County Seat of Red River County
Gateway To Texas
When one thinks of Clarksville, one cannot help but think of the rich and colorful history associated with both Clarksville and Red River County. No other county can boast of such a beginning. Clarksville and Red River County are older than the State of Texas. Once known as the Red River District, the area represented all or part of 39 present-day Texas counties. James Clark founded Clarksville in 1833. The city square definitely belonged to the Clarks and was later given to Clarksville. After James Clark’s death in 1838, his wife Isabella, married Dr. George Gordon. She was a great philanthropist, donating lots for businesses and churches so that the town could grow. The lots sold around the square built the first courthouse in 1840 which was built in the center of the square.
Many of Texas’s early settlers passed through the county including Sam Houston and David Crockett. Sam Houston signed Clarksville’s charter.
Clarksville became a Main Street City in 2003. By 2004 the city had received several grants to make needed enhancements and improvements. New sidewalks and curbs were constructed, period lighting and street furniture installed, the monument area was enlarged and grassy areas added along with landscaping. The Martha, David and Bagby Lennox Foundation provided a very generous grant in the amount of $415,000 to assist in efforts to revitalize the downtown square and improve the economic climate of the area. The city received two separate Texas Capital Fund Main Street grants and a grant from Texas Department of Transportation. The square is typical of those throughout the southern part of the United States. Clarksville’s downtown boasts a classic turn of the century square with Victorian style buildings.
Now enhanced, the downtown square is once more a gathering place for numerous social events and festivals. These events include: Clarksville’s Fine Art Festival held the 1st Saturday in June, the Gateway to Texas Get- A -Way Tour held the 2nd week of June, the Tandum Bike Ride held in October, Red River County Historical Society’s Annual Fall Bazaar held the 1st Saturday of October, Music on Main, held the 1st Saturday of the Month, April through December, National Day of Prayer, and Rely for Life. All events are made possible through a partnership with Friends of Clarksville Main Street, City of Clarksville, PRIDE, Red River County Historical Society, Tourism Committee and Historic Red River County Chamber of Commerce. The Red River County Chamber of Commerce, located on the square, houses the Hall of Fame and the Cowboy Hall of Fame is located in Miss Belle’s House on Walnut Street. These locations, along with tours of the renovated Historic Red River County Courthouse, made possible through Texas Historical Commission Grant funds and public donations, totally approximately $4,000,000.00 will make for a very enjoyable day.
The monument area, on the downtown historic Clarksville Square, is also the home to numerous historic markers, one being the Five Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Red River County, Members of Confederate Congress, Stage Coach Stand, William Stevenson Frontier Minister and Governor’s Community Award.
As in many of the smaller rural cities, whether from neglect, economic hardship, or the big box stores such as Wal-Mart, the condition of the historic buildings had declined and many had closed. The renovation of the town square and the designation of becoming a Main Street City brought about a needed change. People started investing in the downtown once again. The 8 Deer Company, owner Nancy Troike, purchased numerous buildings on the south side of the square and is now in the process of making needed renovations and improvements to these historic structures. The investment on the South side of the square, when restoration and renovation is completed, will be substantial. Two buildings on the north side of the square have been purchased and one building on the east side. All shops carry antiques, gifts, and collectibles. The Clarksville Central Business District approves any substantial changes to the outside appearance of the buildings and low interest loans and façade grants are available. There are now six antique shops on the historic square. The Clarksville Antique Association has now been formed and these shops were the first to be featured during the Main Street Mixer. If walls could talk, we would hear voices. Buildings that were once theaters, mercantile stores, churches, doctor and dentist offices, and hardware stores, all come to life when you take the initiative to restore or oftentimes, save a building and occupy a space.
You will also find Home Gift and Gallery, the quilting shop, art work, Miller Time Signs, finance shops and insurance company located on the square. Recently a new clothing store opened on the South side of the square, Vintaj Cowgirl.
Within walking distance of the square you will find numerous historic sites, all with historic markers. The renovated Red River County Courthouse, built in 1885, which was the third courthouse to be built in Clarksville, the two previous buildings being located in the center of the downtown square, is one of particular interest. The Courthouse contains records that date from the beginning of the Republic until now. The Red River County Public Library is across the street from the County Courthouse. The Library, formed in 1962, is the only library that serves the entire populous of Red River County free of charge. The Library has won numerous awards and has an excellent genealogy section, children’s reading area, and numerous outreach programs for all citizens.
The Col. Charles Demorse Home, the first home built in Clarksville, is now owned by the Red River County Historical Society. Col. DeMorse was known as the Father of Texas Journalism, this historic home is a favorite for tour groups. The Christ Episcopal Church, known as the Old Church Theater, was built in 1920 is also owned by the Historical Society. The Lennox house, a fully restored Queen Anne Victorian Home was built in 1897. The Lennox family was a prominent Red River County pioneer family. The home was willed to the Red River County Historical Society. Miss Belle’s house and the Old Jail Museum are also owned by the Historical Society and within walking distance of the square. The Historical Society was organized in 1961.
Adjacent from the Old Jail Museum is PRIDE’s Historic Creek Walk, a scenic walk that links historic sites of interest along the embankment of Delaware Creek, the creek being a reminder of early settlement of the Indian tribes. Of the historic sites along the walk, you will find the First Presbyterian Church, founded in 1833, the oldest protestant congregation in continuous service in Texas. The current building was built in 1905. You will also find the historic single lane T.P. Lake Bridge situated on one block of the creek walk.
And of course after a day of shopping in the local shops, both on the square and along Hwy 82, touring historic sites of interest and taking a leisurely stroll, you can find yourself back on the square and dining at the Italian Bistro, recently recognized in Texas Monthly and Texas Highways. If barbecue is your favorite, enjoy a sandwich or plate lunch at Coleman’s, also award winning recognition or Cheyenne’s BBQUE. If you decide to stay overnight, you will enjoy your accommodations at the Courthouse Inn and Breakfast located next to the courthouse on Walnut Street or the Red River Inn on Hwy 82.
For those that love the out doors, the Martha Lennox Nature Preserve 10 miles North of Clarksville on TX Hwy 37, takes visitors through a number of habitats or Langford Lake Nature Trail at the City Lake might be your choice. If golf is your sport. you might want to sign up for Friends of Clarksville Main Street Golf Tournament in May at the Clarksville County Club, Hwy 37 North or maybe you ladies would like to attend our Women In The Outdoors event in May. If you like to fish or just want to picnic, Langford Lake is close by and has recently undergone major improvements or if you like to hunt, the Wade Witmer Memorial Hog Hunt sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce is held the end of February and 1st of March. All events can be found on the Chamber’s website at redrivercoc.com.
Clarksville is the Wild Turkey Capital and home to the Clarksville Tiger State Championship Basketball Team. The city has a population of 3285 and is located on US 82 and Hwy 37. Clarksville is very fortunate to have an impressive Industrial Park, great hospital, healthcare facilities, good restaurants, good schools, churches, a small airport and great civic organizations.
Whether you take a tour of our city driving down the highway, from the seat of your bicycle during our Gate- Way -To -Texas Get -A -Way -Tour, on foot or by website, you will find the time spent enjoyable and informative. Clarksville, older than the State of Texas, a 2003 Main Street City, and a Preserve America Community . A city, through partnership and preservation, strives to achieve the 4 point approach of Main Street. Preserving the integrity and history of the area while improving the pedestrian experience.