Marshall, the county seat of Harrison County, Texas, has a population of about 25,000 residents. It is located on Interstate Highway I-20, U.S. 59, and Historic U.S. Highway 80, about 150 miles east of Dallas, and about 40 miles west of Shreveport.
|Harrison County Courthouse in Marshall, Texas|
Its economy is strong and diverse, and the oil and gas industry continues to play a major role in economic development.
We've been visiting Marshall for literally decades. We first frequented Marshall Pottery back in the 1970s!
2017 Marshall Wonderland of Lights Festival
Marshall is well known for its "Wonderland of Lights," one of the largest light festivals in the country when lit during the Christmas season, and the original and largest Christmas festival in Texas. It first started in 1987.
Santa's Workshop at the Wonderland of Lights
This popular annual event runs from Thanksgiving Eve through New Year's Eve.
This will be the 31st annual festival, and will begin on November 22, 2017 and continue through December 31, 2017.
This year's Wonderland starts on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. when Santa Claus arrives downtown. The theme of the 2017 festival is "Candy Wonderland".
The popular Lighted Christmas Parade is scheduled for December 2, 2017, starting at 6:00pm.
The festival runs Tuesday through Sunday nights from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturdays from 4 to 10 p.m. The Wonderland of Lights is closed every Monday, as well as on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Welcome to Marshall ... and to the Wonderland of Lights!
Attractions at the 2017 Wonderland of Lights Festival
Each evening, visitors can enjoy a winter wonderland of more than a million lights located in hundreds of displays that showcase Marshall’s historic town square and the Street of Dreams. Live music is performed at Telegraph Park downtown by local musicians, area churches and school choirs.
Harrison County Courthouse during the Wonderland of Lights
A variety of attractions are available; some are free, others require the purchase of tickets. Among the Wonderland of Lights attractions in 2017:
- Ice skating
- Wonderland Express
- Holly Trolley
- Vintage 1948 Herschel Carousel
- Frosty's Big Bounce
- Horsedrawn Wagonette
- Red Classic Carriage
- Cinderella's Carriage
- Santa's Village
- Face Painting
- Souvenir Shop
|Details about the Wonderland of Lights ... from the City of Marshall website|
In addition, special events are scheduled, such as the Opening Lighting Ceremony, Wassail Walk, Jingle Bell Run, Outdoor Christmas Market, Tigers on Ice, and Wonderland of Sites.
The Historic Harrison County Courthouse is the center of events, and visitors enjoy the nightly synchronized light and music shows.
Festival activities take place throughout the city, but much of them take place in the downtown square. There is no cost to enjoy the synchronized light and sound show on the courthouse. The evening music show happens each evening on the Street of Dreams.
Other Marshall Tourist Attractions and Things to Do
Founded in 1841, Marshall is a major city in the East Texas economy, and a large supporter of the arts community and historical preservation. It is often called the "Cultural Capital of East Texas".
Today, Marshall has more than 100 historical markers and medallions, such as the T&P Depot marker (see below), with several sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Many of Marshall's Victorian homes have been restored, and several function as B&Bs. Also fully restored is the Harrison County Courthouse.
Other popular attractions in Marshall include:
- Michelson Museum of Art which showcases the work of Russian-American artist Leo Michelson. Located at 216 North Bolivar Street.
- Starr Family Home State Historic Park at 407 West Travis Street.
- Harrison County Historical Museum
- The Weisman is a one-of-a-kind marketplace on three floors, located in the Washington Square District of downtown Marshall. It offers a unique selection of antiques, art, jewelry, gifts and collectables as well as the Cenral Perks restaurant. Visit the Weisman at 211 N. Washington Avenue.
- Visual Arts Center where visitors can watch artists practice their crafts, and shop for paintings.
- The Ginocchio Hotel, across from the T&P railroad station, is an 1896 vintage railroad eating house from the era when trains stopped every few hours for meals.
Marshall Hotels and Lodging
Marshall offers nearly 1,000 guest rooms in a number of hotels, motels, and other types of lodging for those visiting the city, including the ones listed below.
The city also offers a range of bed & breakfasts, including Rosemont Cottage, Roseville, Pond House at Triple Creek Ranch, Three Oaks, and Wisteria Garden.
Marshall Dining and Restaurant Options
Many popular restaurants offering a variety of cuisines are available in Marshall. Always favorites are the Blue Frog Grill at 101 W. Austin Street, Central Perks, Jalapeno Tree, Cafe Italia, Fuglar's Grocery & Market, El Chico's, Applebee's and many more.
|about the 70 restaurants in Marshall at TripAdvisor|
Texas & Pacific Railway Depot and Museum
The historic Texas & Pacific (T&P) Railway depot and museum (see photos below) is a major tourist attraction in Marshall, as are many other historical sites that showcase Marshall's long and varied history.
Located at 800 N. Washington Street, this ornate two-story brick station, once a major interchange point and division office for the T&P, has been restored to its former grandeur.
Marshall was the site for a major locomotive and car repair shop operated by the T&P.
Texas Eagle at Marshall Depot
(Photograph Courtesy of Bill Pollard)
Marshall's impressive passenger depot, constructed in 1912, was once scheduled for demolition, but a determined effort by the City of Marshall preserved the building for future generations.
The T&P rail shops closed in the 1960s, and T&P passenger service ceased in 1970.
Today, Marshall has access to passenger service via Amtrak's Texas Eagle.
The historic marker at the depot (see photo below) documents the history of the T&P in Marshall ...
Marshall's first railroad was conceived as a connection to Red River steamboat traffic. Twenty miles of track were laid northeast to Swanson's Landing on Caddo Lake by 1858.
In 1871, the U. S. Congress authorized the Texas & Pacific Railway Company to build a transcontinental railroad, which would run along the 32nd parallel from Marshall to the West Coast. Two years later, the T&P moved its maintenance shops to Marshall.
A new passenger depot was built here at the junction of the Texarkana and Louisiana lines in 1911-12, where it was positioned to serve both routes. To complement the nearby Ginocchio Hotel and huge Texas & Pacific shop complex, and visually to terminate Washington Street from the Courthouse. The railroad's architect was influenced by the popular prairie school and combined abstracted renaissance and Mediterranean details on the brick and concrete structure. Prominent features include a tile roof and wood and plaster accents. A pedestrian tunnel was added for safety in 1940.
The Texas & Pacific depot remains an important symbol of Marshall's relationship to the railroad, once its major employer and transportation source.
|Historical Marker about the Texas & Pacific (T&P) Depot in Marshall Texas
Marshall, Texas - Texas & Pacific (T&P) Railway Depot, circa 1970
(Photograph Copyright by the Author)
Texas & Pacific Railway Shops, Marshall, Texas
YouTube Video of Union Pacific 7396 container train passing through Marshall Texas
(video provided courtesy of good friend and world traveler JSS3)
Harrison County Courthouse, Marshall, Texas (Photo by JSS3)
Map of Marshall Texas (courtesy of Google Maps)
Earlier Views of Marshall in the Texas Vintage Postcard Collection
|Street Scene, Marshall, Texas, early 20th Century
|Marshall Baptist College, Marshall, Texas
||Administration Building, College of Marshall, Texas
|Post Office, Marshall, Texas
||Wiley College, Marshall, Texas
||Harrison County Court House, Marshall, Texas
|Bath House and Lake View, Marshall Country Club
||Burnett Motel, 33 Units, 14 Garages, Marshall, TX
|Henderson Motel, Pinecrest Drive East, Marshall
||The Gables Restaurant,
Side Trip from Marshall to Nearby Jefferson, Karnack, Uncertain and Caddo Lake
While visiting Marshall, we recommend the short drive north to nearby Jefferson, Karnack, Uncertain and Caddo Lake.
The Golden Era ... in Jefferson Texas
Uncertain Texas - on the moss-draped cypress shores of Caddo Lake near Karnack
Travel north from Marshall on Texas Highway 43 about 16 miles to the junction with FM2198 with signs to Caddo Lake State Park. Uncertain is 5 miles past the park entrance
Additional Resources and Information about Marshall
For more information on Marshall, we recommend a visit to...