Located in the heart of Texas, the small and charming town of Ben Wheeler offers visitors a unique glimpse into the past. Once a bustling oil town with a thriving population of 2000, Ben Wheeler was devastated by a fire in the late 1920s, leaving behind a collection of historic buildings and cemeteries that serve as a testament to its rich history.
Despite its small size, the town of Ben Wheeler boasts a school system, a college for women, and a general store owned by the same family for generations.
As you step into Ben Wheeler, you are immediately transported back in time. The town’s historic structures and cemeteries offer a glimpse into its past, while the friendly locals provide a warm welcome to visitors.
Whether you are a history buff or simply looking for a unique day trip, Ben Wheeler has something to offer everyone. In this article, we will take a closer look at the location and population of Ben Wheeler, explore its fascinating history and historic sites, and provide tips for visiting this charming ghost town.
So come along and discover the hidden gem that is Ben Wheeler, Texas.
- Ben Wheeler is a small and charming town in Texas with a rich history that was once a bustling oil town before being devastated by fire in the late 1920s.
- Visitors can explore Ben Wheeler’s historic sites, including buildings and cemeteries that offer a glimpse into its past. They can also enjoy classic southern dishes at local restaurants such as the Forge Bar and Grill and Moore’s Store.
- Ben Wheeler hosts numerous local attractions and community events throughout the year, including the Ben Wheeler Arts & Historic District’s Second Saturday event and the annual Fall Feral Hog Festival, featuring live music, art, food, and a parade.
- Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities such as fishing, hiking, and scenic drives in nearby parks and gardens, including the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden, the Caldwell Zoo, and the East Texas Piney Woods Trail, while experiencing the town’s unique blend of history, culture, and community spirit.
Location and Population
Located on Hwy 64, approximately one hour east of Dallas and 30 minutes west of Tyler, the charming ghost town of Ben Wheeler boasts a population of 500 residents, akin to a small, tightly-knit community. Despite its small size, Ben Wheeler is a vibrant town with numerous local attractions and community events throughout the year.
Visitors can explore the oldest structures on Hwy 279 just off Hwy 64, which date back to the town’s early days. The town is also home to historic cemeteries and buildings that glimpse its rich history.
In addition to its historic sites, Ben Wheeler hosts various community events that draw visitors across the region. One such event is the Ben Wheeler Arts & Historic District’s Second Saturday event, where visitors can enjoy live music, art, and food from local vendors. The town also hosts the annual Fall Feral Hog Festival, which features a BBQ cook-off, live music, and a parade.
With its unique blend of history, culture, and community spirit, Ben Wheeler is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to discover the charm of Texas’s ghost towns.
History and Historic Sites
One can explore the history of Ben Wheeler through its oldest structures on Hwy 279 just off Hwy 64, as well as the buildings and historic cemeteries that offer a glimpse into the town’s past. These structures are a testament to the town’s once prosperous past as a roaring oil town from 1880 until a fire destroyed most of the town in the late 1920s. At its high point, the population of Ben Wheeler was around 2000, and the town boasted its own school system and a college for women.
Today, visitors can still see remnants of the town’s former glory in the remaining historic structures. The general store owned by the family that helped build the town is a popular attraction, as well as the numerous historic cemeteries and buildings. Despite the fire that destroyed much of the town, Ben Wheeler’s rich history and southern flavor continue to draw visitors from all over to experience the charm of this Texas ghost town.
Visiting Ben Wheeler
To experience the rich history and southern flavor of this small community, visitors can explore the oldest structures, historic cemeteries, and buildings that offer a glimpse into Ben Wheeler’s past.
Some must-see attractions include the historic downtown area, which boasts several charming shops and cafes.
Visitors can also take a stroll through the various parks and gardens in the town, such as the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden and the Caldwell Zoo.
Aside from its historical significance, Ben Wheeler is known for its delicious local cuisine.
Visitors can indulge in classic southern dishes like fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, and sweet tea at local restaurants such as the Forge Bar and Grill and Moore’s Store.
Outdoor enthusiasts can also enjoy a range of activities in Ben Wheeler, such as fishing in nearby Lake Fork, hiking the trails at Mineola Nature Preserve, or taking a scenic drive along the East Texas Piney Woods Trail.
With its rich heritage and abundance of activities, Ben Wheeler is a charming ghost town that is well worth a visit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the current economic status of Ben Wheeler and how has it changed since its oil boom days?
Ben Wheeler’s economic status has significantly declined since its oil boom days, with a current state of being a small, rural town with a population of 500. However, it still retains its historical significance, with well-preserved buildings and cemeteries that offer a glimpse into its past.
Are there any notable annual events or festivals in Ben Wheeler?
Ben Wheeler hosts numerous annual events and local traditions, including the Fall Feral Hog Festival, Christmas in the Park, and the Redland Festival. The town is also known for its ghost stories and haunted places, adding to its rich history and charm.
What is the local cuisine like in Ben Wheeler and are there any must-try dishes?
Ben Wheeler’s local cuisine boasts farm-to-table options and local brews. Must-try dishes include the fried catfish at Moore’s Store and the homemade pies at The Forge Bar and Grill.
Are there any notable artists or musicians who have come from or performed in Ben Wheeler?
Ben Wheeler has a flourishing local art scene and has attracted famous performers such as Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves to perform at the annual Fall Feral Hog Festival. The town also hosts regular live music events at local venues.
What outdoor activities are available in the surrounding area of Ben Wheeler?
The surrounding area of Ben Wheeler offers numerous outdoor activities such as hiking trails and fishing spots. The area boasts scenic trails for hiking enthusiasts, while the numerous lakes and rivers provide fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels.