Henderson, Texas

Coordinates: 32°9′14″N 94°48′10″W / 32.15389°N 94.80278°W / 32.15389; -94.80278
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Henderson, Texas
Streetscape of historic downtown Henderson
Streetscape of historic downtown Henderson
Henderson is located in Texas
Location of Henderson, Texas
Henderson is located in the United States
Henderson (the United States)
Coordinates: 32°9′14″N 94°48′10″W / 32.15389°N 94.80278°W / 32.15389; -94.80278
Country United States
State Texas
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • City CouncilMayor J.W. "Buzz" Fullen
Tommy Goode
Michael Searcy
Henry Pace
Melissa Morton
Steve Higginbotham
 • City ManagerJay Abercrombie
 • Total12.04 sq mi (31.19 km2)
 • Land11.95 sq mi (30.95 km2)
 • Water0.09 sq mi (0.23 km2)
512 ft (156 m)
 • Total13,271
 • Density1,100.66/sq mi (424.97/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code903/430
FIPS code48-33212[2]
GNIS feature ID1337593[3]

Henderson is a city and the county seat of Rusk County, Texas,[4] in Northeast Texas, United States. Its population was 13,271 at the 2020 census. Henderson is named for James Pinckney Henderson, the first governor of Texas.

The city has functioned as a major crossroads in Northeast Texas over the last two centuries. Several major highways pass through the business district of the town, including U.S. Route 259, Texas State Highway 64, U.S. Route 79, Texas State Highway 43, Texas State Highway 42, and Texas State Highway 64.

Annual events in the city of Henderson include the Heritage Syrup Festival in November, celebrating the East Texas tradition of syrup making, and the East Texas Sacred Harp Convention in August featuring shape note music.

The city has a vibrant downtown historic district, with many buildings dating to before the Civil War. The city has 19 historical markers, including homes dating from the 1880s, churches, and colleges.


Henderson welcome sign on U.S. Highway 79
Another look at downtown Henderson
Henderson City Hall
Henderson Municipal Court
Central Fire Station in Henderson
Former Bank of America building in Henderson
Calvary Baptist Church, Henderson
First Baptist Church of Henderson
South Main Street Church of Christ in Henderson

The city of Henderson was established by European Americans before the State of Texas was founded. It was developed on land donated by W.B. Ochiltree and James Smith; it became the county seat of Rusk County when an act of legislature created Rusk County on January 16, 1843. The First Methodist and First Baptist churches were established in 1842 and 1845, respectively. The first courthouse, made of wood, was completed in 1849. After the Civil War, the International and Great Northern Railroad crossed through Rusk County, but bypassed Henderson. In 1869, a white mob lynched five Black men without trial, including two preachers, in the public square outside the courthouse.[5] In 1874, the Henderson and Overton Branch Railroad Company built a stretch of railroad connecting Henderson to the tracks running through Overton. This stretch of railroad was later sold to the Missouri Pacific Railroad (now Union Pacific) and remains in use to this day.

In 1878, a fire destroyed the courthouse, and a brick courthouse was built in its place. This encouraged the construction of several other brick buildings, including the Howard Dickinson House, now a historical site.

In 1930, C. M. "Dad" Joiner brought in the Daisy Bradford #3 Discovery Well 6 miles northwest of Henderson.[6] The discovery of oil in October 1930 created a booming economy in the area, with the population of Henderson increasing from 2,000 to over 10,000 in a few months. The oil fields in and surrounding Henderson, part of the high-producing five-county East Texas Oil Field, continue to provide a large part of the wealth of the town, county, and region.

During World War II, airmen cadets from the Royal Air Force, flying from their training base at Terrell, Texas, routinely flew to Henderson on training flights. The community served as a stand-in for the British for Dunkirk, France, which is the same distance from London, England, as Henderson is from Terrell.[7]

1860 Henderson fire[edit]

On August 5, 1860, a fire broke out and burned most of the booming town of Henderson. Forty-three buildings, including two hotels, were destroyed in the fire, for a loss of $220,000.

According to the Depot Museum, a man named John Crow recalled the fire as follows:

I was about eight years old when Henderson burned. I went to town with my father the day after the fire. It burned every house as well as I recollect, except the Flanagan Brick Building. I remember I was barefooted and careful not to burn my feet. My father said at the time they thought a fellow named Green Herndon, a union man, had hired a negro woman to burn Henderson. Herndon was a northerner and was a pronounced opponent of secession. On the negro woman's testimony, a mob gathered, threw a loop around his neck, tied it to a saddle horse, which went around the public square dragging Herndon to death. Then they hung the body to a tree and shot it full of holes ... War was in preparation and people were in fits of anger. When the war broke out, the men got all the files they could find and went to the blacksmith shops and made knives and swords. There was much laughter and I remember they said, "We'll whip those damn Yankees with axes and butcher knives. Everyone was anxious to go."[8]

John Crow was John Stephen Crow, born in Henderson on March 5, 1852 and died there on October 19, 1952. He is buried at Maple Grove Cemetery. His father, Moses Melton Crow, was part of a large group of family, friends and neighbors who left the area of Henry and Clayton Counties, Georgia and were early settlers in Rusk County. The surnames of these early settlers include Burks, Cates, Crow, Mitchell and others.

First Christian Church of Henderson, Texas

2015 Henderson Tornado[edit]

On Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, an EF-2 rated tornado struck Henderson. That day, multiple tornadoes had struck other areas in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The tornado uprooted trees, damaged buildings, and caused minor damage to areas such as downtown, but no severe damage was recorded.[9]


Henderson is located at 32°9′14″N 94°48′10″W / 32.15389°N 94.80278°W / 32.15389; -94.80278 (32.153938, −94.802732).[10] It's positioned along the ridge that separates the Sabine River watershed from the Neches River watershed. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.0 square miles (31 km2), of which 0.1 sq mi (0.26 km2) of it (0.92%) is covered by water.



The Rusk County Airport is a county-owned, public-use airport located three miles west of downtown Henderson.[11]

Major highways[edit]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
Henderson racial composition as of 2020[13]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 6,549 49.35%
Black or African American (NH) 3,052 23.0%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 26 0.2%
Asian (NH) 99 0.75%
Pacific Islander (NH) 3 0.02%
Some Other Race (NH) 35 0.26%
Mixed/multiracial (NH) 353 2.66%
Hispanic or Latino 3,154 23.77%
Total 13,271

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 13,271 people, 3,968 households, and 2,752 families residing in the city.

As of the census[2] of 2000, 11,273 people, 4,350 households, and 2,971 families were residing in the city. The population density was 947.6 people/sq mi (365.8/km2). The 4,831 housing units averaged 406.1/sq mi (156.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 68.98% White, 22.34% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 6.81% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 11.80% of the population.

Of the 4,350 households, 32.6% had children under 18 living with them, 51.3% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were not families. About 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52, and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city, the age distribution was 26.9% under 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.3 males. For every 100 females 18 and over, there were 81.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,766, and for a family was $38,095. Males had a median income of $31,285 versus $19,473 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,491.


Local government[edit]

The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:[15]

Department Director
Mayor J.W. "Buzz" Fullen
City council Stephen Strong, Reginald Weatherton, Henry Pace, Melissa Morton and Gina Juarez.
City manager Jay Abercrombie
Municipal court judge Jamie Holmes
City attorney Russell C. Brown, Esq.
City secretary Cheryl Jimerson
Police chief Chad Taylor
Fire chief Rusty Chote
Public service operations director Davis Brown
Public utilities director Randy Boyd
Finance director Karen Vaughn
Tourism/Main St. director Suzanne Cross
Community development director Billy Hughes

State government[edit]

Henderson is represented in the Texas Senate by Republican Bryan Hughes, District 1, and in the Texas House of Representatives by Republican Travis Clardy, District 11. In 2024, Clardy was defeated by Joanne Schofner in the Republican Primary. [16]

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice contracts for the operation of East Texas Multi-Use Facility in Henderson, housing over 2000 male and female state inmates in treatment programs. The facility is operated by the Management and Training Corporation.[17]

Federal government[edit]

At the federal level, the two U.S. Senators from Texas are Republicans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; Henderson is part of Texas' US Congressional 1st District, which is currently represented by Republican Nathaniel Moran.


VeraBank headquarters and branch at 201 W. Main Street in downtown Henderson

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

Public schools[edit]

The Henderson Independent School District includes five campuses, Wylie Primary School, Wylie Elementary School, Northside Intermediate School, Henderson Middle School, and Henderson High School. The school mascot of Henderson is a lion, and the school colors are red and blue. School sports are an important part of Henderson's culture. A 3-A school, the Henderson Lions football team beat Chapel Hill, Texas, to become state champions in 2010. Many students are members of one or more athletic organizations.

A very small portion of the City of Henderson falls within the West Rusk ISD.[18]

Private schools[edit]

The City of Henderson is also served by Full Armor Christian Academy, a nondenominational private school.


Texas Baptist Institute and Seminary at 1300 Longview Avenue in Henderson

Henderson is the home of the Texas Baptist Institute and Seminary, a Missionary Baptist institution of the American Baptist Association.[19]


Currently, seven media outlets and one newspaper are located in Henderson, as well as many more in the surrounding areas.



AM stations[edit]

Frequency Call letters Format Name
Stations Broadcast from Henderson
1470 KWRD News/Talk

FM stations[edit]

Frequency Call letters Format Name
Stations broadcast from Henderson
100.7 KTYK Public Radio Red River Radio


Parks and recreation[edit]

Henderson has six parks, covering 118 acres. The parks are: Fair Park, Lake Forest Park, Misner Park, Montgomery Park, Smith Park, and Yates Park.

Lake Forest Park covers 60 acres and is the largest park in Henderson. It features a 15-acre lake, three fishing piers, a disc golf course, gardens, lighted pavilions, playgrounds, the Henderson Civic Center, and a plaza for concerts and events.[citation needed]

Fair Park covers 40 acres and features 1.8 miles of walking trails, a skate park, a baseball field, tennis courts, playgrounds, a splash pad, and a pavilion.[20]

Libraries and museums[edit]

The Depot Museum sits on 5 acres, and features a museum, a children's discovery center, plus several historic buildings and structures, including a railroad depot, a dry good store, a caboose, and a cotton gin.[21]

The Rusk County Library is located in a historic building at 106 East Main Street in downtown Henderson.[22]


The Henderson Civic Theater is a community theater that puts on live stage performances. It is located in historic downtown Henderson in the old Opera House building.[23]

The Veteran's Memorial is located at the Rusk County Courthouse and honors veterans from Rusk County.[24]

The Howard-Dickinson House is a Texas Historic Landmark that was built in 1855 and offers tours.

Notable people[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The 1970 science-fiction film, Colossus: The Forbin Project, mentions Henderson as the site of the fictitious Henderson Air Force Base, the target of a retaliatory ICBM fired by Colossus' Soviet counterpart, the defense supercomputer "Guardian".


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification, Henderson has a humid subtropical climate, Cfa on climate maps.[25]

Climate data for Henderson, Texas (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1941–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 86
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 58.5
Daily mean °F (°C) 47.0
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 35.6
Record low °F (°C) 4
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.11
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.2 9.7 9.1 8.0 8.3 9.0 7.1 6.6 6.6 7.4 8.0 9.5 98.5
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5
Source: NOAA[26][27]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  5. ^ "Documenting Reconstruction Violence". Equal Justice Initiative Reports.
  6. ^ Olien, Diana; Olien, Roger (2002). Oil in Texas, The Gusher Age, 1895-1945. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 170–171. ISBN 0292760566.
  7. ^ AT6 Monument
  8. ^ "Rusk County and the Civil War". Archived from the original on July 1, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  9. ^ "Storm Events Database - Event Details | National Centers for Environmental Information".
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  11. ^ "Rusk County, Texas". www.co.rusk.tx.us. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  14. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  15. ^ City of Henderson Proposed Budget 2010–2011 Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 2011-1-20
  16. ^ Abrams, Cameron. "Shofner Defeats Incumbent Clardy for Texas House District 11". The Texan. Retrieved April 21, 2024.
  17. ^ "East Texas Treatment (XQ)". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  18. ^ Texas School District Locator (Map). Retrieved August 7, 2023.
  19. ^ "Texas Baptist Institute". Tbi.edu. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  20. ^ "Park Information | Henderson, TX - Official Website". www.hendersontx.us. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  21. ^ "Depot Museum". www.depotmuseum.com. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  22. ^ "Rusk County Library". Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  23. ^ Theatre, Henderson Civic. "Henderson Civic Theatre - Theater, Performing Arts, Live Theater". Henderson Civic Theatre. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  24. ^ "Veterans Memorial – Visit Henderson Texas". www.visithendersontx.com. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  25. ^ "Henderson, Texas Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
  26. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  27. ^ "Station: Henderson, TX". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[14]

External links[edit]