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The City of Corsicana

Navarro County Courthouse

Among the first actions of the new Texas legislature following admission to the Union in 1846 was the creation of a new county which was named in honor of Jose Antonio Navarro. Mr. Navarro was born in San Antonio in 1795 and served in the Mexican Congress in 1828, following their fight for independence from Spain. He served as Land Commissioner for the Bexar District in 1834-35. As an ardent supporter for Texas independence, he was the seventh man to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence. In 1848 when a new town was platted to serve as the county seat, Navarro was asked to name it. His response was, "Call it Corsicana in honor of the island of Corsica, the birthplace of my father."

Corsicana and Navarro County can boast of having many first, or largest, in their history. Navarro County has more state historical markers per capita than any other county in the state. Cotton was king in the Corsicana area in the late 1800's. The Corsicana cotton gin was reported to be the world's largest during its heyday with facilities to process 10 bales at a time. It covered five-city blocks downtown. The two old structures at the corner of East Seventh Avenue (Highway 31) and South Seventh Street (I-45 Business) are the only remaining parts of the gin. One of its early owners, Mr. H. L. Scales, built this mansion in 1898 with redwood from California, tile from Italy, and wallpaper and stairway from France.

First Oil Discovery Site

Oil was first discovered West of the Mississippi River in Corsicana on June 6, 1894 by an experienced drilling firm from Salina, Kansas looking for water for the growing town. The city had agreed to pay the firm $1,000 for the water well. Since they hit oil the city fathers would only pay them half their fee. At a depth of 1,035 feet oil and gas shows were encountered. These continued until the well was completed at the depth of 2,480 feet, at which depth the well was cased and the oil disposed of. The artesian well flowed hot mineral water -- suitable for bathing, sewerage, fire protection, and the like, but not drinking. So it did not help the city with their problem of providing water to the growing population.

The J. S. Cullinan and Co. refinery began operation on February 24, 1899 being the first oil refinery West of the Mississippi. This was later changed to the Magnolia Oil (later to be knows as Mobil Oil) Company. Corsicana was the site of the first commercial oil field in the Southwestern United States. Corsican became the first city in Texas to use natural gas for fuel and lighting.

Mr. Cullinan withdrew from the refinery in 1900 to devote his time in finding a market for the residue crude left over from the processing of the kerosene and gasoline. He envisioned oil as a substitute for coal. He found what he was looking for in a suitable oil burner. Corsicana was the site of the first use of crude oil as fuel for locomotives. In 1900 a trial run was conducted from Corsicana to Hillsboro and return with a Cotton Belt (then St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas) railroad locomotive. Corsicana and Navarro County were the first to use crude oil as an improving factor in construction of streets and roads and in controlling dust and mud. Mr. Ralph Beaton, Corsicana citizen, was the first person to sell fuel oil: sale price was 58 cents a barrel. Mr. Alma McAfee, Corsicana citizen, developed a number of refining processes to improve the quality of petroleum derivatives.

The Texas Company (Texaco) also traces it origin to Corsicana since Mr. J. S. Cullinan was a partner with Mr. Arnold Schlaet, a German immigrant, in the Texas Fuel Oil Company that had its start with the oil boom at Spindletop, near Beaumont. In 1902 the company changed it's name to The Texas Company (Texaco) capitalized at $3,000,000. Mr. Cullinan later moved his headquarters from Corsicana to Houston. The Spindletop well was started six years after oil was discovered in Corsicana utilizing a cable rig as was most wells drilled during this time frame. At Spindletop after they reached 575 feet they could go no deeper. They called Corsicana for one of the new rotary drill rigs being manufactured by the American Well and Prospecting Company in Corsicana which at the time was the largest oil well supply manufacturing plant in the world. Thus it came about that the discovery well of the famed Spindletop field was brought in on January 10, 1901 after 76 days of drilling by a crew of Corsicana men using Corsicana-made equipment.

First Methodist Church


Within a short walk of the inn are churches of many faiths. We have the First Baptist Church, St. John's Episcopal Church, The First United Methodist Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. Many others are only a short drive away.

Capehart Communication Collection-

Largest privately owned collection of items built by Western Electric, Bell Systems, Bell Labs and America Telephone and Telegraph. The collection has a bit of everything from telephones, to central office equipment, insulators, test sets, switches, phone directories, tools, teletype, signs, advertisements, military items and a lot of paper items. An innovative and unique museum experience, the 3C's explores communications technology from the 1880's through the 1990's. (Open by appointment at any time. Call 903-872-0440.)

Collins Street Bakery-  

This one bakery utilizes over one hundred thousand pounds of pecans, per production day, in preparing their bake goods. World famous for their Original Deluxe Fruitcake which is shipped to over 200 countries. Over a quarter of a million people visit the bakery between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Open year round with main fruitcake production during October through December when they bake 35,000 cakes per day, all still hand decorated.

The Cook Center

The Cook Center for Arts, Science and Technology-

An educational magnet for both the College and the surrounding 31 independent school districts. The center has a 60-foot domed planetarium, the largest in Texas, where I-Max films can be shown.

Corsicana Field Aviation Heritage Foundation (CFAHF)-

Located on the site of the WW II training field, the Cumbie Museum is a treasury of artifacts and memorabilia of Aviation and Military history from WW I to the present day.  An extensive collection of WW II items from Corsicana Field and other theatres of war, including the Home front, are on display.

Freedom Plaza at Bunert Park-

The site of a 120 foot flag pole with a 30 X 60 foot American flag dedicated to all first responders and those who help keep us free. The plaza also has four 20 foot flag poles dedicated to the 9-11 victims of the North tower and South tower of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania field.

Halbert Lake-

650 acres - Swimming, fishing, water-skiing, boating and picnicking

Navarro College

Site of the Gaston T. Gooch Learning Resource Center, which is, home to an extensive collection of books, periodicals, computer assisted research stations, videos and study areas. It also houses the unique Robert S. Reading arrowhead collection, where over 45,000 Indian arrowhead and artifacts are displayed. They also have the 5,000 volume Roe and Ralston Law Library, a working law library of books and legal materials dating back to 1856. 

Navarro Pecan Company

Offers pecans at a discounted price from their store at the packaging plant. They also offer free samples of various types of pecans.

The Pearce Civil War Museum & Western Art Collection-

One of the finest, if not the finest, civil war museum in the United States which represents both the North and South side of the conflict outside hands of the federal government. The collection has over 6,000 individual letters, documents and artifacts from this bloody period.  This assortment of letters, telegraphs and photos from the Civil War attracts historians from across the country. They include works of General George Custer, Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, and other famous figures from both sides of the Civil War era. The Western Art Collection is second to none with many outstanding contemporary Western artists represented in the over 100 piece collection. 

Palace Theater-

A restored 1921 era theater featuring old movies, stage presentations and concerts.  See events page for scheduled performances.

    Pioneer Village                             Lefty Frizzell Museum and Statue

Pioneer Village-

This is a diverse museum complex that covers a wide spectrum of time. On display are American Indian artifacts and items that date back to the days of the Republic of Texas. Reconstructed and restored log buildings form typical mid-1800s village. Homes, blacksmith shop, trading post and doctor's office. Authentic furniture and artifacts. Home of the Lefty Frizzell Statue and Museum along with many other collections of historic importance.

Richland-Chambers Lake-

44,000 acres, the third largest lake within the borders of Texas. - Swimming, fishing, water-skiing, boating and picnicking

Russell Stover Candy Company-

The nation's largest handmade candy company has built their largest plant in Corsicana. They produce Russell Stover, Pangburns and Whitmans candies in the amount of 180,000 pounds per day. You can purchase these candies in their outlet at the factory.

Trimmings Outlet-

Offering candies, potpourri, oils, sprays, ribbon, needlepoint, furniture, holiday and gift items at discount prices.

VF Factory Outlet -

Good deals on clothing with 50-percent off the listed price.

Visitors Center -

The Corsicana Visitors Center is located in the restored 1880 era Cotton Belt Railroad Freight Depot.  The highlights of the depot is the tapestries hanging on the walls depicting the rich history of Corsicana.


Warehouse Living Arts Centre

Warehouse Living Arts Centre-

This serves as the cultural center of the community with a 127-seat theater, rehearsal hall, an art gallery, and a black box theater space. National and international art exhibits are on display throughout the year.

Watkins Wild Life Museum -

Located in the headquarters of the Watkins Construction Company this collection of wild life trophies encompasses animals from all over the world including the skull of Black Diamond, the largest elephant ever in captivity.  (Open week-days 8 am to 5 pm - Free Admission)



The Wicklow Inn
220 N. 14th Street
Corsicana, Texas 75110-4534
Toll Free: (877) 694-5468



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