The Area Today
Today Henderson presents a picture of a stable but growing town, with a population in excess of 13,000. The county population is currently estimated at 45,000. The economy is based on oil, gas and lignite, agriculture and forestry, light industry and correctional institutions. Rusk County Ranks among the top five in the State in the production of oil, with 1,730,171,100 barrels of oil produced from 1930 through 1986. Lignite coal from deposits in Rusk and Panola Counties is now being used to fire an electric generating plant located in Rusk County. Other uses for the lignite are developing, and all of this is creating tremendous economic growth for the area. The County's agriculture income in 1990 was approximately $28 million. The sandy-loam upland pastures yield high-protein hay for the many fine cattle and horses raised here. Timber is a productive crop and in row-cropping, the watermelon has been a leader. Total retail sales in Rusk County for 1995 were $188,514,000.
Among the many products made by Henderson's principal industries are: face brick, metal office furniture, commercial refrigeration equipment, courtroom and church wooden furniture including pews and podiums, fiberglass products including baptisteries, steeples, spas and jetted tubs, paint, epoxy coatings, lacquers, thinners and waterproofing compounds, steel semi-trailers, packaging crates, storage tanks and vessels, industrial seating and pine lumber. The clays utilized in the manufacture of the brick are the best materials available in the State of Texas. Henderson is the home of the world's largest privately owned and operated state jail facility with just under 2000 beds.
The network of fine highways radiating from Henderson make it one of the most important highway centers in the East Texas region. Nine US and State highways converge at Henderson, in addition, there are seven secondary FM roads radiating from the City. Henderson is served by the Union Pacific Railroad. The Rusk County Airport is located in Henderson, and commercial air service is available at the Gregg County Airport, only 18 miles north of the City.
Gazebo at Lake Forest ParkRecreational facilities include Lake Forest Park, consisting of a 20 acre lake and 35 acre park area, Yates Park with 15 acres. The Parks are equipped with splash pads, softball fields, tennis courts, disc golf and picnic facilities. The Henderson Country Club's recreational facilities include a clubhouse, one of the finest golf courses in East Texas. There is also one public golf course. The Public Schools offer a good school athletic program. The Rusk County Sports & Recreation Association has an active program, and in the summer there is Pony League, Little League and Girl's Softball. The newest lake in the county is in the Martin Lake State Park. Other lakes in the immediate area include Cherokee, Striker, and Murval. Henderson also boasts of a sports and recreation complex, which has played host to the Dixie League State Tournament, the Rusk County Youth Exposition Center and the multi-purpose Henderson Community Center.