National Register Listing in
Leon County, Texas

The discovery of oil in 1901 near Beaumont, Texas, sparked an oil boom that transformed the state's economy and led to the rise of the modern petroleum industry.
Leon County, Texas has a rich and diverse history that begins with the Native American tribes who originally inhabited the region. These tribes, including the Caddo and Atakapa, lived off the land and utilized the plentiful natural resources of the area. The first European settlers arrived in the 1830s, drawn by the fertile soil and abundant wildlife. In 1846, Leon County was officially established, named after the Mexican War hero Juan Ponce de León.

During the mid-19th century, Leon County experienced rapid growth and development. The arrival of the railroad in the 1870s brought even more settlers to the area, and towns such as Centerville and Buffalo began to flourish. Agriculture played a vital role in the county's economy, with cotton, corn, and cattle being the main products. The county also became known for its timber industry, as vast forests provided ample resources for logging.

In the early 20th century, Leon County faced economic challenges due to the decline of the cotton industry and the Great Depression. However, the advent of improved road networks and the establishment of electric power brought some revitalization to the region. The construction of Lake Limestone in the 1970s provided a new recreational and economic opportunity for the county.

Today, Leon County maintains its agricultural heritage while also embracing modern developments. The county is home to a diverse range of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and tourism. Its natural beauty, with its rolling hills and tranquil lakes, continues to attract visitors from near and far. With a strong sense of community and a resilient spirit, Leon County preserves its past while embracing the future.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Leon County, Texas.

  • 1835: Leon County is created and named after Martín De León, a Mexican empresario.
  • 1836: The Battle of Nacogdoches takes place during the Texas Revolution.
  • 1837: The county seat is established in Leona.
  • 1841: Centerville becomes the new county seat.
  • 1861: Texas secedes from the United States and joins the Confederate States of America.
  • 1870: The International-Great Northern Railroad is built through Leon County.
  • 1883: The Houston & Texas Central Railroad extends its line to Centerville.
  • 1927: The Texas oil boom reaches Leon County.
  • 1950: The population of the county reaches its peak at around 22,000.
  • 1998: The county is hit by a severe tornado, causing significant damage.
  • 2021: Leon County continues to be a rural community with a focus on agriculture and outdoor recreational activities.