In 1870, the Southern Pacific Railroad decided to extend its railroad through Gregg County, from Marshall, Texas. As a result, the company purchased land in Gregg County and also decided to build a town along the railroad. That town is what we know today as the city of Longview, Texas. During the 1930’s, giant oil reserves were discovered in east Texas and Longview benefited greatly from this discovery. In fact, the city gained worldwide fame for being the home base of the world’s largest oil pipeline nicknamed the “Big Inch”. The Big Inch delivered oil from Texas all the way to refineries along the east coast. It was instrumental with supplying the United States war machine with oil during World War II.
Longview is now home to nearly 80,000, serves as the county seat for Gregg County, and was the county’s first officially incorporated city. It is the centerpiece of the Longview Metropolitan Statistical Area that covers three counties in east Texas. Local attractions include such as things as the annual, week-long Great Texas Balloon Race. This event is so closely tied to the city of Longview, that in 2013, the 83rd Texas Legislature designated Gregg County as the “The Balloon Race Capital of Texas.” For those more interested in learning about the history of Longview, the city offers the One Hundred Acres of Heritage Tour. This self-guided tour takes history buffs to various historic sites and homes throughout downtown Longview.