Living in Longview
The Longview area is a great place to live. From the cultural advantages of urban life to the natural serenity and country landscapes and small town atmosphere of the surrounding communities, you’ll find it all in Longview…“The Best View of East Texas”.
Longview prides itself as being a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Situated between two major cities (Dallas, TX and Shreveport, LA), Longview’s location gives its residents the ability to experience small town life while taking advantage of the attractions that surrounding cities provide. Longview is the central city in the Longview- Marshall MSA. It is located on the U.S. Interstate 20 and U.S.Highway 80 corridor that stretches 275 miles through a chain of metropolitan statistical areas from Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana through Dallas-Fort Worth.
With a low crime rate, affordable housing, quality healthcare facilities, low cost of living, and exceptional schools, Longview has something to offer everyone. For people seeking an escape from rush hour traffic and overcrowded venues, Longview is the perfect place. A typical commute across town takes less than 30 minutes and traffic is essentially non-existent.
More than 14 colleges, universities, and technical schools with a total enrollment of approximately 56,000, are located in the Longview area. The area also has exceptional primary and secondary schools. There are 264 public, 43 private and 3 Catholic schools within a 12-county area. Academic excellence is achieved through Magnet Schools, Blue Ribbon Schools, High Accountability Ratings and focus on higher education through such programs as the Texas Scholars Program.
Longview ranked #2 of 124 in the 2009 Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities Index on the smallest metro list. This ranking is based on how well the metro is creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth. Longview’s unemployment rate is consistently lower than the state and the nation. December 2009 Longview’s unemployment rate was 4.5%, the state’s was 8.3% and the nation’s was 10%.
Gregg County: 119,637
Distance to Nearby Cities
Tyler, TX 37 miles
Shreveport, LA 58 miles
Texarkana, TX 90 miles
Dallas, TX 125 miles
Waco, TX 166 miles
Houston, TX 206 miles
Little Rock, AR 230 miles
Austin, TX 284 miles
Tulsa, OK 294 miles
Oklahoma City, OK 304 miles
Annual Average Temperature – 64 degrees
Average Annual Rainfall – 46.5 inches
Average Annual Growing Season – 247 days
Heritage Plaza: Heritage Plaza was built on the site of the Gregg Hotel (1929), the second hotel to be owned and operated by Conrad Hilton. This historic park in the city’s downtown district portrays Longview’s first 100 years on etched walls. It is used for community events and musical performances.
One Hundred Acres of Heritage: A self-guided tour of historic sites guides the visitor through the history of Longview from its ginning through the oil boom days. The picturesque Gregg County Courthouse lawn contains numerous memorials and markers. The courthouse grounds and all of downtown come fabulously alive on December nights with thousands of lights.
Gregg County Historical Museum: This museum is housed in the historic Everett Building in Downtown Longview. Originally built as the Citizens National Bank in 1910, it was presented to the Gregg County Historical Foundation in 1979. The Everett Building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has an Official Texas Historical Marker. The many exhibits illustrate the development of Gregg County with numerous artifacts and historic photographs. A specially designed hands-on area is a favorite of both children and adults. The first Saturday of December, history and exhibits come alive when actors depict holiday traditions from years gone by.
R.G. LeTourneau Museum: This museum contains personal memorabilia of R.G. LeTourneau (1888-1969), one of the most prolific inventors of oil and earth-moving equipment. Scale models of many of his inventions as well as the first offshore oil drilling platforms are on display at the museum on the campus of LeTourneau University.
East Texas Oil Museum: The history of the East Texas oil field is told in a way seldom experienced at this museum in nearby Kilgore. The museum is built around a full scale boom town from the 1930′s with dramatic historical sound presentations that leave an unforgettable memory.
Festivals and Events: Longview serves as the hub for visitors to the East Texas area, and is the site of AlleyFest, an annual three day festival on the streets Downtown Longview the first weekend in June, and The Great Texas Balloon Race an annual event held in July.
- The Great Texas Balloon Race, begun in 1979 and is the first and largest such event in the state. This competitive event attracts world class hot-air balloon pilots from around the world who compete for points toward national and international titles. A three-day event in mid-July holds 5 races, two night time balloon glows and is a fun festival with full carnival, air-shows, food and commercial venders, live music Friday and Saturday night.
- AlleyFest, begun in 1979 with 39 artists, now includes over 100 artisans, live music on two stages, a large children’s festival, a new and improved 10k runners course with 5k and 1 mile routes PLUS outrageously good food.
Arts and Culture
In the area of performing arts, the Longview community shows its strength, and rivals many larger metropolitan areas for variety, talent, and opportunity. Several groups entertain audiences throughout the year including Longview Symphony Orchestra, Opera East Texas, Longview Community Theatre, ArtsView Children’s Theatre, Longview Ballet Theatre, as well as several performing arts groups at local high schools and churches. In addition, Longview residents can enjoy professional performance series via LeTourneau University’s S.E. Belcher Chapel and Performance Arts Center and Kilgore College’s highly-acclaimed Shakespeare Festival.
Longview Museum of Fine Arts: Chartered in 1970, the Longview Museum of Fine Arts houses a comprehensive collection of paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture focusing on artists primarily of the Southwest, especially Texans. In addition to a permanent collection, Longview Art Museum presents special exhibits each month. During Holiday Market each November and December the gift gallery on site overflows into adjoining exhibition space with selections by artisans from all over the world.
Opera East Texas: Opera East Texas brings world-class talent to the community each year with its annual productions. Formerly known as Opera Longview, Opera East Texas began in 1992 in Longview’s Community Center with a volunteer director and a few paid educators filling the cast and crew categories. Now, Opera East Texas has grown to a year-round company with a blended national and local cast and crew of over sixty, plus a full orchestra. Events include a major opera event each June, a Kaleidoscope Musical Gala, Pasta and Puccini night, as well as the 2007 miraculous Christmas musical “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”
Longview Symphony Orchestra: Longview Symphony Orchestra conducts an exceptional season featuring events throughout the year. Celebrating 39 years of musical excellence, the fully professional orchestra features members from Longview, Tyler, Marshall, Shreveport, and Dallas. The conductor, Tonu Kalam, is a tenured professor of music at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and current president of the international Conductors Guild. The season is consists of five full orchestral concerts, a chamber music concert, a children’s concert for 4th grade students, and a guest artist master class for talented/gifted area music students. The organization also sponsors the Longview Area Youth Symphony Orchestra (LAYSO) and the Longview Area Preparatory String (LAPS).
S.E. Belcher Chapel and Performance Center: Located on the campus of LeTourneau University, the Belcher Center is a 73,341 square-foot facility that houses 1,400 ground level seats and another 600 opera-house style balcony gallery seats. The center was designed by professionals in architecture and theater designs, including one of the finest acoustical firms in the nation. The center is built for maximum flexibility within a warm, uplifting, and attractive environment. The center is host to a community performance series, which for 2007-2008 boasted the likes of The Ten Tenors, The Spencers Theatre of Illusion, STOMP, Eileen Ivers’ “An Nollaig: An Irish Christmas,” St. Petersburg Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet, the African Children’s Choir, and the Intergalactic Nemesis.
Longview Community Theatre: During its 40th year, the Longview Community Theatre continues to enthrall audiences each year with its series of plays and musicals starring local talent. The 2006-2007 study series included the Winter Wonderettes, Dearly Beloved, Carousel, and Run for Your Wife. Workshops and productions are open to anyone interested in some aspect of the performing arts. Most productions are held at the Longview Community Center.
Artsview Children’s Theatre: ArtsView Children’s Theatre (ACT) has grown significantly in its early years with plays and workshops for students to experience the performing arts. Artsview is a nonprofit organization which believes that the Arts are fundamental to a well-rounded childhood. ACT produces several wonderfully fun children and teen shows each year as well as occasional adult productions. Recent productions include Once On This Island; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; If You Give a Pig a Party; Alice In Wonderland, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and Happily Ever After. One unique event includes the annual Popcorn Theatre, which gives the audience the whimsically fun opportunity to cheer the hero, jeer the villain, and throw popcorn all the while.
Longview Ballet Theatre: The Longview Ballet Theatre shows off both top local student talent as well as bringing in performers from New York and other national ballet companies each year. The nonprofit dance company is dedicated to enhancing the community by combining beauty, skill, and vision to create innovative and inspiring performances for local audiences. Thirty-five years ago, Pat George Mitchell founded the Longview Ballet Theatre because she believes ballet should be accessible to everyone. Through LBT, she pursues her belief in the power of music and ballet to transform the audience by creating performances that make people think, feel, and always smile.
Sports and Outdoor Recreation
Caddo Lake: A natural lake, Caddo Lake’s huge expanse of 26,800 acres spreads over portions of both Texas and Louisiana. It is a superb fishing lake for bass, crappie and sunfish. The state has marked 42 miles of “boat roads” to guide the sportsman through the maze of confusing channels.
Cherokee Trace Drive Thru Safari Park: Nestled in the lush piney woods of East Texas, Cherokee Trace Drive Thru Safari Park is home to hundreds of exotic and endangered animals. These amazing animals thrive in an open habitat similar to their native territory. Enjoy a leisurely, self-guided drive through the hills and open savanna of the 300 acre preserve. From the comfort of your own vehicle, observe, feed and photograph these beautiful creatures.
Lake O’ The Pines: Just north of Longview on Hwy 259, Lake O’ the Pines is a popular recreation, fishing and camping lake. Covering 18,700 acres and 18 miles long, the lake is located on Cypress Creek. The lake offers excellent fishing for Crappie, Bass and Channel Catfish. It is the site each year of the KYKX Big Bass Classic.
Lake Fork: Located on a tributary of the Sabine River, the 27,690 acre lake in nearby Quitman had very little of its timber cleared. The lake is very popular among those fishing for bass, blue and channel catfish, bowfin and white crappie.
Pinecrest Country Club: Located in Longview, Pinecrest Country Club claims to be the oldest golf course in East Texas. Pinecrest features an 18-hole golf course, a practice range, on-staff golf pro, tennis courts, on-staff tennis pro, swimming pool, a 30,000 square foot Club house with banquet facilities, award-winning chefs, and meals served for lunch and dinner. For tennis, the Club offers junior and adult activities. In addition, the Club hosts adult-only tennis tournaments known as “Weekend Mixers,” in which each participant plays with a new partner each round.
Oak Forest Country Club: Located in Longview, Oak Forest Country Club offers golf, tennis, swimming, fitness, and banquet facilities. The Club has very active Men’s and Ladies’ Golf Associations with month sponsored tournaments and junior golf programs. Oak Forest also offers a full Pro Shop, golf lessons, and free driving range. Oak Forest has five tennis courts with activities includes private lessons, group lesson, summer nighttime tennis for the entire school year, doubles league, USTA Ladies League, Jr. Team Tennis, Tournaments and Mixers.
Shopping and Dining
Longview is the regional shopping center for all East Texas. The diversity of shops and goods available in our community draws shoppers from throughout the region. On the north side of town, the Longview Mall with more than 80 merchants and restaurants offers convenience under one roof. Traditional, yet progressive, downtown Longview offers boutiques, art galleries, fine furniture, and professional service businesses.
There is no shortage of restaurants in Longview. Many varieties of cuisine are offered including Asian, Bakeries, Bar & Grills, Barbecue, Bistros, Cafes, Cafeterias, Cajun & Creole, Delis, Family Dining, Italian, Mexican, Tex-Mex, Natural Foods, and more.
Longview has five excellent public school systems and many parochial and private schools. Additionally, seven colleges are within 40 miles of the community. You will find the following public school systems in the Longview area:
Longview Independent School District
Pine Tree Independent School District
Spring Hill Independent School District
Hallsville Independent School District
White Oak Independent School District
The Longview Independent School District
The Longview Independent School District is the largest and most comprehensive school district in the greater Longview area. Having over 8,200 students, the district mirrors the rich diversity of the East Texas community and culture.
A $267 million bond program was approved by the voters in LISD and this will allow the district to build state of the art facilities throughout the district. They will open seven new elementary schools, three new middle schools, as well as completely renovated Longview High School. Construction started in 2008 and will be complete by 2011.
Longview High School houses grades 9-12 in and provides state-of-the-art facilities and offers 148 different courses including many Advanced Placement offerings. National Merit Scholars, an award winning band, and one of the top overall athletic programs in the state all come from Longview High School. Recently LHS was awarded a Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math grant from the Texas Education Agency and the Michael Dell Foundation. In addition, LHS is now offering dual credit courses through Kilgore College, as well as online math courses for students. An International Baccalaureate program is in the process of being implemented and will make LISD one of the only districts in the state to have an IB program offered at every grade level.
LISD offers many special programs including four elementary magnet schools with a planned enrichment program, and a magnet school of global studies for grades 6-8. The Longview ISD has been recognized by SchoolMatch, a full-service education consulting and research firm, and has received the prestigious “What Parents Want in Schools” award from this firm. Only 15% of the schools in the nation have received this award.
LISD’s campuses include eleven primary/elementary campuses, three middle schools and one high school. One of the elementary campuses has an Exemplary accreditation rating from the Texas Education Agency and has been recognized by Texas Monthly magazine as one of the top elementary schools in Texas. Two other elementary schools received Recognized status from the TEA in 2005-2006. As Regional Day School for the Deaf, the district provides educational services to the hearing impaired, ages birth through 22 years.
Parochial schools in our area are religious-based and funded primarily by tuition and personal gifts. These schools include Longview Christian Academy, St. Mary’s School, Trinity School of Texas, East Texas Christian School and Christian Heritage School.
Fourteen institutions of higher learning are located in the Longview area. They have a total enrollment of more than 40,000.
LeTourneau University: LeTourneau University is a nondenominational Christian university founded in 1946 that offers both two and four year degrees in technical and non-technical fields. LeTourneau is world renowned for its program offerings in engineering, aeronautical science, computer science and business. LeTourneau University consistently ranks in the top tier of Master’s Comprehensive Universities among “America’s Best Colleges” by US News and World Report. In the 2009 ranking LETU was one of four Texas schools named in the top tier of best engineering programs in the nation that offer only bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The University of Texas at Tyler: The University of Texas at Tyler was founded in 1971 as Tyler State College and became a part of the UT system in 1979. It is a four-year university offering more than seventy undergraduate and graduate degrees in six different colleges: business, education, engineering, liberal arts, nursing, and sciences. In 2000, the University of Texas at Tyler opened the Longview Center, currently offering several degree programs and courses in liberal arts and sciences.
Stephen F. Austin University: Founded in 1923, Stephen F. Austin State University is a public four-year university with approximately 12,845 students located in Nacogdoches, Texas. SFA offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and 120 areas of study, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees through six colleges: business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, liberal and applied arts, and sciences and mathematics. With an average class size of 27 and a student-faculty ratio of 20:1, SFA offers the personal attention of a private college with the academic breadth of a much larger institution.
East Texas Baptist University: Founded in 1912, East Texas Baptist University is a private Christian liberal arts university located in Marshall, 20 miles east of Longview. It offers bachelor degrees in arts, business, education, nursing, music, religion and sciences. The university was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top Tier 2 western liberal arts colleges in the nation.
Texas State Technical College: The Texas State Technical College System was created in 1965 by the 59th Texas State Legislature as the James Connally Technical Institute. Currently Texas State Technical College System has eight locations and offers more than seventy associates degrees in fields ranging from chemical technology to industrial maintenance mechanics. It is the nation’s #1 college in associate degree graduates in science technologies and the nation’s #1 public college in engineering-related technologies.
More and more families, professionals and businesses are locating to Longview, nestled in the heart of Texas Lake Country. Housing is very appealing in the Longview area, where traditional homes nestle in a country atmosphere, fine older homes grace historical settings, and contemporary in plush surroundings. Longview’s cost of living is below the national average.
Longview reflects a community that has emerged from the forge of economic recession stronger and more vibrant than at any time in its past. Very little of the tremendous growth in business and industry in Longview since 1987 has been within or dependent upon the oil and gas industry. The community’s efforts to diversify the local economy has worked, and now they are paying dividends in the form of the establishment of Longview as not only the industrial, but also the retail, entertainment and service hub of East Texas.
There are almost 40 manufacturing companies among the areas major employers. The largest is Eastman Chemical Company with approximately 2000 employees. Other large manufacturing employers with 400 or more employees are, LeTourneau, Inc. with approximately 1,100; Trinity Industries with approximately 1,100; and Dana Corporation with 500. There are over 10,000 manufacturing employees in the area.
Non-manufacturing major employers include Good Shepherd Health System with approximately 2100 employees. Other non-manufacturing employers with 400 or more are, Longview Independent School District with approximately 1300; The City of Longview with approximately 730; Sitel with approximately 700; Pine Tree Independent School District with approximately 620; Longview Regional Medical Center with approximately 480; Neiman Marcus with approximately 400. TCIM, Diagnostic Clinic, Longview News-Journal, LeTourneau University, and Spring Hill Independent School District each employ between 200-400. Longview Mall and its stores employ approximately 700 in their retail operations.
East Texas Regional Airport: Longview is served by East Texas Regional Airport, which is less than 10 miles from downtown. Commercial air service is provided by American Eagle through the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The facility includes an FAA Control Tower and state-of-the-art landing, lighting, and navigation systems.
Tyler Pounds Regional Airport: Tyler Pounds Regional Airport is conveniently located only 10 minutes from downtown Tyler. The airport is easily accessed without the hassle of big city traffic jams and other unexpected delays. American Eagle and Continental Connection offer competitive airfares to Dallas and Houston, with connections to hundreds of domestic and international destinations.
Nearby City: Marshall, TX
Marshall is a cultural and educational center of East Texas. Founded in 1841, this All-America City and picturesque county seat is the home of East Baptist University and is known for one of the largest holiday festivals of lights in the country.
With its abundance of historic sites, Marshall is the perfect place for those interested in heritage tourism. Experience Old-South plantations, discover the pivotal role Marshall played in the Civil War or explore the regions industrial past by visiting historic sawmills, iron ore-furnaces and turn-of-the-century oil derricks. Ride on the Texas State Railroad. Learn about African American communities, churches and cemeteries. And shop in Marshall historic downtown, one of the oldest downtowns in Texas.
Eight pottery manufacturers are located in Marshall, including Marshall Pottery-Deroma, the world’s largest manufacturer of terra cotta products. Ancient pottery shards and other items retrieved from Caddo Indian burial mounds are among exhibits at the Harrison County Museum, which also maintains extensive genealogical records. While its home, the old county courthouse, undergoes a multi-million dollar restoration, the museum operates in the old Ginocchio Hotel, adjacent to the Depot Museum, a storehouse for Marshall’s railroad history.
From boutiques to bed & breakfasts, historic places to hot jazz, barrel racing to blackjack, horseback rides to hot sauce – you’ll find it all in Marshall. From world-renowned museum collections to avant-garde local creations, Marshall celebrates the visual and performing arts year-round. Enjoy a lively and varied line-up of country and western performers, rhythm and blues singers, and travelling versions of stage performances.
Ginocchio National Historic District: Three square blocks, known as the Ginocchio National Historic District in the heart of old downtown, surround the 1896 Ginocchio Hotel. One feature of the historic district is the nearby Allen house, a typical example of early Texas architecture, circa 1877, with upper and lower verandahs fronting the full length of the white frame house.
Marshall Depot and Museum: Located in the heart of the Ginocchio National Historic District, the prominent Texas and Pacific Depot houses both a train depot and museum. The exhibit area is filled with railroad memorabilia, as well as artifacts from the city. It is a place to learn the history of the Texas and Pacific Railroad. A model train makes its way around half-a-dozen Marshall landmarks built to scale by Wesley Jones, a local resident.
Harrison County Historical Museum: Exhibits at the Harrison County Historical Museum depict history of Marshall and Harrison County, including Caddo Indian artifacts, pioneer and Civil War displays, George Foreman and Bill Moyers exhibits, Lady Bird Johnson display, and Y.A. Tittle exhibit.
Marshall Pottery & Museum: Established in 1896, Marshall Pottery is one of the largest manufacturers of glazed pottery in the United States. The museum features history of the facility for the past 100 years, and it shows pottery as an art form in video presentation that takes visitors through the entire process from digging clay to the finished piece. Other exhibits include antique pottery wheel and photographs from the pottery’s beginning.
Michelson Art Museum: The Michelson Art Museum features the work of the late Russian American post impressionist, Leo Michelson. The museum also displays the Gloria and Bernard Kronenberg Collection of early 20th-century artists such as Abraham Walkowitz, David Burliuk and Milton Avery; and the Ramona and Jay Ward Collection of rare African Masks.
Wonderland of Lights: Visit the festival that started it all in Texas. Marshall’s holiday extravaganza called the Wonderland of Lights. The annual festival, boasting over one million lights and hundreds of light displays, annually kicks off the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving and runs through December 31st. Enjoy live entertainment on the historic downtown square, Battle of the Choirs, a Cowboy Breakfast, Church of the Bells, carriage rides, guided bus tours to neighborhoods with elaborate decorations and lighted scenes, the famous “lighted” Christmas Parade and the only outdoor ice skating rink in the region.
Marshall Symphony: The Marshall Symphony has entertained East Texas audiences for more than half-a-century. Conductor Leonard Kacenjar directs the orchestra in classical and pops performances at Marshall Civic Center and Rogers Spiritual Life Center on the East Texas Baptist University campus.