Pittsburg, Texas

Pittsburg, Texas

Jefferson Street, dowtown in the City of Pittsburg, Texas. Photgraph by Michael Barera.
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Map of Camp County

Pittsburg, the county seat of Camp County, is at the junctions of U.S. Highway 271 and State Highway 11 and of the Louisiana and Arkansas and the St. Louis Southwestern railways, sixty miles southwest of Texarkana in the central portion of the county. It is the largest and the oldest town in the county. There are six major lakes within eighteen miles of Pittsburg that are reputed to be among the best bass-fishing lakes in Texas. Caddo and Cherokee Indians resided in the area during the early 1800s, but they had for the most part abandoned the area before settlers began arriving from Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama in the late 1830s. A community began to emerge in the 1850s, and when the post office was established in 1855 it was named Pittsburgh, in honor of the family of William Harrison Pitts, said to have arrived from Warren County, Georgia, the year before. The Pittsburg Gazette was founded in 1884 and has been in continuous operation since that time. In 1893 the spelling of the post office name was changed to Pittsburg. As the part of Upshur County near Big Cypress Creek became more heavily populated, Pittsburg grew in size and importance. The roads between there and Gilmer, the county seat and major market center of Upshur County, were of poor quality, and Big Cypress Creek was often difficult to cross during rainy seasons. Thus by 1860 Pittsburg became the major market center for the future Camp County. The town had doctors, lawyers, a watchmaker, a brick mason, two shoemakers, two blacksmiths, and several merchants, carpenters, and wagonmakers, as well as a Methodist church. By 1870 Pittsburg served as the post office for 2,400 people.

When Camp County was organized in 1874, Pittsburg was one of three towns proposed for the county seat. As the largest and most centrally located settlement, it defeated Leesburg and Center Point, receiving 500 of the 797 votes cast. The new courthouse, which was constructed on land donated by William H. Pitts, was built with bricks that had been manufactured in Pittsburg. During the late 1870s the East Line and Red River Railroad was constructed across the county from east to west, and the Texas and St. Louis Railway was constructed across the county from north to south. The two railroads came through Pittsburg, increasing both its importance as a trade center and the size of the area it served. By 1890 Pittsburg had a population of 1,203. On August 21, 1891, an election resulted in favor of incorporation, 110 to 74, and E. A. King was elected the first mayor. An 1896 description of Pittsburg concluded that the city was an "exceptionally desirable location for factories" because of its rail connections and the quantity of timber available. From the early years Pittsburg had sawmills, wagonmakers, and builders. By 1896 the town also had a foundry, a tannery, an ice factory, and a bottling works. Still, the town remained primarily a supply and shipping point for farmers well into the twentieth century. As late as 1940 there were only 242 individuals involved in manufacturing all of Camp County.

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Steven R. Davis | © TSHA

Handbook of Texas Logo

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Pittsburg is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Pittsburg is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [-h]


Latitude: 32.99809200
Longitude: -94.96685600

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Population Count, 2021 View more »