East Texas: The History and Success of Marshall Pottery

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The East Texas area in the United States is full of wonderful history and southern charm. The weather and scenery are beautiful several months out of the year, and it provides that cliche atmosphere you would expect from a southern state.

The population consists of about 24,000 people which helps constitute the small town feel while still having bigger city opportunities. The people of Texas love and live by the "Don't Mess with Texas" motto.

The town is perfectly located along the historic Highway 59 and Highway 80, running north and south to Houston, and Interstate 20, going east and west to Dallas. It comes within 25 miles of meeting the Louisiana state border.

Some of the must see sites and industries in the area include:

  • Oil and Gas Exploration, plays a major role in the economic development
  • "Wonderland of Lights", one of the largest festival of lights in the country during Christmas time
  • East Texas Baptist University (ETBU)
  • Wiley College, hosts many foreign students from all over the world
  • Ginocchio Hotel, where Maurice Barrymore (of the Barrymore acting family) was shot in 1878 by an intoxicated train engineer
  • Texas & Pacific Railroad Depot
  • Marshall Pottery

As you can see from the map below, Marshall is the intersecting point for all the surrounding roads and towns.

History and Success

Without a doubt, the biggest contributor to this small town's popularity is the Marshall Pottery store. It was established in the 1905 by Sam Ellis and his family, who pressed on through a fire in 1912 and the invention of glassware in 1920 which both nearly ended the business.

it was the discovery of a lower fire clay in the 1940's that really put this store on the map. The first two main lines of pottery, including clay flower pots are still in production today.

In 1974 a retail store was added to the Marshall Pottery family. This massive 100,000 square foot facility makes it one of the main tourist destinations in East Texas, with visitors and customers alike still buying clay pots and custom products on a regular basis.

Here is a quote from the website:

"Marshall Pottery specializes in hand turned pottery straight from the potter’s wheel. Skilled artisans have turned the clay of East Texas for over one hundred years making beautiful, functional stoneware pottery. Each piece is truly a piece of art."

It will take you several hours to really see everything from the contemporary, to traditional, to custom pottery that's available for any home or garden decor.

The store has been recognized by the Texas Historical Commission, and is the largest manufacturer of red clay pots in the entire United States.

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Educational Experience

Children and teachers are frequently seen inside Marshall Pottery, since they offer field trips to students within the county school district. You will learn about the complete history of the store and the many changes and improvements it's had over time.

The few times I've had a field trip there, we all went into the viewing area, where many employees (called artists) would craft individual pieces by hand!

Watching someone create such a beautiful pot or bowl from a lump of wet clay, placed on a potter's wheel, then baked on high heat for hours, to come out as a completed product. It is the most amazing experience to see, especially as a young child.

This store is an absolute gem, and if you are ever in East Texas, it's a must visit place.

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6 comments

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I love visiting potteries, and if I'm ever in Texas I'll make sure that I visit the Marshall Pottery. It's so much fun to watch a pot being made. I've never tried it myself, but this is one of my ambitions. Thank you for the information.


applecsmith profile image

applecsmith 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Watching and doing pottery can be very relaxing. Thanks for the comment.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

Great hub, if I'm ever in or near the area I'll definitely check it out. To see artists at work is actually really a great thing, as it can inspire the budding artist to actually do something. Voted up and interesting.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Will have to check out the pottery if I ever travel to Marshall, Texas. Thanks for this interesting hub including bits of information regarding other sites and some history like... "•Ginocchio Hotel, where Maurice Barrymore (of the Barrymore acting family) was shot in 1878 by an intoxicated train engineer"...That is quite a claim to fame! Ha!


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

I believe my mother-in-law travels near the Marshall area since she drives from Dallas to Houston quite often. I will have to tell her about Marshall Pottery.


rust profile image

rust 4 years ago from East Texas Woods

Will have to visit this place and see what they have. Nice hub.

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