You may have read about Corsicana being the birthplace of the Texas oil industry, or the founding of Wolf Brand Chili, or even about the world-famous Collin Street Bakery, but did you know that Corsicana begins its year-long 175th celebration this fall?
The 175th festivities kick-off with the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Festival on Thursday, November 17. A three-story Christmas tree covered in thousands of lights and ornaments takes center-stage along with plenty of family-friendly activities to partake in until the spectacular fireworks display over downtown. Two weeks later on December 3, the Festival of Lights parade will make its way through downtown and honor the 175th Anniversary theme. With lighted floats from families and companies spanning many generations of Corsicana’s history, this is one event you won’t want to miss!
Speaking of downtown, did you know that Corsicana boasts one of the largest historic downtowns in Texas? At 26 blocks, revitalization is in full swing with 33 retail shops and 19 eateries (including a brewery and winery) for you to enjoy while walking the historic brick streets. If these brick streets could talk, perhaps they’d tell stories of young William Orville “Lefty” Frizzell (then known as “Sonny”), dreaming of playing music. Or of Billy Joe Shaver who spent his childhood in Corsicana with his Grandmother while his mother sang in nightclubs in Waco before becoming a talented and influential musician himself. More recently, the brick streets would talk about global sensation Monica Aldama before she became a national winning cheerleading coach featured on the Netflix show Cheer, or about Kelly Thiebaud, a recent Emmy-winning actress and Corsicana High School graduate, for her work on General Hospital, or about Police Chief Robert Johnson while he co-wrote his latest film Corsicana alongside Isaiah Washington.
Also, during the year-long celebration, the grand opening of the G.W. Jackson Multicultural Society Legacy Park takes place. They will unveil the newest bronze statue honoring Professor (George Washington) G. W. Jackson, the first black principal at the Colored High School of Corsicana which opened in 1882, “one of the most progressive and best-equipped schools of its kind in the state” (African American National Biography).
The city and its community are planning many unique and interesting year-long events. In February 2023, there will be events related to Black History Month and end with a spectacular birthday gala on February 25—the date Corsicana was established in 1848 as the seat of the newly created Navarro County. Derrick Days, which celebrates Corsicana’s rich oil history, will be held April 28-30, 2023 and you can be sure this year will be the most exciting one yet. In May, the Corsicana Preservation Foundation, in conjunction with National Preservation Month, will be hosting a historic home tour in the Carriage District, an area which focuses on surviving homes and structures built between 1846 and 1900.
Other events to look forward to: tours of the Temple Beth-El, a historic Moorish Revival synagogue built in 1898 with clapboard siding, keyhole windows, and octagonal towers topped by onion domes; and the Odyssey Historical Tour of Oakwood Cemetery, where soldiers from every war but the Civil War are buried.
If Civil War history is what you are looking for, Corsicana’s Pearce Museum boasts one of the largest Civil War collections in the country, along with Texas history, Modern Western Art, and pre-historic Texas artifacts, alongside the newly renovated planetarium—which will be a fun visit for the 2024 eclipse.
For the Instagram lovers, the unveiling of a 175th commemorative mural in Art Alley, where artists have shared their talents with the public and created an amazing space in an off-the beaten path alley, located adjacent to The Palace Theatre. Be on the lookout, as many national and international performances take place every year at the Palace Theatre. Along with the Warehouse Living Arts Center, a true community theater with varied plays and exhibits for all ages, and the Corsicana Artist and Writer Residency, where artists from all across the globe come to create and write inside the walls of historic 100 West 3rd, Corsicana has a rich and diverse art community just waiting for you to explore. The final event will host the burying of a time-capsule to commemorate the 175th celebration for future generations to learn from.
With its rich history deeply rooted in the community, it’s apparent that Corsicana will roll out a spectacular celebration for its 175th anniversary. This is one party you want to make sure and visit.