"Keeweechic's Bonham" Bonham by keeweechic
Bonham Travel Guide: 52 reviews and 64 photos
Bonham is one of the oldest towns in Texas, some will tell you it is THE oldest. It is certainly the oldest in the Red River Valley region. The first settlers arrived in 1837 and a settlement was established when Bailey Inglish built a two story log fort and named it Fort Inglish. When other settlers arrived that summer, the community was called Bois D'Arc but in 1843 after the name Bloomington was rejected in the Texas Congress, the name Bonham was chosen in honour of James Butler Bonham - a hero of the Alamo. Sometime between 1843 and 1845 the county records from Fort Inglish and Fort Warren were moved to Bonham and the town was incorporated on February 2, 1848. The county is named after James Fannin who was massacred along with his men at Goliad.
The community remained small until the Texas and Pacific Railroad arrived in 1873 when it then began to grow. By 1885 Bonham had three colleges, eight churches, three weekly newspapers, a saw mill, two grist mills, a furniture factory and gins. By 1890 an oil mill, street car line and ice plant were in operation and the community had grown to 3361. Bonham was one of the first cities in Texas to have an electric light service when the first electric light plant came to Bonham in 1885.
Bonham became famous for many things over the years. Newspapers all over the United States comments on Bonham's cotton-tail rabbit market. The rabbits were shipped to New Orleans by the thousands and sold for 5c. The town was also known as a horse market and during the Boer War in South Africa. A feeding station was set up and thousands of horses were brought to Bonham from New Orleans on their way to South Africa. This market attracted more visitors than any other living thing in Bonham's early history.
During World War II an air force training school was located at Bonham which helped increase the population to 7043 and was also the site of a POW camp for mostly German soldiers. Because of the increase in population the town ended up with some 20 manufacturing plants to make it an industrial area in the county.
Bonham is also famous for Sam Rayburn, the town's most illustrious son. A statesman, congressman and a major influence of the 20th century.
There is more to Bonham than I could cover on my short visit. The area has 5 lakes and parks, including Bonham State Park, and you can take the Texas Lakes Trail to drive between them all, along with Caddo National Grasslands. There are wineries and vineyards in the area as well.
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