and New Onions:. It opened up new areas in the Piney Woods to the saw mills and logging camps 9Jacobs, 1992 pp. 49-50) and provided reason to establish a new town.
BUSINESSES Some of the first businesses in Huntington established were a weekly newspaper, two hotels, several drug stores, mercantile and grocery stores, a bank, and several saloons. The first post office was established on July 23, 1900 with a local postmaster.
The good farmland around Huntington at one time supported (Nutt,1992a) three cotton gins, and two blacksmith shops, open run by William H. Morgan and later Samuel D. Trinkle, the other operated by Lewis T. Shelton. Logging and sawmills were supported by the vast timber, industries remaining in East Texas century later. Early electrical service lines were installed in 1927-1928, and later installed meters and light circuits in private homes and businesses. By the 1940s Huntington had about 30 retail establishments and 1000 residents.
GOVERNMENT – The city was incorporated on December 12, 1938, after a majority of citizens voted for the approval and Fowler Burris was the first mayor. In 1948 Vela Driver was elected Mayor, followed by L.K. McKewen in 1951 and Milton Carrell in 1952. R.L. Gillispie was Mayor from 1956-1958, followed by Paul Lowery, R. D. Gipson, M.E. Lemoine, and Jim Herrington in 1962. Boley Thomas, B.J. Thomasson, R.A. Stewart, E.P. Rhoudes, and H. R. Forrest served from 1966-1977. R.D. Gibson was again elected in 1977, followed by Dean McMullen, Thomas Baggett, Don Black, and Bobby Weaver. Dean McMullen served again from 1988 until 1996, when Lamar Tinsley was elected and served until his death in 2005. Herman Woolbright, Mayor Pro-tem was appointed to serve out the term and was elected by the people following his appointment. He stepped down as Mayor at the end of his term in May, 2014. Frank Harris was elected in May, 2014 and is currently serving as Mayor. Serving as City Secretary (City Clerks) have been B. C. Ivy, Pauline Capps, Evelyn Johnson, Leona Yeates, Judy Spivey, Louise Stripland, Donna Price, Betsy Gregson and Julie Davis, the current Secretary.
SCHOOLS – The first school system begun in 1900 when the town’s first school was located in a combination church/school building on the west side of Main Street between Spruce and Linn streets.
FIRE DEPARTMENT – For almost half a century Huntington was without an organized fire department. Sometime after 1947, Tap Holland, H. N. Truitt, and J. D. Weaver begun efforts to establish a volunteer group and obtained requirements to receive a Charter from the State Fire Marshall.
CHURCHES – In 1901, with the help of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Smith, the Rev. John Mare, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lufkin, came to Huntington to hold a revival. A brush arbor was built on South Main Street between West Walnut and West Elm Streets. About a week after the revival, a group of people met to organize a Baptist Church in Huntington. There were 24 charter members and the Rev. W. T, McMullen was named the first pastor.
FOR THE COMPLETE HISTORICAL SUMMARY OF THE CITY OF HUNTINGTON PLEASE SEND A DONATION OF $5.00 TO THE CENTENNIAL PARK BOARD, P.O. BOX 168, HUNTINGTON, TEXAS 75949.