Nestled in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas, Tyler is known as the “Rose Capital of America.” While the moniker is well-deserved given the local rose industry, the Rose Festival, and its claim to America’s largest municipal rose garden, Tyler’s history is just as colorful as any rose. From the days when it hosted the largest Confederate prisoner-of-war camp west of the Mississippi River, through the years when cotton, fruit trees, and then roses became the local cash crops, to the time when the East Texas oil field was discovered and launched a new economy, Tyler boasts a fascinating past.
Author Robert E. Reed Jr. is a lifelong resident of Tyler and a graduate of Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler. His interest in local history has led to a large personal collection of Tyler memorabilia as well as his Web site, Past Glimpses of Tyler, Texas. He is a member of the Smith County Historical Society and the Tyler Tap Chapter of the Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society. While the sources for the photographs in this work are numerous, the Smith County Historical Society provided a majority of the intriguing images.