Settled in 1846 as the Smith County seat and one of many counties created by the first Texas Legislature in April of that year, Tyler was named after the nation’s 10th president, John Tyler, who helped admit Texas to the United States. A small courthouse was built in the five-street town and the first county seats and sheriff were elected. In 1850, the city government was incorporated and a mayor and four aldermen were named. By 1860, the first brick and mortar businesses were built, and the city’s population had grown to 1,024.
Tyler was home to the largest Confederate ordnance plant in Texas and a prison camp during the Civil War. From 1877 to 1890, 21 miles of Tyler Tap Railroad were completed, a public school system was established, Texas College was founded for African-Americans, and the Tyler Electric Light and Power Co. supplied city residents with electricity.
During the first half of the 1900s, industry helped the city’s growth. Tyler’s Texas Rose Festival was established in 1933 and has taken place in October every year since, with exception of the World War II years. The city established its chamber of commerce and the East Texas oilfields were discovered, which furthered the growth of the city and increased its population to 28,279 by 1940.
Today, with a population of more than 99,000, Tyler is considered the manufacturing, health care, educational and retail center of East Texas.
AZALEA TRAILS AND ROSE FESTIVAL
Each spring, tourists and residents alike enjoy mile after mile of azaleas, dogwood trees and spring flowers during the annual Azalea and Spring Flower Trail. The breathtaking beauty of the eight-mile trail has been praised by visitors as a floral wonderland and a photographer’s paradise. During the festival, the Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau sponsors an amateur photography contest, awarding the winners with cash prizes and a featured spot in an upcoming azalea trail brochure. This year the city of Tyler will host its 55th annual event March 21 – April 6. In the fall, Tyler celebrates the rose with its annual Texas Rose Festival. Rich in heritage and tradition, the festival offers enchanting ceremonial events including the Queen’s
Coronation, the Rose Show, the Queen’s Tea and the Rose Parade. All of the events take place amid a backdrop of brilliant roses as vibrant and colorful as the community they represent. Rose enthusiasts can also visit the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden and the LeGrand Rose Garden year round.
Looking for a sweet place to sleep, dine and shop? Tyler is home to more than 250 restaurants, 2,200 hotel rooms and countless shops. A unique variety of dining options are available for every taste, including Rick’s on the Square. The venue offers live outdoor music, an impressive wine list and food menu. The Bergfeld Center located in the heart of Tyler’s Azalea District was the first shopping center in Tyler and East Texas, and continues to include a large variety of stores catering to the upscale customer. Major shopping can be found along the South Broadway Corridor and in the first phase of the new Village at Cumberland Park, which opens this summer.
Also known for its involvement in the arts, Tyler has gone to great lengths to immerse residents and visitors in performing arts, cultural activities and music. Downtown Tyler’s Liberty Hall Theatre dates back to the 1930s. In 2011, Liberty Hall reopened as part of the city’s revitalization effort and now hosts live performances, concerts and classic films in an art deco setting. Those wishing to hear the sounds of instrumental magic should also focus their attention on the Tyler Community Concert Association and the East Texas Symphony Orchestra. Performing arts connoisseurs should visit the Cowen Center, the Tyler Civic Theatre Center and East Texas Arts.
The city of Tyler is not slack where outdoor activities are concerned. The city is vested with 26 parks, 22 area sporting lakes, 66 ten-nis courts, 26 baseball fields, 15 soccer fieldsand nine golf courses. Lake Tyler offers five boat ramps, several public parks on its shoreline, fishing and primitive campgrounds.
The city o f Tyler also offers the East Texas Fresh Farmer’s Market in October for those who enjoy shopping outdoors. With fresh produce, flowers and local venders, the shopping experience brings visitors closer to the food and the farmers.
Tyler is home to a plethora of attractionsfor families, from venturing into the animal kingdom to trekking back through history.
The 85-acre Caldwell Zoo is a live exhibit facility that offers a firsthand view of more than 2,000 animals in natural habitats. Historyenthusiasts will enjoy a visit to Camp Ford Historical Park, which was once a Confederate POW camp. They may also want to visit the American Freedom Museum, the Historical Aviation Memorial Museum and the Cotton Belt Depot. Don’t want to rambleth rough the city without an escort? Jericho Tours of Tyler gives tours to the best and most unusual Tyler has to offer in museums, historic homes and sites, shopping, dining and, of course, haunted places.
Although Tyler has become a valued vacation destination, many families decide to make the city their permanent residence because of its close proximity to major cities, educational opportunities and housing rates.
Tyler is an affordable, family-friendly city where the median household income is approximately $42,729 and the median home value is $153,000. Military veterans are welcomed, with nearly 6,500 calling Tyler home. The city is also home to several educational facilities, including Tyler Junior College, Texas College, Le Tourneau University and the University of Texas at Tyler.
Azalea & Spring Flower Trail
March 21-April 6