Smithville knows how to promote its period setting in motion pictures. If you’ve seen “Hope Floats,” The Tree of Life,” and “Doonby,” you’d recognize the city’s historic downtown and residential districts. More than 200 properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Antiques stores, shops and restaurants on Main Street preserve a turn-of-the-century ambiance. Designated the first Texas Film Commission “Film Friendly” town in the state, Smithville boasts more than 30 movie and commercial locations around town. Pick up the guide map featuring all the popular location sites at the Chamber office at First and Main.
It wasn’t always glitter and Hollywood for Smithville. The town was platted along the Colorado River in 1829 and flowered after the MKT “Katy” Railroad arrived in 1890. Salvaged materials from the 1890 station were used to reconstruct the Katy Depot at the James H. Long Railroad Park and Museum; the cupola atop the park’s gazebo was recycled from Smithville’s 1896 City Hall. There’s also a restored caboose, railroad artifacts and memorabilia. More local history is on display at the Heritage House and Museum in a 1908 Victorian residence reflecting early community life. Get in touch with the natural environment at Buescher State Park north of town on the eight-mile hiking trail passing through the Lost Pines ecosystem. Fishermen troll the 30-acre lake in canoes and kayaks, and rustic cabins promise a peaceful night’s sleep.
Smithville boasts a state cultural district designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts. Explore all they have to offer on your next visit!