Drive east out of Dallas and in just over an hour you’ll begin to leave the Blackland Prairie and enter the Eastern Timber Belt, a great pine forest which stretches to the Atlantic Ocean. Tyler sits on the western edge of this forest, halfway between Dallas and Shreveport. With some of the flavor of the antebellum south, and much of the hustle-bustle of a modern Texas city (albeit a small one), Tyler is a lovely example of what brings people to East Texas. The Rose Festival is a reminder of the former, and the bustle, particularly along the Broadway South corridor, is a prime example of the latter.
While West Texas has been memorialized in motion pictures like “Giant” and “Hud”, East Texas has never enjoyed that kind of fame. In 2005, when HGTV featured a Dream Home on Lake Tyler, suddenly people from all the the country began to call, asking if there were really trees, hills and water in Texas. One of the the state’s best-kept secrets for many years, Tyler is now being discovered by Texans and “foreigners” alike.
Tyler has a population of over 100,000, and serves as Smith County’s county seat, which boasts over 200,000 people. North Tyler encompasses an area toward Lindale and includes Tyler State Park. The University of Texas at Tyler is east, as is Chapel Hill. West Tyler South Tyler extends halfway to Bullard and wraps around suburbs Flint and Gresham, both of which are within the Tyler school district.