Waskom was established in 1850 as a midway point of an east-west (Dallas, TX to Shreveport, LA) cattle and cotton economic travelway to the Red River in Louisiana, some 20 miles (32 km) east. The original post was called Powellton, named for Jonathan S. Powell, a local land owner. In 1872, the town’s name changed to Waskom and it became a main railroad station between Dallas and Shreveport (West to East) and Texarkana to the North. J.M. Waskom led the way in bringing the railroad to East Texas as a Director of the Southern Pacific Railroad. A major railway still travels through Waskom today. Waskom sits on I-20 that connects the Carolinas to southwest Texas and Mexico.