Located within the rolling hills between Dallas and Houston is the charming town of Corsicana, with evidence of its history on the corners of its historic downtown’s brick streets and storefronts. Here, life moves decidedly slower.
Local shopkeepers spill one-of-a-kind finds onto the sidewalks, and eateries add seasonal outdoor seating. Old history and new are depicted in outdoor murals and pocket parks. Kids hop onto soda fountain stools at the diner. Friends gather downtown on second Saturdays for complimentary mimosas from local businesses. Anglers dot the shores along three nearby lakes. All the while, you’ll be greeted by the friendly people who call Corsicana home. And as the saying goes, if they aren’t from here originally, they got here as fast as they could.
Ideal for a close-to-home weekend getaway, family reunion, sports tournament, or live entertainment in spectacular settings, this north-central Texas town is a prime destination for all ages and interests.
Although Corsicana has an abundance of small-town charm, its rich history is marked by icons synonymous with the Lone Star State. Cotton, railroads, oil, chili, football, politicians and visionary entrepreneurs are woven into its heritage. It was here that the first discovery of oil west of the Mississippi River happened, kickstarting the Texas petroleum industry and forever reshaping the state. To see where it all happened, visit Petroleum Park, where you’ll see an oil derrick and a plaque that details the history of the site. Then, explore historic log structures that will give you a glimpse of life on the Texas frontier at Pioneer Village, which is also home to a museum dedicated to country icon and Corsicana native Lefty Frizzell.
History is present throughout Corsicana in a magnificent display of bronze statues. The statue at the corner of Beaton Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, and Sixth Avenue was the first in a series of privately-funded bronzes to be placed in the area, depicting a hardworking oilfield worker making his way home after a long day. This statue celebrates the discovery of oil in 1894, making Corsicana the birthplace of Texas oil and later the home of the first Magnolia Oil refinery, which later became part of ExxonMobil. Each statue also has a QR code for quick access to its recorded story, making it easy to hear the history of each statue.
Museums here span generations and genres. Stop by the Pearce Museum to admire the significant collection of letters, photographs, and artifacts from the Civil War, as well as a Western art gallery with a permanent collection comprising some 250 paintings, sculptures, and other works.
The lines between the past and present are often blurred in Corsicana, with its gorgeous downtown the best example of this. Stroll down the wide, tree-shaded sidewalks and you’ll pass antique shops, florists, hair salons, and art galleries, as well as unique restaurants, coffeeshops and places for libations. There are no chain stores, but there is ample opportunity to follow the enticing aromas of baked bread to the original Collin Street Bakery to try their world-renowned fruitcake. The downtown area is one of three National Register of Historic Places in Corsicana, with the other two (the Carriage District and Mills Place) being neighborhoods full of beautifully-restored homes.
If entertainment is on your list, Corsicana has plenty to offer. Explore the universe at the Cook Center Planetarium, the second-largest planetarium in Texas, located on the campus of Navarro College. Then see a top-class play, musical, or drama at the two performing arts venues in Corsicana – the historic Palace Theatre or the Warehouse Living Arts Center. For dinner and a show, or to get in some line dancing, check the schedule at the Corsicana Opry.
Corsicana has plenty for fans of art, architecture, and history, but it’s also a great place to get outdoors. Three scenic lakes that afford some of the best fishing in Texas are just a stone’s throw away. This includes the Richland Chambers Reservoir, the third-largest lake in the state, known for its excellent catfish, crappie, and white and hybrid striped bass fishing as well as its 330 miles of shoreline. The city’s public golf course, The Oaks – a nine-hole, par-36 public course set among rolling hills and mature trees – was established in 1935 and is one of the oldest public nine-hole courses in the state. Corsicana’s parks are some of Texas’ most beautiful and include old-fashioned swimming pools and splash parks, historic displays, walking trials and lake fishing. A spectacular picnic day ending with fireworks takes place annually on July 4 at I.O.O.F Park, and the city’s downtown is festively decorated with displays and thousands of lights throughout the holiday season. Just before Thanksgiving each year, a three-story Christmas tree is positioned right in the middle of Beaton Street and serves as the backdrop for many holiday family photos.
Corsicana’s easy-to-get-to location makes this an ideal getaway – just an hour from Dallas and Waco, and about two hours from Houston.
Corsicana, TX 75110