Forest Trail Region


Carthage, a Texas Main Street City, began life as Panola County seat with a simple, peeled pine log courthouse financed by the sale of town lots. The late 1840’s provided a considerable challenge to the state’s early starters like Carthage but the community managed to thrive, thanks to the oil and gas industry and other industrial and commercial ventures. Today, Carthage visitors discover much of the community’s early history at the Old Jail Museum, featuring artifacts, photos and memorabilia in the restored 1891 jail, operated by the Panola County Historical & Genealogical Society. On the courthouse square is the Texas Tea Room & Heritage Museum . The first floor houses the Texas Tea Room, a favorite lunch destination for locals and travelers.

Carthage is also home to the commemorative museum for country music great Tex Ritter. The community’s Tex Ritter Museum, filled with personal memorabilia from the life of “America’s most beloved singing cowboy,” also houses a Texas Country Music Hall of Fame where inductee Ritter joins musicians of like Willie Nelson and Gene Autry on center stage.