The Texas Main Street City of Marshall was the first town in Texas to acquire telegraph service. In 1854, the local newspaper established a telegraph link to New Orleans, providing it with an opportunity to scoop news stories on a national level. This Harrison County seat was considered one of the wealthiest towns in East Texas by 1860. Today, Marshall serves as home to a number of structures now on the National Register for Historic Places including the Harrison County Courthouse, restored through the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program, this Beaux-Arts Renaissance Revival masterpiece built in 1900 and located on Marshall’s Whetstone Square. The elaborate courthouse dome, anchored by eagles and clock faces, culminates in a statue of Justitia outfitted with a blindfold, scales, raised sword and, in a non-traditional but decorative flourish, a pair of wings.
Elsewhere in town, dozens of historic structures reveal Marshall’s significant and diverse heritage including the Ginocchio Hotel, the restored 1912 Texas and Pacific Railroad Depot (now a museum), and the Starr Family Home Historic Site. Marshall is also host to important African American heritage sites including the historic Wiley College, founded in 1873 and the first college west of the Mississippi River certified by the Freedmen’s Aid Society. Wiley serves as one of several historic stops along the Buard History Trail, an African American heritage route that includes the Old Powder Mill Cemetery, site of the final resting place of two famous Tuskegee Airmen who served in World War ll. Travelers who wish to follow the entire heritage trail may pick up a trail guide brochure or CD at the Marshall Convention and Visitors Bureau.