City of Pittsburg, Texas

Clayton Hotel


Pitt Cemetery

Center Point Cemetery

Camp County Courthouse Marker

Mattinburg Church

Old Post Office

Holman House

John Sheppard Home

Center Point School Marker

Ferndale Lake

Texaco Station

Center Point Community Marker

E.R. Greer Store

Azalea's in Bloom

The Farmstead

The Farmstead Barns

Abernathy Store

Jeff Davis College

Pittsburg Depot Wagon

Coca Cola Sign

Coca Cola Plant

Cleanup Day in Pittsburg

Northeast Texas Ice House

Johnson Brothers Syrup Mill

Jesus washing Peters feet. Statue at the Prayer Tower

Pittsburg History

The earliest inhabitants of the Pittsburg/Camp County area were the Caddo Indians, who lived here a 1000 years before the arrival of white settlers. In the 1830s, pioneers began arriving in Northeast Texas and by 1850, many families from Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama were living in what was then Upshur County.

W. H. Pitts came to Texas in 1854, and the following year settled on a tract of land, most of which is now comprised within the corporate limits of the town bearing his name. "Major" Pitts, as he is now called, was then a young, vigorous man full of hope. He came to Texas to make his home. His first move was to secure title to enough land to begin a farm, and immediately upon locating land, he bought a tract of 200 acres, put up his primitive log cabin and started a "clearing." Growing as the county grew, his original patch in the woods spread out until he was the owner of many acres, and a large and prosperous farmer. The town of Pittsburg sprang up, starting, as most country towns, a mere crossroads place, but grew in importance until a regularly laid out settlement with a name became necessary. And taking the name from a prominent settler, it became Pittsburg.

It was 22 miles to the county seat of Gilmer. When the creeks would flood it would be weeks before citizens could travel to the courthouse to take care of legal matters. Thus in 1874, the citizens of Pittsburg asked the state legislature to form a new county. This new county was named for John Lafayette Camp (1828-1891) who was a soldier, lawyer, statesman, a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1866, and a State Senator in 1874.

Also in 1874 the question of where the new courthouse would be located was an issue. Major Pitts offered a site, Leesburg offered a site and Center Point also wanted the courthouse. Major Pitts won the day and the site by offering to pay $50 toward the construction of a courthouse. An election was held and the citizens voted 500 for Pittsburg, 228 for Leesburg, and 69 for Center Point. Thus, Pittsburg became the county seat and a new two story brick courthouse was built.

The first railroad, the East Line and Red River, reached Pittsburg in 1877 (it is now the Kansas City Southern), and the second railroad to reach Pittsburg was the Cotton Belt in 1880. Pittsburg has been a prosperous town ever since.

Pittsburg was home to the first Carnegie Library in the State of Texas. The library building served several needs as well as a library. The City offices were in this building as was an auditorium where performances and concerts were regularly scheduled. In 1909, the Northeast Texas Livestock and Agricultural Fair was organized. During its heyday, this fair was second in size to the Dallas Fair in Texas. Excursion trains ran from Tyler, Texarkana, and Greenville, bringing visitors to the fair. The first parachute jump from an airplane is said to have been at the Northeast Texas Fair.

Pittsburg is home to Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, the Ezekiel Airship (that flew a year before the Wright Brothers' airship). Cavendar's Boot City began here. And the oldest rope driven elevator in Texas is still operating in one of the historic downtown businesses.

Pittsburg is a community with much to offer, both to its residents and visitors as well. Come see for yourself.

Historical Markers

1. Bolton Cemetery is located on the North side of FM 993, 3 miles south of Pittsburg.

Ebenezer (Ebb) Bolton settled in this area in the 1850s. He established an extensive plantation and owned a number of slaves before the Civil War. Following Ebb Bolton's death in 1877, his widow made arrangements to provide land to their former slaves. This cemetery, which began in 1861 upon the death of Martha Bolton's mother, Rebecca Durley, became a part of the Bolton Community, a Freedmen's town that built up in the area. Still an active cemetery, both Ebb and Martha Bolton are interred here, as are many of the former slaves and their descendents.

2. Leesburg Cemetery is located at the intersection of State Highway 11 and FM 1519, 7 miles West of Pittsburg.
Dwight Hays Townsend (1835-1905) donated land for this cemetery around 1870. The graves of two children, which were relocated here from the Leesburg Schoolyard, are thought to be the earliest burials on the site. The oldest marked grave is that of Tapley Wylie (1836-1870). This cemetery is the primary burial ground for the rural community of Leesburg. Those interred here include pioneer settlers, community leaders, a large number of infants and children, and veterans of the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam.

3. Reeves Chapel is located two miles southwest of Pittsburg on FM 556, then two miles west on FM 1519, then one half mile south on CR 3326.
When a migrant worker died in 1879, there was no cemetery in this community. Counce Reeves, a Civil War veteran who had come from Hamilton County, Georgia, and his wife Selina, gave two acres at this site for a church and burial ground. The Rev. D. Dane of Jefferson led in organizing the Reeves Chapel Methodist Church. The congregation erected a brush arbor and in the fall of 1879 constructed a frame meeting house. Later Reeves deeded an additional two acres. After the fellowship grew, members initiated efforts to erect a larger building in 1907.


4. Matinburg Cemetery is located on FM 556, 7.7 miles SW of Pittsburg on the west side of the highway.
According to local tradition, this cemetery began when migrant W.P. Jones buried his wife, Delila, here in 1871, hoping to later bury her in an established graveyard nearby. Her burial nevertheless remains the cemetery's earliest on record. O.S. and Jane Bradfield deeded the cemetery land to the Fairview Baptist Church in 1883. Annual spring cleanups, which began in 1909, have become a cherished tradition for descendants of persons buried here. Interred in this cemetery are pioneers, members of fraternal orders, and veterans of conflicts from the Civil War to Vietnam.

5. County Line/Riley Cemetery is located on FM 557, fourteen miles SE of Pittsburg at the County Line Baptist Church.
The oldest documented grave in this cemetery, that of Louise Gillum, dates to 1859. The land was acquired by John Riley, Sr. from A.W. Smith in 1875, and became known as Riley Cemetery. Early settlers buried here include John and Elizabeth Keeling Riley and their five children; Confederate Capt. George W. Keeling, a former member of the Georgia State Legislature, the family of M.H. Couch, whose name graces nearby Couch Mountain, the highest elevation point in Camp County, and many area pioneers whose descendents continue to live in the area and maintain the historic graveyard.

6. Pitts Family Cemetery is located at 232 Quitman.

The Pitts family cemetery was established by William Harrison Pitts, founder of Pittsburg. According to family history, the earliest burial on this site was that of Sarah Richardson Harvey Pitts, the third wife of W.H. Pitts and mother of their daughter Ella, in 1862. Confederate Corporal Joseph H. Pitts was buried here in 1863. Others interred here include W.H. Pitts' mother, Drucilla Neal Pitts, and five of his eight siblings. These members of the large Pitts family left their Georgia plantations and reestablished their households here on the Texas frontier in the mid 19th century. They shaped early Camp County and saw Pittsburg grow into a thriving village. The cemetery remains a chronicle of early Camp County history and culture.

7. Lafayette Cemetery is located just over the Upshur County line on FM 993.
The Lafayette community, named by early settler Matthew F. Locke for his son, Lafayette Locke, developed in this area in the 1850s. Locke deeded three acres of land to the Philadelphia Baptist Church for a cemetery in 1858. The land, which already contained two family burials, became known as Lafayette Cemetery. The oldest documented grave is that of T. E. Montgomery, Locke's brother-in-law, who died in 1855. Although the community began to decline in the 1920s, this and other nearby graveyards serve as visible reminders of the area's pioneer heritage. Camp County was originally a part of Upshur County and many in citizens trace their heritage to the early settlers of the Lafayette Community.

8. First Methodist Church is located in downtown Pittsburg at the intersection of Mt. Pleasant and College Streets.
The charter members of this church, organized in 1857 by the Rev. J.W. Harvey Hamill, included Major and Mrs. W.H. Pitts and others in the Pitts family, for whom this town was named. The congregation worshipped first in a log structure, then shared a two-story frame building with the Masonic Lodge. A large frame sanctuary was erected in 1888-89. It was replaced by this brick prairie style church, constructed (1904-05) during the pastorate of Rev. E.L. Shettles. In 1953 the educational wing was added. In 1957, the fellowship's centennial year, membership was 546. Recorded Texas Historical Landmark - 1976.

9. Holly Springs Baptist Church is located on FM 557 at the intersection of CR 4435, eleven miles SE of Pittsburg.
The Bluff Springs Baptist and Philadelphia Baptist churches, both established near here by post-Civil War immigrants, merged in 1903 to form the Holly Springs Baptist Church of Christ; the Rev B.H. Sims served as its first pastor. The congregation joined the Liberty Baptist Association in 1903 and built its first sanctuary here, on land donated by Mrs. Harriet Coffman, sometime prior to 1916. A new sanctuary built in 1928, known as a training ground for young ministers, continues to serve the local community.

10. New Mine Baptist Church is located on FM 556 two miles southwest of Pittsburg, turn west on FM 1519 and travel for one and one half miles.
This congregation traces its history to 1892 when Mr. and Mrs. G.O. Hart gave an acre of land for a new church building. The church was officially organized on September 11, 1892, and the Rev J.H. Floyd served as the first pastor. One of the main reasons for the establishment of this congregation was so the members would not have to travel to Pittsburg for worship services. It has remained a small rural church, with various structures built over the years to accommodate the membership, which includes descendants of charter members. New Mine Cemetery is located adjacent to the church.

11. Saint Beulah Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is located at the corner of Lewis and South Texas Streets.
The Rev Joseph Lloyd, who came here between 1870 and 1889, organized the CME Church in Pittsburg. The name St. Beulah was adopted after this sanctuary was constructed in 1896. The wood frame Gothic revival building has an asymmetrical facade with two towers of differing sizes. Various members of the congregation donated the stained glass lancet windows. Recorded Texas Landmark - 1985.

Buildings/Homes with Historical Markers

12. Cotton Belt Depot is located at 200 W. Marshall.
The narrow gauge Texas and St Louis (Cotton Belt) Railroad arrived in Pittsburg in 1880. William Harrison Pitts, founder of Pittsburg, had donated land for a railroad depot in 1875. This depot, the second built on this site, was completed in 1901 and served the railroad until 1968, although passenger service ended in 1946. The depot is a good local example of Victorian-era design with influences of the Queen Anne style. Features include dormers on the side facades, two internal end chimneys rising from the gable roof, and an attached frame freight depot. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1991.

13. W.L. Garrett Building is located at 102 Quitman.
Constructed in the 1890s, this building began as a one-story commercial structure. W.L. Garrett (1867-1931) bought the property in 1902 for his mercantile business and in 1923 added a second story. In addition to Garrett's store, the building also housed other retail businesses and medical offices over the years. A landmark structure in Pittsburg, the Garrett Building is simple in design, featuring an inset entry and a corbeled brick cornice. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1990.

14. John L. Sheppard Home is located at 217 Mt. Pleasant Street.
Home of the Sheppard family from 1884, when the house was built, until 1891. During that time John L. Sheppard (1852-1902) served as district attorney and then judge for the Fifth Judicial District. In 1899 he was elected to U.S. Congress and died in office. His son, Morris Sheppard (1875-1941), succeeded him in congress, then served with distinction in the U.S. Senate from 1913-1951. The house has eight fireplaces and a secret passageway between floors. (Medallion and Plate marker) Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1974.

15. Stafford-Paris House is located at the corner of Texas and Quitman Streets.
This Victorian residence with ornate gingerbread woodwork was built in 1899 for the family of Eugene Fore. In 1913 it was sold to Camp County Sheriff J.D. Stafford, who lived here for 24 years. Dr. Ernest Paris, a prominent local chiropractor, and his wife Margaret, bought the home in 1941. Other community leaders who resided here include: Dr. R.Y. Lacy and Dr. R.C. Treynham, whose wife Cora, was the stepdaughter of W.H. Pitts, for whom the town was named. (Medallion and Plate marker) Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1981.

16. Camp County Court House is located at 126 Church Street.
This three-story on raised basement, five-bay brick building, is Classical Revival with Prairie School influences and was built in 1928 and is still an active courthouse. The center one-story, one-bay portico has paired columns and stepped "pediment." The stepped pattern is repeated in the roof parapet.

17. Depot Museum is located at 200 Marshall Street.

Open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday each week from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the summer; and during the winter from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Special hours for group tours can be arranged in advance. Nominal admission charge includes both the Depot and Farmstead Museums.

The old Depot building dates from 1901, when the railroads were transforming life in rural America.  It was the social and economis center of the community. As many as eight passenger trains each day came through Pittsburg on its two railroads. The Railway Express agency and Western Union both operated out of this building.

Completely restored, the depot has five major exhibit areas featuring  an Archeology exhibit of Indian artifacts, Famous Northeast Texas People, and a working recreation on the Depot's telegraph station.

The former freight warehouse now features an exbibit of our rich rural heritage. The region's agricultural industries of farming, ranching, timber and poultry production are represented in exciting displays. Exhibits of antique autos, tractors, boat motors, farm implements and more complete this building.  An 1890's steam engine, and a 1925 restored American LaFrance fire truck are featured in the Annex along with exhibits on Women, Commerce, Industry and Communications.

18. Center Point School is located seven miles SE of Pittsburg on FM 557, then east on FM 2057 for three miles, at the intersection of FM 2057 and CR 4247.

Began as a Freedmen's community about 1865-70. The Willie Johnson family was the first settlers and were soon joined by other families. In 1899, G.W. Goulsby opened a one-room school, the first in the settlement. Pete Griffin was the first teacher. In 1916 a new five-room school was built. In later years, campus additions, partly funded by the Julius Rosenwald Fund, included a teacherage, library, dormitories, cafeteria, and gymnasium. Students maintained a farm and garden and operated a cannery. Center Point School was closed in 1952.

19. Camp County Marker is located about 3.5 miles north of Pittsburg on US 271.

Camp County was originally a part of Upshur County, and was detached and given a county organization in 1874. It has a small area of about 200 square miles. Originally it was covered with a dense forest. A large part of the original forest has been cleared away, and the lands are now cultivated along agricultural lines. Named in honor of John Lafayette Camp (1828-1891), a soldier, lawyer, statesman, member of the Constitutional Convention, 1866, state senator in 1874. Pittsburg is the county seat.

20. Pittsburg, Texas Marker is located downtown in the Mini Park.


Anglo settlement of this area began in the 1850s. The W.H. Pitts' (1815-1898) family arrived from Georgia in 1854, and soon were joined by more settlers from the southern United States. Pitts donated land for a town site, which was named in his honor. In 1874, when Camp County was created from Upshur County, Pittsburg became the county seat. Two railroad lines were built through the area by 1880, and in 1891, the citizens voted to incorporate their town. Pittsburg continues to serve as a transportation, business, marketing, and cultural center for the county.

21. Carnegie Library Site is located at the corner of Marshall and Rusk Streets.

The site of the first Carnegie Library in Texas. The system of tax-supported libraries owes its existence to Andrew Carnegie, the steel magnate of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The first Carnegie gift in Texas, as well as the eighth in the United States, was given in 1898 to the people of Pittsburg, Texas. Pittsburg received this gift largely due to the personal efforts of Colonel W.J. Singletary, a Pittsburg lawyer. Carnegie gave $5,000.00 to match local pledges and build the first library of 31 in Texas. The masonry building was also the opera house and city hall. It became the social center with meeting rooms for clubs and groups such as ladies sewing for World War I hospitals. The opera house staged professional drama and lectures and was used for graduations and recitals. The library burned in 1939.

22. Center Point Community is located at Center Point Baptist Church on FM 2057, ten miles SE of Pittsburg.

In 1865 black Freedmen began this community. The Center Point Baptist Church was organized in 1873. The Industrial Union was chartered in 1889 to aid settlers buying farms and building homes. A cooperative managed a brick kiln, sawmill, and cotton gin. Under the leadership of Mr. and Mrs. L.B. Cash, the first principals, Center Point School became an important vocational facility. Students erected most of the structures on the 14-acre campus and there was a cooperative boarding plan. The school was consolidated with Pittsburg in 1950.

23. Cherokee Trace is located on FM 21, six miles NW of Pittsburg.

The Indian trading route to Arkansas and Oklahoma was laid out by Cherokees. A tribesman with a keen sense of direction pulled buffalo hides behind his horse to press down the tall grass. Groups of Indians followed - blazing the trail, removing logs and underbrush, and marking fords. Others located springs and good camping places. After the road was established the Cherokees planted roses and honeysuckle which still mark the old trace. After the Indians were driven out, settlers came into Texas by this route. The first residents in Camp County lived on the trail.


24. William Harrison Pitts is located at 232 Quitman

William Harrison Pitts (1815-1898) was born in Georgia to Hardy and Drucilla (Neal) Pitts. William Harrison Pitts moved his plantation household to this area by 1854. He purchased 200 acres and built a home near this site. A settlement began to spring up, and a post office was established with the name "Pittsburg." Pitts acquired more land over the next few years, setting aside 50 acres for the town's development. In 1874, his offer of $50 toward a new courthouse was a deciding factor in the election of Pittsburg as the seat of the newly organized Camp County. The town became a junction of two railroad lines in the late 1870s and by 1880 it had a population of 750. The Pittsburg Gazette was first published in 1884. William Harrison Pitts was married four times and had two children. A merchant, civic leader, and veteran of the Creek Indian Wars, he died in 1898.

25. The Ezekiel Airship is located at the Depot Museum Annex on Fulton Street at S. Market by the railroad tracks.

Baptist minister and inventor Burrell Cannon (1848-1922) led some Pittsburg investors to establish the Ezekiel Airship Company and build a craft described in the Biblical book of Ezekiel. The ship had large, fabric-covered wings, powered by an engine that turned four sets of paddles. It was built in a nearby machine shop and was briefly airborne at this site late in 1902, a year before the Wright brothers first flew. Enroute to the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, the airship was destroyed by a storm. In 1913 a second model crashed, and the Rev Cannon gave up the project. A life-size replica of the airship is on display in the Depot Museum Annex at 200 Marshall Street.

Other Sites of Interest

26. The Prayer Tower is located at the intersection of Lafayette and Jefferson Streets.

The Prayer Tower, made of Indiana limestone with a Vermont slate roof, features a chapel and a 75-foot tower with four Paccard bells from France. Beautifully landscaped with a gurgling fountain and life-size bronze showing Jesus washing Peter's feet. The bells chime and play hymns on the hour.

27. Farmstead Museum is located at 206 Mt Pleasant Street. Open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday each week from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the summer; and during the winter from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Special hours for group tours can be arranged in advance.


The Farmstead is a typical Northeast Texas  turn-of-the-century farmstead, complete with the 100-year-old house, barn and smoke house from Charlie Hoffman's Camp County Farm. Completely restored, the house is furnished with period antiques, which include several pieces from the Hoffmans.  Decendants in perios custumes will conduct you through this delightful, historic home, and you may buy your souvenirs  in the creat little Musuem Store as you leave!

Cotton, corn and other crops are raised in the demonstration garden. Other exhibits and demonstrations show how our rural ancestors lived, worked, raised their children as well as their food and created the family values os essential to us today. 

28. Main Street is a Historic Main Street City since 1986, Pittsburg's downtown area has much to offer in its lovely shops featuring antiques, clothing, shoes, gifts, crafts, restaurants and a 1950's style soda fountain. Historic Pittsburg's quaint shops and friendly people make visiting and shopping a delightful experience.

29. Bo Pilgrim's House is located on Hwy 271 South of Pittsburg. Not open to the public.

One of the largest houses in Northeast Texas, the house is 20,000 square feet on 52 rolling hills and terraced gardens with a pool pavilion. It is beautiful in the manner of a formal European villa, surrounded by a tall fence set with a massive front gate adorned with the Pilgrim's Pride logo.

30. Lake Bob Sandlin State Park: Located in Titus County, 11 miles Northwest of Pittsburg on Highway 21.

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park provides easy access to the excellent bass-fishing waters of Lake Bob Sandlin. Within the quiet and tranquil park, a boat ramp, a lighted pier and the shoreline offer good fishing opportunities. Swimmers, boaters, and skiers also enjoy the lake. Hiking trails meander through the forest and past two ponds. A small cemetery in the day-use area dates back to the 1840's when Fort Sherman was built to protect settlers from Indian attacks.

Antiques & Collectibles

Wear your walking shoes and keep your eyes peeled for that special "treasure" in one of the many antique shops in town.

Who says one has to go to the big city to shop? Stroll up and down the streets of Pittsburg to fill most any shopping list with fine clothing for the whole family, shoes, antiques, china, jewelry, gifts, and yes, cowboy boots too. After all, this is Texas! And if you need to buy some sporting goods to enjoy our abundant outdoors, Pittsburg offers everything from fishhooks to beautiful bass boats and jet skis.

Be sure to stop for a rest by the fountain at beautiful Witness Park downtown. This unique park includes a chapel with stained glass windows depicting the life of Jesus. The chapel is always open, and the 75-foot tower with French Paccard bells chime on the hour. On the grounds there is a life-sized bronze sculpture of Jesus washing the disciple Peter's feet.


Northeast Texas Rural Heritage Center consists of two award-winning museums, the Depot Museum and the Farmstead. Both are open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:00 to 4:00, one nominal charge includes both museums.

The Pittsburg Depot
was obtained by the city from the Southern Pacific Railroad and now houses a fascinating array of antiques and artifacts. The once native Caddo Indians are the focus of an archeology exhibit in the Depot.

Other exhibit areas feature a working telegraph station, an 1894 telephone switchboard and antique telephones, a printing press, Model T Ford, and a 1909 surrey. The friendly, knowledgeable guides can make the exhibits come alive for you and your children.

The Ezekiel Airship is a real crowd pleaser in the Depot Museum. Reverend Burrell Cannon, a part time preacher and inventor, built the flying machine in 1902. His design was based on descriptions from the Book of Ezekiel in the Bible. A test flight was reported in 1902 - before the Wright brothers were airborne. The original craft was destroyed while being transported to St Louis for the 1904 World's Fair. The full size replica on display was built by the Pittsburg Optimist Club in the 1980s.

At the Farmstead Museum, docents bring history vividly to life with hands-on demonstrations of family life a century ago. The museum features a fully restored and furnished 100-year-old farmhouse, as well as a barn, smokehouse, garden, blacksmith shop, windmill, and general store.

The Farmstead

W.H. Pitts

Founder of Pittsburg

Born: 1815

Died: 1898

Lockett House

Bynum Gin

Porter House

Center Point School

Clark Brothers Grocery

Downtown Pittsburg

Garrett Building

Pittsburg Foundry & Machine Shop

Rose Hill Cemetery

Cedar Grove Cemetery

Pitt Cemetery

St. Beulah C.M.E. Church

First United Methodist Church

Historic First Baptist Church

Reeves Chapel Methodist Church

Abernathy House

Duck Hunt

Camp County Courthouse

Old Camp County Courthouse

Depot Museum

Center Point School

Historic Carnegie Library

Whatley Gazebo

Ezekiel Airship

Prayer Tower

Farmstead Barns

Millinery Shop