Van Zandt County Historical Commission

Discover Our History

The Van Zandt County Historical Commission is a group of volunteers, appointed by the county Commissioners Court, to promote the history of the county and to help preserve historical sites.

Read and discover the history of our county and help us celebrate the past.  Click on the toolbar at the top of the page to find featured preservation projects around the county, the histories of our towns and their historical/community preservation contacts, interesting old stories about Van Zandt County characters, and more.

For useful links to other websites, check out the Our Towns page.

A great Facebook page with VZ County history and stories: Van Zandt County, Texas History:


Saturday, Nov. 6, 10:30 a.m.
Come See History in Action!
Unveiling of Rebuilt 1850s Courthouse and Poor Farm Jail
at the Heritage Park Museum of East Texas, Edgewood

Step back in time: The year is 1850.  Van Zandt County is only 2 years old.  Early settlers are trying to carve a civilization out of wilderness.  County Commissioners order a courthouse built--but not anything fancy! 

The first Van Zandt Courthouse was a log cabin, only 18 feet square.  But it was what the young community could afford, and it was sorely needed.  

Now, the 1850 Courthouse, which was lost to history, has been reconstructed by the folks at the Heritage Park of East Texas.  (See photo of building, upper right.) It now has an honored place at the Heritage Park in Edgewood, and will be officially dedicated in a ceremony on Saturday, November 6, 2021, at 10:30 a.m.

As an added bonus, at the same ceremony Nov. 6th, the park will officially unveil the rebuilt Poor Farm Calaboose (jail), that stood for years at the old Van Zandt County Poor Farm.  The building was moved to the Heritage Park several years ago and was painstakingly rebuilt to its original condition. (See photo of restored calaboose building, at right.)

These two buildings are a key part of our history, a reminder of life in the county in the 19th century.  And we will all be able to see them, tour them, and learn from them.


Come join Heritage Park representatives, local officials, Historical Commission members and other members of the Van Zandt County community in this celebration of historic preservation.

Courthouse and Poorfarm Calaboose Dedication

Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021 at 10:30 a.m.

Heritage Park Museum of East Texas

103 E. Elm Street, Edgewood, Texas

Reconstructed 1850 Courthouse of Van Zandt County

Court house red brick Van_Zandt_County_T
poor farm calaboose.jpeg

Restored Poor Farm calaboose (jail) of Van Zandt County

A later Van Zandt County courthouse, much more elaborate, built in the 1890s.

Who We Are

Our mission at Van Zandt County Historical Commission is to collect historical information, formulate programs to mark historic sites, landmarks, buildings and Civil War graves and to preserve records of historic significance.  We promote public awareness of local history.

Do You Have Old Photos?

Grand Saline firemen.jpg

The Van Zandt County Historical Commission has a large collection of historical photos and drawings of County people and places.  If you have old photos or artwork of historic Van Zandt County (or Texas) that need a home, please contact us!  We are happy to accept copies that we can preserve; no need to give us originals unless you wish to.

Grand Saline, Texas, firemen. 1930s?

Get in Touch

Van Zandt County Historical Commission
P.O. Box 251
Canton, Texas  75103

Your details were sent successfully!