Kilgore History

Surrounded by the lush green pine forests and clear blue lakes of East Texas, Kilgore has a long and unusual history that sets the stage for today’s unique community.

Plantation owners settled the area before the Civil War. Kilgore itself was established in 1872 with the coming of the Great Northern Railroad. A quiet farming community of 500, Kilgore was thrust into the international spotlight in the 1930s with the discovery of one of the greatest oil fields of our time.

In just ten short days, the town’s population exploded as more that 10,000 fortune seekers swarmed Kilgore from all over the world. By 1939, a forest of nearly 1,200 oil derricks crowded together within the city limits-most concentrated within one square block that became known as the World’s Richest Acre. One well was actually drilled through the terrazzo floor of the Kilgore National Bank that once stood in the area. Kilgore quickly became known as the capital of the huge East Texas Oil Field.

Kilgore Today

In sharp contrast to the thriving boomtown of the 1930’s, Kilgore today is a city that blends its rich oil heritage with a technologically advanced business community that provides residents with an incomparable quality of life. In addition to its 13,000 residents. Kilgore also draws from Gregg and Rusk counties with a combined population of nearly 160,000.

The people who live here see Kilgore as a friendly small town that has many characteristics of a larger community. A high tech industrial base, an outstanding public school system and community college, abundant recreational opportunities and extraordinary cultural events make Kilgore a unique small city