Longview, TX and Its Compelling Background
What makes a city more interesting than it appears to be at face value is the history that got it to that point. The American South has a particularly rich history near the border of Mexico, as well as the close-by seaports, as there have been civilizations living on this land for centuries before explorers began to claim ownership and establish the cities we know and live in today. So, what is the compelling background that makes up the city of Longview, TX?
Longview's Early Days and Beginning Stages
Although the official U.S. record shows that this Texas city was founded by Ossamus Hitch Methvin, Sr. in 1871, numerous Caddo Indian tribes have predated what we know as Longview, TX today. As more and more artifacts are being unearthed in and around the East Texas area, archaeologists are piecing together the ancient history of a land before settlers. Many of these artifacts are housed in the Gregg County Historical Museum in Longview.
Once Methvin, Sr. arrived and claimed the land in the late 1800’s, he began selling portions of it to the Southern Pacific Railroad so that they might build in his direction and potentially increase the value of this land. It’s rumored that the name of the town came about when Methvin, Sr. looked out from his home at all the land and exclaimed, “What a long view!”
Economic Development in Longview
In the earlier days of this settlement, the population was small and contained, and the majority of transport relied on wagons. Small buildings and businesses gradually cropped up, such as a post office, trading center, and eventually a regulated rail service.
The treasure of Longview that would become its claim to fortune lay hidden until the 1930s, when the discovery of the East Texas Oilfield saved the town from the grim effects of the Great Depression. With this discovery amplifying the economy, and the eventual access to the city via railways and highways, the population began to grow, as well as the economy. In the 1990’s, it was considered the largest city in Gregg County, and by 2014 it was ranked as the 6th fastest-growing small city in the U.S. by Forbes magazine.
Historical and Ongoing Facts
Not only is the city rich in its economical and developmental history, but it is also rich in its social components. Just a few decades after the town’s initial establishment, an outlaw by the name of Bill Dalton arrived in 1894. After a short, but eventful history with his brothers in the Dalton Gang came to a halt, Dalton formed a new gang called the Wild Bunch, whose only job consisted of robbing the First National Bank at Longview, TX that year.
Another two decades later, racial tensions in the American south were high, and violent activity around the U.S. hit a spike in 1919. That year, the Longview Race Riot occurred, notable for being the second in a string of 25 race riots around the country that year.
In more recent years, the town has seen more favorable and fortunate times. The award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey moved to Longview in 1980. While he claims to be from Austin, TX, he moved to Longview at a young age, and attended Longview High School before graduating, and moving away.
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