Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

February 12, 2013

BUSINESS: The 'Love Apple:' Love's Lookout helps sell East Texas to visitors and tourists


So how long has it been since you picnicked at Love's Lookout? With a 30-mile view, East Texas' favorite high place definitely qualifies as a "must see."

"Visitors can scan a horizon that stretches into several counties," writer Bob Bowman explained in an outline about the popular stop. "Some are convinced that, on a clear day, they can see Louisiana."

This particular East Texas treasure really helps sell the area to tourists and visitors, officials said. It is even on the list of East Texas Film Commission support services.

In outgoing comments delivered late last year, Nathan Jones, the 2012 Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board of Directors described Love's Lookout Visitor Center as a Jacksonville treasure visited by thousands each month.

"Twenty four welcome and provide local information promoting our community daily," he said. "This is the crown jewel of the chamber with the selfless dedication of the Love’s Lookout volunteers sharing with visitors the rich heritage of our area."

In the words of former State Rep. Chuck Hopson a few years back, “A lady stopped by my drug store and said, ‘this is the nicest stop we’ve ever been to in the state of Texas.'"

According to Bowman — whose article is published on the jacksonvilletexas.com website —  this recreation area was pretty much always popular. Its initial appeal was to the residents of Larissa, about three miles to the west. After automobiles were invented, many out-of-towners flocked there.

The appeal of Love's Lookout was so vast it attracted President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration during the Depression era of the 1930s, Bowman wrote.

Using red rock mined from Cherokee County, the administration built a park, picnic grounds and an amphitheater for plays, sunrise services, and various other events. The improvements also included a swimming pool and a dance pavilion. Both were extremely popular.

But a 1980s earthquake — yes, an earthquake, one of the very small amount to ever occur in East Texas — damaged the amphitheater, making it unsafe for public use. So the Texas Forest Service also built on the hill a forest fire lookout tower that functioned into the 1980s. ((Eventually, fire-spotting airplanes made the tower outdated.))

"The metal structure still stands on the hill, mostly as a historical relic, but park visitors are not permitted to climb its stairs," Bowman wrote.

During its heyday, it wasn't uncommon for families from as far away as Dallas and Houston to drive to Love's Lookout for a weekend picnic.

Nowadays, volunteers turn in numbers to help care for the spot. This historical site has always been and remains incredibly popular -- as well as a boon for area business, officials said.

It begs the question: Instead of spending your money on a venue, why not can use your funds for items that will supplement a visit to the free and open to the public area?

Love's Lookout is certainly famous for events such as Easter Services. And it is easily identifiable because of the nearby lookout tower.

A popular comment by Jacksonville Chamber President Peggy Renfro: “Jacksonville has Love's Lookout. Jacksonville is known for tomatoes and the tomato is what? The love apple.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Cuney Council cancels meeting, again

    Tuesday's Cuney City Council meeting – in which local alderman were to vote on canceling a May 10 election due to unopposed status of candidates – was canceled because of a lack of quorum, according to City Secretary Brenda Lankford.

    April 23, 2014

  • Sen. Nichols speaking.tif Senator Nichols speaks to Jacksonville Leadership Institute

    State Senator Robert Nichols (R) spoke to the Jacksonville Leadership Institute Tuesday regarding the role of government in Texas.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jacob.tif Local boy recovering from campfire accident in Dallas hospital

    Jacob Sessions of Jacksonville was burned on 71 percent of his body on April 5 from a campfire accident. He is currently in Parkland ICU due to his injuries, according to a representative for the family.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • THOMPSON, CEDRICK.tif Cherokee County woman found dead

    At approximately 9:35 a.m. Sunday,  Kayla Nicole Thompson, 27, was found deceased in the driveway of her residence, located in the 1500 block of County Road 3201,  just West of Lake Jacksonville.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • BullardFUNRUN.tif Bullard Education Foundation sets record with event

    The Bullard Education Foundation hosted its 4th annual 5K /Fun Run, “Strides for Excellence” on Saturday morning, April 19.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire destroys Sims Avenue residence

    Jacksonville Fire Department responded to a fire in the 900 block of Sims Avenue early Saturday.

    April 22, 2014

  • Community library on council agenda

    The Bullard City Council will met at 6 p.m. today at Bullard First Baptist Church, 1428 S. Houston, for the regular board meeting.

    April 22, 2014

  • Council to mull election, roads

    The Cuney City Council will meet at 10 a.m. today at the Cuney Municipal Building.

    April 22, 2014

  • Christian Rapper 0419.tif Local rap artist spreads the 411 on Jesus

    "I have seen things in my life that would make Dr. Phil crazy," Jacksonville native, ordained minister and aspiring rap artist Stephen I. Crow Jr. said with a laugh. "That's why I don't label my music specifically as "Christian rap" -- yes, Christians who love rap can listen and hopefully be uplifted, but I truly want and am trying to bring the word and Jesus' message to people who may never have heard it or don't believe it's for them.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tomato Bowl flushed to bottom of priorities

    The historic Tomato Bowl, built in 1940, stands strong on the outside, but according to some people the inside needs a lot of work in order to not be an eyesore.

    April 19, 2014