Sulphur Springs, the county seat of Hopkins County, is at the junction of Interstate 30 and State highways 11, 19, and 154, in the central portion of the county. The town was originally known as Bright Star when stores and a hotel were first built at the site, which had become a popular camping place for teamsters hauling commodities west from Jefferson. A Methodist church was organized in 1852 and a Baptist in 1859. A post office named Bright Star was established in 1854, and the Odd Fellows' Lodge continued to bear that name until 1949. Bright Star was incorporated possibly as early as 1852. Dr. O. S. Davis deeded the public square to the county when the town was rechartered and became the county seat in 1870. The name was changed to Sulphur Springs in 1871, when the mineral springs in the area were being advertised to make the town a health resort. By 1885 Sulphur Springs had Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and two African-American churches, a high school, several private schools, a flour mill, planing and saw mills, furniture factories, foundries and machine shops, wagon factories, tanneries, three hotels, an opera house, two banks, two weekly newspapers (the Sulphur Springs Gazette and the Hopkins County Echo), and a reported population of 2,500. Central College, a Methodist institution, was organized in 1881 and became Eastman College in 1895. A courthouse was built on the east side of the public square in 1882 after Tarrant lost the position of county seat. After the building burned in 1894, a new granite and limestone courthouse in the Romanesque Revival style, designed by James Riely Gordon, was built. Sulphur Springs continued to prosper during the early years of the twentieth century, and by 1914 the number of inhabitants topped 5,000. The town adopted a home-rule charter in 1917 and a commission-manager government in 1947. The population remained steady until after World War II and subsequently grew steadily. In 1970 the city reported 10,642 inhabitants and 298 businesses; the 1990 population was 14,062. In 2000 the population was 14,551. Industries included manufacture of a variety of products, including men's work clothing, women's dresses, mattresses, dairy equipment, transmission parts, ready-mix concrete, sheet-metal products, movable shutters, high-pressure valves, and petrochemical products. Among the local tourist attractions are Cooper Lake State Park, the Hopkins County Museum and Heritage Park, which contains a number of historic houses, and the Music Box Gallery, a collection of more than 150 music boxes.
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