Longview is a small city in eastern Texas about 130 miles east of Dallas. Marshall is a small but culturally and historically rich former boom town an additional 35 miles east. Originally a transportation center for nearby agriculture and timber industries, the Longview-Marshall area prospered from the oil booms of the 1920’s and 1930’s, and Longview has a sizable, downtown, historic area (“One Hundred Acres of History”).
Today’s Longview still has a manufacturing and basic industry economy but also supports a large region of East Texas with retail, health care and other services. The largest employers are Eastman Chemical and the Good Shepard Health System, and there is an assortment of smaller manufacturers in recreational vehicles, heavy equipment, railroad cars and fabricated parts. Contrary to the popular Texas stereotype of endless dry Western prairie, Longview and East Texas in general are known as the “piney woods” part of the state, and large trees and forests dominate the landscape where they weren’t cleared for cotton growing and other agricultural interests.
The most notable of the area’s many lakes is Lake of the Pines to the north. While Shreveport to the east provides some amenities including air service, the area is fairly isolated and offers little to do. The low Cost of living is one of the area’s biggest attractions.
The city sits on level to gently rolling land with pine forests and intermittent agriculture. The climate is mainly continental with a strong subtropical influence from the Gulf. Summer months are hot and fairly humid. Winters are mild with a few short periods of cold temperatures. Rainfall occurs as steady winter rains or as spring and summer thundershowers. Storms may be strong, particularly in the spring.