2000 Census - 24,487
Corsicana Texas History:
Corsicana was founded in 1848 to serve as county seat for the newly formed Navarro County. Texas Revolution hero Jose Antonio Navarro, namesake of Navarro County, named the town after the island of Corsica, the birthplace of his parents. Early settler David R. Mitchell donated 100 acres for the townsite. Mitchell and Thomas I. Smith platted the town and sold lots. In 1848, temporary county seat offices were set up in Hampton McKinney’s two room log cabin at the corner of West Avenue and 12th Street. The cabin is still standing. Within two years, Corsicana had 1,200 residents. In 1871, the Houston and Texas Central Railroad built a line to Corsicana, enabling the town to attract new settlers and businesses. The town’s economy as further spurred by the 1880 arrival of the Texas and St. Louis Railway, later called the Cotton Belt Railroad. Corsicana incorporated that same year. By 1885, it had 5,000 residents. Within four years the town had outgrown its water supply. In 1894, the city owned Corsicana Water Development Company began drilling for water, but instead struck a large pocket of oil and gas which caused Texas’ first major oil boom. Within a short period of time nearly every lot in the town and in the surrounding area was under lease. The first oil refinery in Texas was built in Corsicana in 1897. By 1898, the Corsicana Oil Field had 287 producing wells. Corsicana was transformed from a regional agricultural shipping town to an important oil and industrial center. The Powell oilfield was discovered in 1923. This field was larger than the Corsicana Field, and it unleashed another oil boom. The population swelled to 28,000 at the oil boom’s peak. By 1925 the population had dropped to 11,300 residents. Like most Texas towns, Corsicana suffered economically during the Great Depression. The cotton industry suffered from falling prices and the boll weevil. The town’s oil industry helped mitigate the worst effects of the depression. By 1940, the town had 17,500 residents. The 1942 opening of a large training center allowed the population to grow during World War II. Since World War II the town has experienced slow but steady growth. Leading industries include oil, agriculture and manufacturing. Corsicana is located at the intersections of IH-45/U.S. 287, SH 22 and SH 31 (7th Avenue) and FM 709, 57 miles southeast of Dallas, 35.5 miles southeast of Waxahachie, 21 miles southeast of Ennis and Lake Bardwell, 58.5 miles slightly southwest of Terrell, 46.5 miles southwest of Kaufman, 37.3 miles southwest of Athens, 33 miles southwest of Gun Barrel City, Cedar Creek Reservoir and the Cedar Creek WMA, 58.4 miles northwest of Palestine, 33.6 miles northwest of Fairfield and Fairfield Lake State Park, 19.5 miles northwest of Streetman, 41.6 miles north of Groesbeck, 31 miles north of Mexia, 56 miles northeast of Waco, 53 miles northeast of Whitney, Lake Whitney and Lake Whitney State Park, 41 miles northeast of Hillsboro, and 21 miles northeast of Navarro Mills Lake and Dawson, Texas.
Historic Corsicana Downtown District:
This district encompasses approximately 25 blocks and features many 1880-1925 historical buildings. Most of the buildings were built as retail establishments including the former 1926 State National Bank building (now Chase Bank). The State Bank building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Corsicana was designated as a National Main Street City in 1985. (903) 654-4999.