ON THE EDGE
Like many rural communities in Texas, the story of Edgewood can be read in its surrounding cemeteries. The first, known as Barren Ridge and located two miles southeast of town, inters the remains of settlers who arrived in the first half of the 19th century. The second, established with the arrival of the railroad, dates to the second half of the century. And the third, Oak Hill Cemetery, marks the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 20th century. Edgewood, named for its location literally on the edge of a woodland along the transition zone between the state’s Post Oak Savannah and Blackland Prairie ecoregions, served as stop on the Texas and Pacific Railroad, providing shipping access for the region’s cotton farmers until the Depression. With the dramatic collapse of the cotton industry in the 1930’s, Edgewood farmers switched to growing tomatoes, turning the small community into the “Tomato Capital of East Texas” until the start of World War II.
Visit the Heritage Park Museum, an outdoor museum covering three city blocks, to learn all about Edgewood history. The museum, a bi-centennial project, was established in 1976 and features twenty restored historic structures representing rural East Texas from the settlement era to the early 20th century. The collection includes a one-room schoolhouse, a log barn, a gas station, a barber shop, and a church among the almost two dozen restored structures. In addition, the museum sponsors an annual heritage festival featuring “living history” demonstrations, classic cars, food vendors, and a dog show.