The City of Clarksville (population 4,000) is one of the oldest communities in Texas, having been incorporated in 1838 during the days of the Texas Republic. Benjamin Clark, father of James Clark, the founder of Clarksville, fought in the Revolutionary War.
The original log cabin built by Isaac Smathers on the banks of the creek in 1833 is preserved today as part of a more elaborate home built here by the "Father of Texas Journalism," Charles DeMorse. Sam Houston, Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie first entered Texas through Clarksville.
The Red River County Courthouse in Clarksville, built in 1884, was restored during 2000-2004. Since the courthouse restoration began, Clarksville has become a Main Street City, two new restaurants have opened, three other historic buildings have been restored and civic pride has grown.
There has also been increased attendance at annual events in Clarksville. Clarksville has an authentic 1880s town square built around a plaza in the Spanish style. It has received transportation enhancement funding to restore original brick roadways and streetscape improvements.
A local group of senior citizens, calling themselves PRIDE, helps monitor and improve the historic downtown. The city is working with PRIDE to create a Creek Walk, a six-block scenic trail linking heritage sites and adaptively reusing an historic iron bridge.
The community is also renovating the historic jail to become a county historical museum, and a drugstore museum displays materials and records dating back to 1879.
The Red River County Historical Society has established a Tourism Committee and provides maps and way-finding signage for tourists. It also developed a plan to assist in the economic recovery and development of the area through preserving and restoring 30 local historic properties, some of which are now vacant.
The city council has given this plan its unanimous support and has enacted a local hotel occupancy tax, using 100 percent of the proceeds to promote and support tourism.
Designated a Preserve America Community in August 2004.