Texas Basket Company Celebrates 100 Years
Photo courtesy of Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce
Texas Basket Company celebrates its 100th birthday May 2 at their factory located at 100 Myrtle Drive in Jacksonville.
At one point Jacksonville had four basket factories operating at the same time and there were 57 factories in East Texas and Louisiana. The Texas Basket Company is the only basket company left today in Texas. This decline in numbers is due in some degree to less local farming, but more so because of the beginning of the cardboard box and other shipping containers such as plastic.
In the early 1900’s Jacksonville was primarily an agricultural area with an abundance of peach trees. Around the same time the railroad came to Jacksonville and the peach business expanded into tomatoes. The tomatoes were a huge success and as a result, from about 1897 through World War II Jacksonville was known as the tomato capital of the world. At its peak, the area boasted about 15,000 local acres in tomatoes and shipped 3000 railroad cars of tomatoes a year.
The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce hosts a special day in honor of this centennial achievement. The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. with a Chamber ribbon cutting, City of Jacksonville Mayor Dick Stone proclaiming May 2 as Texas Basket Company Day, and other officials celebrating the 100th birthday of Texas Basket Company.
Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation is hosting a luncheon for the employees and attendees beginning at 11 a.m. Texas Basket Company will offer 20 minute tours of their operations from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. For those unable to attend the celebration, the company also has an observation room where people can observe the fascinating process of making baskets during regular working hours, 9 a.m. - noon, then 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For additional information, contact Martin Swanson at the Texas Basket Company, (903) 586-8014, or Peggy Renfro at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, (903) 586-2217.