3.3 out of 10


32.5341288610324 -94.34509548889
Great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Internet Access
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Childcare
  • Lack of Traffic
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Public Transport
  • Shopping Options
  • Clean & Green
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees


2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5

"Wasted potential."

There are parts of the town which could be wonderful. There are occasional efforts which are great! Unfortunately, the town can be made to appear better than it is. There are beautiful older homes and the square has several fantastic restaurants including one which caused me to wonder how it ended up in Marshall. The old courthouse and the train depot are fantastic, with dedicated locals - but varying levels of allowing an "outsider" who is anyone having moved in within the last ten years to participate. The "Wonderland of Lights" and the other festivals are unfortunately segregated in the same manner - not by race or gender, but by age and how long you have been a "member of the community." The school system is plagued by a variety of internal politics, with one result being the massive high school band I once marched in shrinking to a tiny, badly tuned ensemble with little community support. The "mall" is actually a large insurance company call center. The Wal-Mart Supercenter is not much different from any of the others in the area, but is the main source for shopping in the town. There are a few other options for specialized items which are passable, including hardware and farm equipment, but for other items you are exceedingly limited. For example, there is a music store, at which you can obtain drums, guitars, basses, and occasionally a few other instruments, but it is very limited and half the store is sort of an arts & crafts/vintage salvage store instead, a combination of earrings and Pac-Man machines which is certainly interesting but not helpful when you are seeking rosin for a school-age child's violin.

There is one local radio station. It is definitely country music. On the plus side, there are a variety of local programs such as a "Swap Shop" as well as the usual Sunday church broadcasts. The oldies station which used to also be local has been merged with a Spanish-language station conglomerate. The local NPR station is based in Shreveport, LA and is a nice station but not really local.

If you are not a mainstream Christian, I would not recommend this town. While there are a variety of churches ranging from Catholic to free-will Baptist, as well as a community endeavor called "Prayer Force," the nearest Unitarian church is in Longview (40 minutes away) and frankly, while it tolerates non-Christians, people there are still somewhat wary of both agnostics and polytheists. Not that you will feel threatened, it is just that you will be excluded from many of the community events by not being able to belong to a faith community in the area.

My particular neighborhood has had a variety of problems; for example, there are railroad tracks which run straight to the depot. There are historic buildings here, such as the old Coca-Cola factory, the Ginocchio home, and most of the houses were built between 1890 and 1930. The road is full of potholes and sidewalks have been blocked or demolished by installation of electric, telephone, and the other modern conveniences. Attempts to contact city planning regarding any city property are highly unsuccessful, although a building permit apparently consists only of a nominal fee and an increase in property taxes. Some of the older buildings have been converted into duplexes and multiplexes, often without any designated parking area resulting in traffic problems as well as broken curbs due to people pulling up into the front yards.

You can visit the official city website at http://www.marshallpubliclibrary.org/Departments/index.html and one thing I now find humorous is that while I attended high school here, Marshall billed itself as a city, while now they are calling themselves a small town. This is a town that could be a nice place to live if the existing community was more willing to "take off the blinders" and welcome new members; unfortunately, it is wasted potential as long as potential is all that remains.

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