Palestine is a city in Anderson County, Texas, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 18,712. It is the county seat.Palestine was named for Palestine, Illinois, by Daniel Parker.
The largest employer is the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which employs more than 3,900. Another 1,600 work at two Wal-Mart distribution centers. Other significant employers include a thriving medical and healthcare sector that tends to the large population of retirees.
Palestine entered the news in February 2003, as one of the East Texas towns that received much of the debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, where seven astronauts were killed.
Palestine is also home to the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (renamed after the shuttle crash), which has flown 1,700 high-altitude balloons for universities and research agencies.
Palestine City Hall
Location of Palestine, Texas
|Coordinates: 31°45′29″N 95°38′19″W|
In 1846, the Texas Legislature created Palestine to serve as seat for the newly established Anderson County. James R. Fulton, Johnston Shelton and William Bigelow were hired by the first Anderson County commissioners to survey the surrounding land and lay out a town site, consisting of a central courthouse square and the surrounding 24 blocks. Predating the town was a temporary trading post in operation since at least 1843. It grew significantly following the arrival of the railroad in the 1870s. It had a population of over 10,000 by 1898.
Palestine is located near the center of Anderson County at (31.757925, -95.638473). Several numbered highways converge on the city, including U.S. Highways 79, 84, and 287, plus Texas State Highways 19 and 155. Dallas is 110 miles (180 km) to the northwest, and Houston is 150 miles (240 km) to the south. Tyler is 47 miles (76 km) to the northeast.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.6 square miles (50.7 km2), of which 19.4 square miles (50.2 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2), or 1.06%, is water.
The Dogwood Trails Festival occurs each spring over the last two weekends of March and the first weekend in April.
The Dogwood Jamboree is held every two months at the Palestine Civic Center. The country and western concert is hosted by Pastor Dan Manuel and a variety of country and western artists. Each performance always features new talent, young, older and in between. The newest addition to the Dogwood Jamboree features talent competition developing young artists under the age of eighteen. Attendees come from all over the nation and from foreign countries to see the performances.
A glimpse of downtown Palestine
The Texas Theatre hosts community events.
East Texas National Bank
First PresbyterianChurch of Palestine
Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 503 North Queen Street in downtown Palestine