OIL FROM WATER
Named after the island of Corsica, the birthplace of founder Jose Antonio Navarro’s father, Corsicana was established in 1848 and continues to serve as the county seat of Navarro County. Founding the city was just one of his accomplishments, however, having previously joined the Texas Revolution and signed both the Texas Declaration of Independence and the new constitution of the Republic of Texas.
By the 1870’s, Corsicana was a flourishing trade center thanks to new railroads, and its prosperity continued with the discovery of oil in 1894. Interestingly, the city’s position as the first oil strike west of the Mississippi River was a happy accident triggered by efforts to drill an artesian well to supplement the local water supply. By the turn of the century, it was also home to the state’s first refinery, as well as hundreds of oil wells and the banks, stores and dozens of saloons patronized by the booming community.
These days, it has retained many of its historic buildings downtown, as well as several notable private homes that are designated landmarks. Another showpiece is the Navarro County courthouse, a Beaux Arts beauty of granite and brick built in 1905 that was recently restored through the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program. With a recent influx of industry due to wide-ranging access options including I-45, TX-31, US Highway 287 and multiple railroad lines, Corsicana continues to be a vibrant community poised for the future but maintains its small-town charm through its brick streets, locally-owned businesses and friendly locals.