From left to right: 1950 Texas Rose Festival Queen Laura Jill King, 1950s girl in rose field, 1955 Texas Rose Festival Queen Maymerle Shirley, 1972 duchess in peacock dress
The year was 1933. Most of the country was in the grips of the Great Depression, but even then, Tyler was different. Thanks to the Oil Boom, the local economy was growing and thriving, and civic leaders had reason to celebrate. A group of women in the Tyler Garden Club created a plan to focus attention on the importance of the rose industry to the Tyler area, while also showcasing the town's elegance and beauty. Enlisting the help of local rose growers, the Chamber of Commerce and others, they organized the first Tyler Rose Festival. Thousands came and spread the word about the lovely East Texas city where "everything was coming up roses."
As the years passed, the festival became part of Texas legend. For a state previously known for its cattle, cotton and oil, the inspiring beauty of its roses was a welcome change. Dignitaries including governors, presidential candidates, First Ladies and others who visited brought national attention to Tyler. And the name soon changed from the Tyler Rose Festival to the Texas Rose Festival.
Members of the Tyler Garden Club are credited with first promoting the Festival idea in 1933. They enlisted the cooperation of the local rose growers, the Chamber of Commerce and civic leaders to organize the first Tyler Rose Festival. Thousands flocked to the Festival and spread the word about this lovely East Texas community that was literally blanketed with blooms.
In fact, the first Tyler Rose Festival was planned to be a showcase for the successful rose industry. A popular feature of the first Festival was a tour of local rose fields prior to harvest.
The oil boom of the 1930s spared Tyler most of the effects of the Depression. As a result, this infusion of local wealth gave the early Rose Festivals an elegance rarely seen in other metropolitan areas.
The Texas Rose Festival has persevered and evolved into an annual event that attracts thousands of visitors from across the nation and impacts the local economy with millions in tourist revenue.

Texas Rose Festival Queens from Left to right: 1979  Queen Claire Martin Ramey . 1988 Queen Lora Elizabeth Clyde, 2001 Queen Martha Claire Woldert, 2008 Queen Sarah Clyde