Jefferson has many interesting and diverse tours - you can see the city by carriage, float down the bayou on a tour boat, or walk the streets by lantern-light. You can visit some of the city's most historic homes for a guided tour, or rent bicycles to take in the town on your own. Each tour has their own charm, and they are presented here in alphabetical order...

Atalanta - Jay Gould's Private Railroad Car

Jay Gould was a leading American railroad developer and speculator in the 1800s. His private train car "The Atalanta" is on display across from the Excelsior House Hotel on Austin Street. The private parlor car has a luxurious interior with four staterooms, lounge, dining room, kitchen, butlerís pantry and ballroom. He named the train car after the Goddess of Speed. It is ironic the train car ended up in Jefferson, because the town rejected Gouldís bid to pass his railroad through the town. After his rejection, he supposedly shook his fist in the air and cursed the city, saying "Bats will roost in your belfry, and grass will grow in your streets!" The opulent car is now owned and operated by the Excelsior Foundation. Tours are given by members of the Jesse Allen Wise Garden Club; please call Excelsior House for more information.

211 W Austin St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-2513 *

Excelsior House Tour

Youíll find the beautiful and historic Excelsior House on Austin Street in downtown Jefferson, built in the 1850s by Captain William Perry. Perry served as mayor of Jefferson, owned a shipping business, and played a significant role in the development of Jefferson as an inland port. The Excelsior House is the oldest continuously-operating hotel west of the Mississippi River. Today, the hotel has been restored to its elegance and beauty from a bygone day and is a popular destination for visitors to the city. Tours of the hotel presented by members of the Jesse Allen Wise Garden Club showcase the opulent lobby, the regal ballroom, the courtyard, and both the east and west wings. This hour-long tour is a chance to explore the hotel and hear its fascinating history.

211 W Austin St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-2513 *

Haunts & History of The Grove

A Guided Tour through one of the historical - and haunted - homes from Jefferson`s past... Join us for an hour-long excursion into the historic old home that has been called "the most haunted house in Jefferson." You'll hear the fascinating history of this 1861 house, along with the true supernatural experiences of the owners, past and present. Walk the gardens, sit in the front parlor, and follow the footsteps of the mysterious Lady in White. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, and is also a Texas State Antiquities Landmark. The historical portion of the tour is fascinating, and the ghost stories defy explanation.

405 Moseley St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-8018 *

Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk

Come join us on a nighttime journey and discover Jefferson's historic haunts. On this tour you will walk the brick streets of the old riverport city and hear the ghostly tales associated with many of the 1800s buildings. You will venture through dark alleyways and courtyards by the glow of lantern light, listening to vivid accounts of historic tragedy, murder and supernatural encounters. You might even experience one! The Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk endeavors to go inside a haunted location whenever possible.

123 W. Austin * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-601-3375 *

Historic Jefferson Railway

The train ride takes you through the beautiful woods and wetlands along the Big Cypress Bayou and lasts about 40 minutes with a stop at the Diamond Don Gator Pit to see the feeding of the live alligators that live there. The train is pulled by "The Critter" - a gas-powered Plymouth Locomotive. Plymouth locomotives were first built in 1910. The Railway has become a part of the thriving community of Jefferson sponsoring major events throughout the year that bring over 20,000 visitors to Jefferson. The train rolls past a Civil War powder magazine, and several historic ruins from the 1800s. It also goes through the wooded area where bigfoot has allegedly been sited a number of times, the first being back in 1924.

400 E. Austin * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 866-398-2038 *

Historic Tours of Jefferson

A one-hour guided shuttle tour of the downtown historic district, including the old business district, historic homes, and a trip out to Oakwood Cemetery. Our small, quaint town in East Texas has 135+ state and nationally recognized historic structures. Most of the homes in Jefferson have been beautifully restored and preserved, and are showcased on the shuttle tour.

If you prefer, you can rent bicycles and enjoy the charm of this East Texas town on your own. Call the number below for more information.

217 W Lafayette St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-0359 *

House of the Seasons

The House of the Seasons was built in 1872 during the glory days of Jefferson, the largest inland port in Texas at that time. Colonel Benjamin H. Epperson who built the house was a prominent lawyer, political leader, entrepreneur, and confidante of Sam Houston. The house is a fine example of the transition period between the Greek Revival and Victorian styles of architecture. The House is decorated to reflect the interior design fashion of the 1870s. Many pieces of furniture are original to the house, having been purchased from Miss Jeannie Epperson, Benís daughter, in 1974. The House of the Seasons tour is a walk through Jefferson's history and that of this beautiful house.

409 S. Alley * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-8000 *

Lone Star Carriage Company

Lone Star Carriage Company features several different carriages, routes, and tours - some are narrated, some have music instead. The 30-minute historic tour features many homes and churches in the historic district, along with the rich history of the city of Jefferson. If you prefer a romantic ride and moonlight excursion, you can sit back and relax with your loved one and enjoy the city at night - carriages are lit up, and music is available. Finally, the Grand Adventure Tour lasts one full hour - for the first half you will enjoy a historic narration, and after that you will be taken to unique locations for photo opportunities and more.

222 W. Austin * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-926-8216 *

Lonesome Dove Drive-Thru Safari

Located about 2 miles north of Jefferson on Highway 59, the safari has about 160 animals on several acres of beautiful land out in the country. Drive your car through our park at a leisurely 5 m.p.h., and enjoy all the unique animals. We want every visitor to our park to have the best experience possible and to be safe as well as keep our animals safe. Please call (903)240-6180 before making a trip to ensure that we are open.

1782 Hwy 59 N * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-240-6180 *

Singleton's Virginia Cross Home Tour

The Singleton home, built in 1859, is a Greek Revival home located in the older portion of Jefferson, close to the Jefferson Historic District, and an easy walk from downtown. The house is an excellent example of early Texas Greek Revival architecture that was patterned after 18th Century Virginia houses of the cross plan, hence the sobriquet "Virginia Cross." This significant example of antebellum architecture is a recorded Texas Historic Landmark, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is recorded in the Historic American Building Survey in the Library of Congress. The home is completely furnished with American empire and Renaissance Revival antique furniture and accessories in keeping with the 1860 to 1885 time period.

401 N. Soda St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-3938 *

Turning Basin Riverboat Tour

Come experience the history of the bayou in Jefferson, Texas on a Turning Basin Riverboat Tour, guaranteed to enlighten and entertain you. The bayou tour takes about one hour and is mostly a narration concerning the history of Jefferson in regard to the steamboat business from here to New Orleans, information about our trees, plants and wildlife along the bayou and whatever other subjects that may pop up. We do not stick to a prepared script or recite a memorized speech. Each tour guide does his or her own research and puts together their own style of guiding Our guests are invited to ask questions during the tour - we try to keep it as informal but informative as possible.

200 Bayou St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-601-2222 *

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