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
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
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.)
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
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
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
650 acres - Swimming, fishing, water-skiing, boating and
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
Offers pecans at a discounted price from their store at the
packaging plant. They also offer free samples of various types of
Pearce Civil War Museum & Western Art Collection-
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.
restored 1921 era theater featuring old movies, stage
presentations and concerts. See events page for scheduled
Lefty Frizzell Museum and Statue
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.
44,000 acres, the third largest lake within the borders of
Texas. - Swimming, fishing, water-skiing, boating and picnicking
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.
Offering candies, potpourri, oils, sprays, ribbon,
needlepoint, furniture, holiday and gift items at discount prices.
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
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