Texas Travel

City Spotlight: Corsicana

By Chet Garner 7.7.22

About an hour south of Dallas along I-45 is Corsicana, a small town with a big secret. The big secret is how big Corsicana actually is. While most small towns in Texas usually have either a single main street or town square, Corsicana has about 25 blocks of historic buildings downtown — and not a lot of folks know it even exists.

You might wonder why there are so many commercial buildings in a town with approximately 25,000 people. Rewind the clock 100 years and you’ll see why. Back then, Corsicana was a huge railroad hub for North Texas. Once railroad travel dwindled, Corsicana started to shift into the town we know today — but none of the charm has vanished.


Corsicana’s Hot Spots

People are starting to renovate Corsicana, but the historical fashions from its heyday are sticking around. There’s a beautiful historic theater, a coffee shop, and trendy clothing boutiques downtown that are lots of fun to browse.

But if you’re looking for the best mix between old-fashioned and newfangled, go to Across the Street, a diner and bistro with one of the oldest soda fountains in Texas. It’s run by Andreas, a highly trained Greek chef who’s traveled all over the world — he’s been one of the central catalysts for the town’s revitalization. He serves up homemade hummus and other Mediterranean food. (This might be the only spot in Texas where you can get authentic Greek cuisine in a soda fountain). And while it’s a novel idea, Andreas borrowed from history, too — some of his recipes are more than 100 years old. One of these is the Hashop’s beef sandwich, which is pulled beef on white bread with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. It’s super simple, but you can probably imagine your people eating a sandwich just like that 50 years ago. (And it’s delicious!)

Another historical oddity about Across the Street is that it’s located in the same building Wolf Brand Chili was founded in. Even though Andreas is a world-class chef, he still sells Wolf Brand Chili right out of the can — he believes you shouldn’t mess with history!

While you’re in Corsicana, stop by Collin Street Bakery for a sample of their fruitcake. Hear me out — I know some folks think fruitcake is that weird thing your aunt sends you for the holidays that no one eats. And for the most part, they’re right. But, believe me, Collin Street Bakery is the exception — in fact, they sell more than 1 million fruitcakes every year. You can find other outposts in Waco or Terrell, but Corsicana is home. They’ve also got cookies and sweets and cakes, but if you wanna know what history tastes like, you gotta try the fruitcake.

When you’ve got your fill of Mediterranean grub and fruitcake, head out to Richland Chambers Reservoir. It’s an extremely popular fishing hot spot, especially for hybrid striped bass. And if fishing’s not your style, there are spots to swim, boat, wakeboard, and all that good aquatic stuff.


Preserving (and Making) History in Corsicana

Have you watched “Cheer” on Netflix? It’s been super popular lately, and it tells the story of a nationally ranked cheer team based right here in Corsicana. The cheerleaders at Navarro College recently won their fifteenth national title under their coach, Monica Aldama. They’re going up against the best. So, if you’re in Corsicana, you can see where they train.

Another museum on Navarro’s campus is the Pearce Museum. Inside, you’ll find some of the best Civil War relics I’ve seen in Texas. There’s memorabilia from both Union and Confederate armies, including rifles, a bandage with Abraham Lincoln’s blood, and full-scale dioramas of medical tents on the battlefront. It’s pretty macabre but incredibly interesting.

Pearce is also home to the Malakoff Man, a stone head that was unearthed in the 1930s. It’s surrounded in mystery because, in the timelines we’ve been taught, humans shouldn’t have been in this area at the time — but it looks like someone sculpted a face on this stone! It might be a fluke of nature, but not everyone is convinced. So, while you’re in town, swing by and see what you think.

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