Smith County, Texas
|Smith County, Texas|
Smith County Courthouse in Tyler
Location in the U.S. state of Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
|• Total||950 sq mi (2,460 km2)|
|• Land||921 sq mi (2,385 km2)|
|• Water||28 sq mi (73 km2), 3.0%|
|• Density||228/sq mi (88/km²)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
Smith County is located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 209,714. Its county seat is Tyler. Smith County is named for James Smith, a general during the Texas Revolution.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Politics
- 5 Government and infrastructure
- 6 Education
- 7 Media
- 8 Communities
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The first known inhabitants of the area now known as Smith County were the Caddo Indians. In July 1846 Smith County separated from the Nacogdoches District and was named for James Smith, a General of the Texas Revolution. It was at this time that Tyler was designated as the county seat.
Camp Ford was the largest Confederate Prisoner of War Camp west of the Mississippi River during the American Civil War and was where Sheriff Jim Reed of Collin County and Judge McReynolds, former chief justice of the district, were seized and lynched by "Regulators." The original site of the Camp stockade is now a public historic park, owned by Smith County, Texas, and managed by the Smith County Historical Society. The park contains a kiosk, paved trail, interpretive signage, a cabin reconstruction, and a picnic area. It is located on Highway 271, 0.8 miles north of Loop 323.
The Smith County Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in 1959 by individuals and business firms dedicated to discovering, collecting and preserving data, records and other items relating to the history of Smith County, Texas. More information can be found at the Smith County Historical Society Website.
The county infrastructure includes some 1,180 miles (1,900 km) of two lane county road.
- Wood County (north)
- Upshur County (northeast)
- Gregg County (east)
- Rusk County (southeast)
- Cherokee County (south)
- Henderson County (southwest)
- Van Zandt County (northwest)
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2010, there were 209,714 people and 76,427 households residing in the county. The population density was 227.6 people per square mile (73/km²). There were 87,309 housing units. The racial makeup of the county was 70.1% White, 17.9% Black or African American, 0.5% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.2% Asian, and 2.0% persons reporting two or more races. 17.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 76,427 households, out of which 34.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.8% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of a householder living alone. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the county, the population was spread out with 26.60% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 27.40% from 25 to 44, 22.10% from 45 to 64, and 14.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.90 males.
Government and infrastructure
The county infrastructure includes some 1,180 miles (1,900 km) of two lane county road. 70% of these county roads were rated "bad" or "poor" in 2004. The county Commissioners Court appointed a new county engineer in 2005 and initiated an aggressive reconstruction campaign. After the election of 2006, this reconstruction campaign was cut back by the Commissioners Court. During this period a controversial pay increase for commissioners and the county judge was passed by a 3-2 vote. After heated protests from the public the pay rates were eventually rolled back and new legislation was proposed in the state legislature to prohibit commissioners and county judges from authorizing raises for themselves during their first term of office.
Twenty-eight elected officials serve Smith County citizens (County Auditor is not an elected position):
|County Judge||County administration (as presiding member of the Commissioners Court) and judicial jurisdiction|
|Commissioners (four, one per precinct)||County administration (Commissioners Court)|
|Sheriff||Security and law enforcement|
|District Attorney||Law enforcement and criminal prosecution|
|Constables (five, one per precinct)||Law enforcement|
|Justices of the Peace (five, one per precinct)||Judicial/Legal jurisdiction|
|District Clerk||Judicial support to district courts|
|County Clerk||Clerk of record for the county|
|County Tax Assessor-Collector||Collector of property taxes and special fees|
|County Treasurer||County’s chief banker|
|County Court at Law Judges (three)||Judicial/Legal jurisdiction|
|District Judges (four)||Judicial/Legal jurisdiction|
Smith County Road & Bridge
[Road & Bridge Mission Statement]
[Responsible use, care, and maintenance of County facilities, equipment, and supplies used to accomplish our mission] [Maintain respect for the rights of the public, the public trust, and our system of laws] [Performance of our duties in a safe and responsible manner]
Smith County ranks 10th in the State of Texas for road miles. The county has 1,170 miles – about the distance from Tyler, Texas to Paradise, Nevada -- of roads it maintains. The Smith County Road & Bridge Department not only maintains the county’s bridges and roads, including mowing the rights of way, but also offers services for all county department vehicles, including maintenance and minor repairs. Road & Bridge personnel include five administrators, 58 laborers in the road crews and 11 people working in equipment maintenance. The department also uses Smith County Jail trustees for some of its labor. County Engineer Frank Davis joined Smith County on July 7, 2014, after more than 30 years in public works and 27 years in the U.S Naval Reserves. ROADS: Smith County operates under the Unit Road System, wherein the County Engineer is responsible for the roads in the county without regard to precincts, and he oversees the construction and maintenance for all county roads. Section 252.302 of the Texas Transportation Code outlines the Smith County Road system: The Commissioners Court is the policy-making body for the Road & Bridge Department; the County Engineer serves as its chief executive officer over the department’s personnel. The department operates much like a corporation. Davis oversees the company and is responsible for executing the general guidance given by the Commissioners Court (which serves like a board of directors). Road & Bridge recently conducted an updated field evaluations of county roads. That data was submitted to the Atkins consulting firm, which ranked all of the roads on their conditions, what materials they are made of and their traffic volume. The result is available to the public. “It provides us with a list of roads from the worst to satisfactory and recommend what we need to do to them, what the cost will be and which ones to do first,” Davis said. The county has budgeted about $2 million this year for “Special Road Projects,” to immediately start work on reconstructing and rebuilding roads outlined in the Capital Improvement Plan is approved. Davis said the challenge his department has is many of Smith County’s roads were constructed when those areas were rural and the roads saw about 30 cars per day. Built to those standards, some of those roads now see 300 cars per day, including heavier loads because of construction. Part of what the Capital Improvement Project will do is help them improve those roads and meet those challenges. BRIDGES: Smith County has 140 bridges and 5,280 cross culverts it maintains. The state inspects county bridges that are 20 feet long or more every two years and ranks needed repairs on a graded system. Some bridges are selected to be funded 90 percent by a federal bridge program and the county’s 10 percent match can be work-in-kind, coming from the costs the county incurs by using its Road & Bridge crews to replace substandard bridges. The county also maintains many bridges that are less than 20 feet.
The following school districts serve school-age children in Smith County:
- Arp Independent School District
- Bullard Independent School District (also partially in Cherokee County)
- Chapel Hill Independent School District
- Gladewater Independent School District (also partially in Gregg County and Upshur County)
- Lindale Independent School District (also partially in Van Zandt County)
- Troup Independent School District (also partially in Cherokee County)
- Tyler Independent School District
- Van Independent School District (also partially in Van Zandt County)
- Whitehouse Independent School District
- Winona Independent School District
Those wishing to attend institutions of higher learning in the area can attend:
KTBB, an AM radio station based in Tyler, provides a news-talk format to the area.
- Chapel Hill
- Dogwood City
- Garden Valley
- Lee Spring
- Mount Sylvan
- New Harmony
- New Hope
- Pine Springs
- Pine Trail Estates
- Red Springs
- Sand Flat
- Shady Grove
- Sinclair City
- Walnut Grove
- Waters Bluff
- Wood Springs
- Wright City
- Caldwell Zoo
- Carnegie History Center
- Cotton Belt Depot Train Museum
- Goodman-LeGrand House
- List of museums in East Texas
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Smith County, Texas
- Texas Rose Festival
- Tyler Museum of Art
- Whitaker-McClendon House
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Texas State Historical Association Online. "Smith County". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- "To discover, collect and preserve the history of Smith County". Smith County Historical Society. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
- "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
- "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
||Van Zandt County||Wood County||Upshur County|
|Henderson County||Cherokee County||Rusk County|