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 ((Eventually, fire-spotting airplanes made the tower outdated.))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.”
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Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells
Other than a few community members' voices that rose above the crowd, the protest Saturday against the Church of Wells remained peaceful.
Folks attend weekend fundraiser for H.O.P.E.
It was an evening fit for royalty, as supporters of the Helping Others Pursue Enrichment (H.O.P.E.) program gathered Saturday at The Castle on the Lake outside Jacksonville for “A Renaissance Evening.”
Church of Wells members attend protest
About 30 members of the Church of Wells arrived at a protest Saturday. The event was planned after an incident at Wells Homecoming Day on April 5 where the church loudly "street preached" causing a disruption. Three of the church members were injured by two men at the parade. On Saturday, the event was peaceful, despite a few loud voices.
See the complete story and photos in the next edition of the Daily Progress on Tuesday, April 15.
5 receive scholarships from Chamber’s Agri-Business Committee
The Agri-Business Committee of the Jacksonville Chamber recently awarded five $1,000 scholarships at the Annual Cherokee County Junior Livestock Show on March 29.
Deadline to file taxes nears
As an April 15 deadline for individuals to file their 2013 federal tax return approaches, pressure is mounting for tax preparers.
Protest, march planned in Wells
The town of Wells is planning a march to the R&R Mercantile on U.S. Hwy. 69 from the former Dairy Queen to protest the Church of Wells.
The event is planned for 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Court date set for JP hearing
A court date has been reset to April 28 for a hearing of a petition by a local primary candidate in an upcoming Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace race.
Luncheon to include update on Lake Columbia
Updates on the proposed Lake Columbia will be the topic at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Kelly Holcomb, general manager for Angelina Neches River Authority, will provide updated information on the proposed Lake Columbia between Jackson-ville and New Summerfield.
Kiwanis Club collects 2,000 pounds of food
Kiwanis members serve their communities all year long. But the excitement for service really builds in April each year when Kiwanis members come together for Kiwanis One Day – a day of community service that is felt around the world.
Several topics reviewed at council meeting
Property footage, street closures and scheduling a date to canvass the upcoming municipal election were discussed Tuesday during the Jacksonville City Council meeting.
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- Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells