ONE-TANK TRIPS: Palestine entertains as a charming and historic railroad town – KYTX

Posted By on June 2, 2022

This hub of history stretches beyond its booming railroad age.

PALESTINE, Texas The city of Palestine is rich with history, shaped by transportation during its booming railroad age.

According to the city, Palestine was named by early settler Daniel Parker, who came from Palestine Illinois. In 1846, the Texas legislature created Palestine which is located in the center of the county, to serve as the Anderson County seat.

In 1881, prisoners from the East Texas penitentiary built more than a mile of track, with the final ties laid in 1909, connecting Rusk with Palestine.

Ava Harman, director of coffee sales atEilenberger's bakery, the oldest operating bakery in Texas, explains how the town built around the locomotives took shape

"We had people coming here building gorgeous architectural style houses." said Harman.

The original Eilenberger's Bakery opened at the corner of Oak and John streets in Palestine in 1898, originally selling bread as "Eilenberger's Butter Nut Bread Company."

"We've been in existence for 124 years. Fred Eilenberger came here from Germany and brought family recipes with him." said Harman

Eilenberger expanded his menu to include desserts, later becoming known for old world-style fruitcakes.

"He developed a relationship with Texas electric company where they wanted to ship gifts all over the world and they just happened to choose the fruitcake." Harman said.

The establishment, originally named "The American Home Bakery" burned down in 1915, causing it to move to the location it presently sits on 512 North John Street.

For fans of old architecture, our next stop was to Braly's Hardware Store.

The store dubbed the "coolest hardware store on the planet" by Ace Hardware is housed inside a 1938 elementary school.

The business recently, which celebrated its 90th birthday, originally opened in 1932 by former sawmill man, WJ Franklin. It's now operated by fourth-generation owner, Stephen Braly.

"We wanted something really cool with character like our old building was," said Braly.

The new owners breathed new life into the former elementary school

"We bought it, still carpet in the rooms, carpet on the floor, lockers, chalkboards, desks, everything was still intact." Vicki Braly said.

Using chalkboards left behind as display signs, the couple designed each classroom as a separate department selling much more beyond tools.

When you're ready to unwind and take a break from downtown, you can find a quaint and flavorful bed and breakfast tucked away in the East Texas Pineywoods.

Sabor a pasion is the vision of award-winning international chef, Simon Webster.

"Sabor means a taste of passion and this whole property has been my passion for 18 years now," Webster said.

The venue offers six cottages and two estate rooms, customizable to the occasion.

"We offer flowers, sparkling wine, we can do chocolate strawberries," said Webster.

Overnight guests are treated to a breakfast prepared by Chef Simon in the morning but also offers cooking classes and dinner parties for those interested in visiting for the day.

"We have two wood-fired pizza ovens and we use Texas oak that goes in there to cook it," Webster said. "We do beautiful pizzas in here."

Webster's upscale menu at restaurant Aubergine featuring New Zealand lamb, fresh salads and dessert made from locally sourced, farm to table ingredients.

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ONE-TANK TRIPS: Palestine entertains as a charming and historic railroad town - KYTX

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