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 ((Eventually, fire-spotting airplanes made the tower outdated.))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
  • Father Mark 3.tif Godspeed, Father

    The news that Father Mark Kusmirek would leave Jacksonville to accept a new assignment Aug. 1 in Longview spread quickly around town this month.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alto City Council examines gas line issue

    City leaders have started looking into the process of moving a gas line that runs from Alto through Wells along U.S. Hwy. 69 to meet requirements of TxDOT, which is widening the road through the city.

    July 26, 2014

  • Proposed JISD budget to get hearing date

    Jacksonville school board members will meet Monday evening for a combination budget workshop, regular board meeting and a summer board retreat, according to an JISD meeting agenda.

    July 26, 2014

  • County leaders to consider backhoe purchase

    Cherokee County Commissioners' Court will meet in regular session 10 a.m. Monday in the County Courtroom in the County Courthouse to consider approval of a backhoe purchase through a cooperative purchasing exchange for Precinct 2.

    July 26, 2014

  • Sheriff's officials bust Mixon steroid lab

    About 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 24., investigators and deputies with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at a residence on FM 3052 in the Mixon Community near Bullard.

    July 25, 2014

  • UPDATE: County co-op says many customers may not have power until Friday

    July 24, 2014

  • Old Jville Bearden Store.tif Longtime furniture store changes hands

    For the better part of a century, Bearden Furniture Co., Inc., has been the go-to place for local residents wanting to beautify their home.
    Furniture and accessories, carpeting, window treatments – even electronics at one point – were offered at the Commerce Street store, but on July 1, the family who started Bearden's sold the company to Louisiana-based Ivan Smith Furniture company.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Athens woman confesses to killing daughter

    A 25-year-old mother is in the Henderson County Jail after telling authorities that she had killed her four-year-old daughter, Monday

    July 24, 2014

  • Bullard: District names Jan Hill as deputy superintendent

    Bullard Independent School District is proud to announce Jan Hill as Deputy Superinten-dent. Hill will assume the new role effective immediately.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Christmas in July’ drive benefits area foster children

    Sure, December is still more than five months away, but Cherokee County residents are getting the chance to start spreading some holiday cheer a little early this year during the annual Christmas in July donation drive, benefitting the county's Rainbow Room.

    July 24, 2014