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A highlight of each spring season in East Texas is the 10-mile long Tyler Azalea Trail guiding visitors through neighborhoods of quaint brick streets, historic homes, and residential gardens filled with blooming azaleas, dogwoods and tulips.
The first Azaleas were planted in Tyler in 1929 by Maurice Shamburger, in the Lindsey Lane area. Other neighbors soon followed, and the area became well known for its springtime beauty.
Over the years the word spread across East Texas and beyond about Tyler azaleas. In 1960, the first marked tour routes were established to help guide tourists.
Today, over 100,000 people from all over the USA visit Tyler each spring to attend the Azalea Trail. Two marked routes exist today: the Lindsey Trail and the Dobbs Trail (see area map below).
The 57th annual Azalea & Spring Flower Trail will be held from March 25 to April 10, 2016. This is a week later than in previous years.
The official ribbon cutting, and opening ceremony, is typically held at the home of Guy and Joan Pyron, 212 W. Dobbs Street. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
The trails also display a high concentration of white and pink Dogwoods, Redbud trees, Japanese Maples, and spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils.
Azalea National Historic District
Featured along the trails is the Azalea National Historic District, established in 2003, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It comprises about 950 homes built in the first half of the 20th century, with a large concentration of structures from the 1930s when the oil boom had a huge economic impact on Tyler.
While driving the trail is stunning, many visitors enjoy walking the area, especially the three adjacent homes between Lindsey and Dobbs: the Davis gardens at 902 S. College,
the Pyron gardens at 212 W. Dobbs, and McGuire gardens at
922 S. College. These homes are part of Tyler's Heritage Neighborhood No. 1, marked by a plaque on S. College.
The two trails officially begin at the Tyler Convention & Visitors Bureau, at 315 N. Broadway, and travel south. A good starting point is the corner of Houston Street and South Broadway Avenue.
|Tyler Heritage Neighborhood No. 1 Plaque
Markers designate the routes that meander through the area streets for motorists. Actually, you can begin anywhere along the routes and not be disappointed.
Parking is generously provided by the First Presbyterian Church, near the corner of Dobbs and South Broadway.
For a map of the trails, visit the website of the Tyler Convention & Visitors Bureau or their offices.
The Trail is nationally recognized, and has been the subject of articles in publications such as Southern Living and Texas Highways.
|Tyler Azalea Belles for 2014 at the ribbon cutting ceremony, March 21, 2014
(TylerTexasOnline staff photo)
The official greeters of the Azalea Trail are known as the Azalea Belles, young women from the Tyler area who dress in antebellum gowns. The belles are chosen each year from area high schools or home school families.
Freshman and sophomore girls residing in Smith County are eligible to apply.
It's an honor to be chosen as one of the Azalea Belles, a tradition that dates back many years.
The young women have an opportunity to promote Tyler, greet tourists and pose for photographs in front of scenic azalea bushes in the historic brick street district.
Many other events are planned in association with the tours such as:
Rose City Artisans & Flower Market -
on the grounds of
the historic Goodman-LeGrand home, 624 N. Broadway Avenue. Open-air market with live entertainment, home-baked foods, handmade items, bedding plants, flowers and garden décor for sale.
The beautiful backyard gardens of Guy and Joan Pyron, 212 W. Dobbs
- Azalea Trail Arts & Crafts Fair -
Bergfeld Park, April 9-10, 2016
- Tyler Rose Garden -
Open daily during the Azalea Trails. Free admission.
- Historic Tyler on Tour Candlelight Tour and Party
- Day Tours of Historic Homes - Visit elegant neighborhoods and tour private residences in the historic Azalea District
- 1859 Goodman-LeGrand House & Museum - tours during the Azalea Trail, 624 N. Broadway Avenue
- Bonner-Whitaker-McClendon House Tours by Candlelight
- 35th Annual Azalea Quilt Show - March 18-19, 2016, Harvey Convention Center. “Color Your World with Quilts” celebrates America’s quilting heritage and the impact of color. Features over 250 quilts on display plus many vendors, numerous demonstrations, an old-fashioned bed-turning, door prizes, scissor sharpening, silent auction, and a raffle quilt
- The Tyler Azalea 10K and 5K run - Saturday, April 2, Bergfeld Park, 1510 S. College
- and more!
Tyler is also the Rose Capital of America, the location of the Tyler Rose Garden, the nation's largest municipal rose garden, and the site of the Annual Texas Rose Festival held each October.
|The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden and Rose Museum
At TylerTexasOnline, we love gardening, and landscaping, and East Texas is a great place for that pastime, especially during spring!
Among our favorite azaleas to grow, whether they are pink, salmon, red or white, have been Pride of Mobile, Formosa, George Tabor, Mrs. G.G. Gerbing, Christmas Cheer, Coral Bells and many others both in Tyler and in Louisiana.
For more flower photographs, be sure to view the Helen Lee Daffodil Garden photo gallery showcasing millions of beautiful daffodils blooming near Gladewater.
We also have a gallery of East Texas Flowers, and another gallery of East Texas Birds for backyard nature lovers to explore.
Are you a hummingbird lover like us? Check out the photos and hummingbird videos in our Hummingbird Central website. And be sure to visit our new butterfly website at www.ButterfliesAtHome.com
In addition to the Azalea Trail photo gallery shown below, we've also included various azalea varieties that we have grown over the years. All photographs were taken by the author.
"You are Welcome to Walk Through our Back Yard" ... sign on the Tyler Texas Azalea & Spring Flower Trails
Along Dobbs Street during the Tyler Texas Azalea & Spring Flower Trails
Quaint cottage along the Tyler Texas Azalea & Spring Flower Trails
Tulips in full bloom in Tyler Texas along the Azalea & Spring Flower Trails
Lady Bankshire Roses blooming on the Tyler TX Azalea Trail
Yellow Azaleas, Tyler Texas
Purple Creeping Phlox seen on the Tyler Azalea Trail
Pink azaleas in full bloom in Tyler Texas
Dogwoods in Spring in Tyler Texas
The Children's Park, Tyler, Texas, on the Azalea Trail
The Woman's Building, 911 South Broadway Avenue, Tyler, on the Azalea Trail
between Dobbs Street and Lindsey Lane
3-story, Federal style structure built in 1932. On the National Register of Historic Places
The Fitzgerald Home, 815 South Broadway Avenue, Tyler, Texas, on the Azalea Trail
Built in 1898, now restored ... includes the offices of Historic Tyler, Inc.
On the National Register of Historic Places.