Moses L. Choate, a native of Livingston, Tennessee, had started a settlement called Springfield on his land grant in 1835, and wanted the seat of government located there when Polk County was organized out of Liberty County in 1846. He offered to give the new county one hundred acres of land if Springfield was selected as County Seat and the name of the town be changed to Livingston, for his former home in Tennessee. Although this was very generous offer made by Choate, the legislature required that an election be held to determine the location of the County Seat for the newly organized Polk County. Thus, by election in June 1846, Springfield was decided upon and the name was changed to Livingston.
John English, a brother-in-law of Moses L. Choate, bought 500 acres of land north of Livingston, on which he built a two-story house of hand-sawed lumber. Mr. William M. Matthews bought the place in 1854 and was forced to sell it after the Civil War. The property was acquired by the Bean family, and is still owned by them.
The C. H. Davison home was the first prefabricated house in the county. It was cut out and partially fabricated in St. Louis and shipped here for assembly by R. A. Corry in 1887-1888. This home has a hand-carved staircase, mantles and wainscot, and is owned by a Davison daughter, Mrs. J. W. Leggett.
The Gordie Nettles home was built in 1895 of long leaf pine and cypress siding and trim. It is of Victorian design with “gingerbread” trim.
Other old homes are the W. K. McCardell home, the Kit Jackson home, he old Hill homes, the J. W. Cochran home, the two Drew homes, the Judge . C. Feagin home, the J. L. Manry home, the Tom Fitze home, the M. M. Baker home, the J. L. Muller home, and the Frank Manning home (now used as a business).
Brick Factory. A major fire destroyed most of the City of Livingston in 1902. Just after the fire, a brick factory was built on a site south of Choate’s Creek.
Original organizers and owners included George Sawyer, A. L. Sawyer, George Smith, and most of the local business men of that time. Later, Dr. Robert D. Willis owned an interest.
Buildings still standing which were built of locally produced brick include the Ward Jones building, the H. B. Davis store, and the J. W. Cochran building. The Jones building was originally built for the First National Bank in 1902.
Utilities. The Livingston Telephone Company, Polk County’s first utility, was organized August 3, 1903, with the following stockholders: L. F. Gerlach, S. H. Smith, J.C. Feagin, Hill and Hill, T. F. Meece, B. C. Marsh, S. J. Andress, T. B. Davis, W. B. Everitt, George F. Sawyer, A. L. Sawyer, George Smith, S. M. Peters, J. W. Cochran, Mistrot Brothers, J. L. Muller, H. B. Davis, P. H. Blalock, J. A. Dye, D. R. Bonner, Capitol stock as $2,000.00.
Forty telephones, each on its own line, were placed into service and Mr. Watt Scarborough was hired as manager.
The outside plant was rebuilt in 1909 and the first creosote pine poles in Polk County were placed into service. The first one was on the northwest corner of Washington Avenue and Church Street.
Power Plant. The Livingston Power Plant was established in 1905 by George and Albert Sawyer, using a small wood-fired steam engine of about 20-horse power. Fifteen homes were wired with lines and since lighting was he sole use of. this power the plant gave service only at night for five years. The company was operated by two men; the manager, Roy Sawyer, and a
lineman. During the first two years, the revenue did not reach $100.00 a month.
In 1907, the plant was sold for $2,000.00 to a group of local businessmen: A. J. Sloan, L. T. Sloan, L. F.
Things To Do
Parks and Recreation Crew
Trade Days completed its 12th year of operations in 2011 with an average of 151 vendors attending each monthly event. Trade Days special events included the 10th annual Spring Outdoor Expo in March, Texas Pioneer Bird Show in June, Christmas in July, and the annual Dog Show; Trade Days also hosted two vendor events, the annual Hot Dog Supper in August and the Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner in November.
The City’s 12th annual “Easter Eggstravaganza” drew a crowd of excited children who hunted for more than 20,000 Easter eggs stuffed with candy and prize tokens. Local businesses donated candy and more than 200 prizes, including bicycles, tricycles, swimming pools, sports equipment, Easter baskets, stuffed animals, electronic toys and learning games. Numerous volunteers stuffed and hid the eggs.
In April, the Kids Fishing Frenzie was held at Pedigo Park Pond. The annual fishing tournament was created to promote fishing to kids, from toddlers to teens. The 2011 event was sponsored by the Texas Game Wardens Association (who stocked the pond with catfish), C. H. Marine, First National Bank, WalMart and the VFW.
Because of the efforts of our volunteers, the Parks and Recreation Department is able to host many events throughout the year. In April, an appreciation dinner, with the theme “Our Volunteers are Worth a Fortune”, recognized the efforts of all those who contributed endless hours of their time to bring events to our community.
In June, the First Annual Livingston PRCA Championship Rodeo was held at Barney Wiggins Arena with some of the world’s best riders and ropers competing for cash prizes. Rodeo clowns entertained the crowd with slapstick comedy and young attendees enjoyed the mutton bustin’ and a calf scramble.
Pedigo Park was the site for several community events, including the Annual Polk County Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society, First Baptist Church’s “Night in Bethlehem”, and the Ike Turner Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans event, “School of Instruction on the Civil War”.