Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Area Did You Know?
1. Jasper is home of Sam Rayburn Lake, the largest lake in Texas at 114,500 acres.
2. Lake Rayburn was named the No. 1 bass fishing lake in the nation 2018 by Bassmasters.
3. Jasper is the Butterfly Capital of Texas as proclaimed by Governor Greg Abbott.
4. Jasper is one of only 20 cities in the nation that is a recognized Azalea City.
5. Jasper is home to two lakes, two rivers and the 153,180-acre Angelina National Forest, which makes it an outdoor recreation paradise with camping, fishing, hunting, boating, skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, biking and birding.
6. Jasper is the only shopping hub in a 60-mile radius, featuring of specialty shops, antiques, a historical museum and a farmers market.
7. Jasper boasts an excellent school district with dual credit classes, an award-winning band and a superior athletics program.
8. Jasper celebrates many festivals and events throughout the year, including the largest fireworks show within a 100-mile radius on the Fourth of July and the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
A Brief History of Jasper
The Jasper area treasures a rich history that dates back to the early 1800s as a typical Texas sawmill town. Settled by John Bevil, one of the earliest white settlers, in 1824, this area was originally referred to as Snow River or Bevil’s Settlement. But in 1835, at Bevil’s request, the settlement’s name was changed to Jasper, for William Jasper, an American Revolutionary hero that was killed while attempting to plant the American colors at the storming of Savannah in 1779.
Jasper County was one of the original 23 counties at the creation of the Republic of Texas in 1836. By December 14, 1837, the boundaries of the county were established. The next task was choosing a county seat. While there was much disagreement over the location, leaders finally settled on the town of Jasper on January 14, 1844.
During the Civil War years (1861-1865), Jasper housed a Confederate quartermaster depot. In 1865, Jasper’s populace stood at 1,200. The steady incline of the population was aided largely by arrival of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railways in the early part of the 20th century, which made the town a carrier for the manufacture of timber products.
Jasper remained an unincorporated town until the citizens voted for incorporation in 1926, appointing A.L. Black as the first mayor. By the 1950s, Jasper was the proud headquarters of Morgan and Lindsey, Inc., a variety chain store, which operated more than 80 stores across the South. This was also a boost for Jasper’s economy.