Corsicana, city (1990 pop. 22,911), seat of Navarro co., E central Tex.; inc. 1848. The city is an oil center; other manufactures include glass, rubber, and paper products. Cotton and small grains are grown, and cattle and emus are raised, in the surrounding blackland farm area. The discovery of oil when a city water well was being dug (1894) led to the drilling (1895) of the first commercial oil well W of the Mississippi and the building (1897) of the first refinery in Texas. Corsicana is home to Pioneer Village, a complex of restored log structures.
Corsicana is a city in Navarro County, Texas, United States. It its located on Interstate 45 some fifty-five miles south of downtown Dallas. The population was 24,485 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Navarro County.


Founded in 1848, it was named by Texas Revolution hero José Antonio Navarro after the Mediterranean island of Corsica, the birthplace of his parents.

Women's groups have had a strong role throughout the history of the city. One of the earliest efforts was the establishment of the Corsicana Female Literary Institute, a school which operated between 1857 and 1870. The first public library in Corsicana opened in 1901 by effort of the women's clubs of the city. A 1905 library gift by Andrew Carnegie gave the library a permanent home and its first full-time, professionally trained librarian. The library today is housed in a dedicated building downtown and boasts more than 52,283 Books, 6,306 Audio Materials, 783 Video Materials, and 122 Serial Subscriptions.

The Corsicana Jewish community dates form 1871, and while there are few Jewish residents of Corsicana today, the Historical Society has restored the 1898 Moorish Revival Temple Beth-El, Corsicana, now in use as a community center.

The Corsicana YMCA was founded in 1884, and has grown with patron funding facilitated by local community leaders over now more than 125 years, including in its earliest days George Taylor Jester (1847-1922), a wealthy dry goods and cotton distributor later turned banker and a lieutenant governor of Texas.

The Corsicana Oilfield was discovered in 1894 by accident by parched water prospectors hired by the Corsicana Water Development authority. It was the first commercially significant oilfield find in Texas. An even larger oil field, the Powell oil field, was discovered in 1923. Another significant area oil and gas find occurred in 1956. Each oil and gas discovery brought a renewed development boom to the city.

During World War II, an airman flying school called Corsicana Air Field trained thousands of pilots.

Arts And Entertainment

Today's downtown Corsicana supports an active live theater and music community in a corner of downtown in both the Warehouse Living Arts Center and the Palace Theater, as well as the high-rise State National Bank building built in 1926, side-by-side with quaint brick faced storefronts of historical interest.

There is also a popular green park a short walk from the county courthouse downtown, with bike trails, lighted tennis courts, a children's play area with a retired fire truck and spray park, and a YMCA with a year-round indoor pool, fitness facilities, and basketball courts.

The town also has a few museums: Pioneer Village, located by Jester Park, offers period artifacts from the early historical period of the area, as well as a museum to Lefty Frizzell, a Nashville singer born in town during the late 1920s. In addition, the Cook Center, located on the Navarro College campus, offers planetarium shows, as well as a collection of Civil War artifacts in its Pearce Collections Museum.


Corsicana is located at (32.092480, -96.469407).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.7 square miles (56.2 km²), of which, 20.7 square miles (53.7 km²) of it is land and 1.0 square miles (2.5 km²) of it is water. The total area is 4.42% water.

Corsicana is home to the Lake Halbert dam and recreational area, and is less than 15 miles from Richland Chambers Reservoir, the third largest lake in Texas, with recreational boating and 330 miles of treed and green shorelines.


Corsicana has a moderate humid subtropical climate. The range of low-high average temperatures in January, April, July, and October is 34/55, 53/75, 73/95, and 55/79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Corsicana rainfall averages 39.5 inches per year, which makes Corsicana wetter than Seattle, with 37.1 inches of average rainfall per year. Leafy oak, pecan, magnolia, and walnut trees are common, and grasses grow tall and green. Rain is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, with small wetter peaks in May and October.


Corsicana is best known as the home of the Collin Street Bakery, which has been making fruitcakes since 1896. Oil City Iron Works, Inc., responsible for high quality ductile and gray iron castings since 1866 also calls Corsicana home. Wolf Brand Chili was founded in Corsicana in 1895.

Today's economy shows little obvious reliance on oil and gas. Major employers include Russell Stover Candies and Collin Street Bakery, Guardian Industries (glass), Corsicana Bedding, the Kohl's and Home Depot distribution centers, Navarro Regional hospital (160+ beds), Trinity/Mother Francis Health System, and the Texas State Home. There are several 24/7 pharmacies and grocery stores, College Park Mall - an enclosed shopping mall that primarily houses a Bealls clothing store and a plush Internet Cafe called "The Can" --, and a large Wal-Mart on the southwestern edge of town.

Corsicana was also known for the video game company, Tradewest, which was founded in 1986 by Leland and Byron Cook. Tradewest was known for such Nintendo Entertainment System classics as Double Dragon and Battletoads. Tradewest later became Williams Entertainment (known for the Mortal Kombat series) in 1994, then Midway Home Entertainment after an acquisition from WMS Industries. The company's office remained in Corsicana until its closure in 2002.12


Corsicana is home to Navarro College which offers Associate level degrees, and is also a satellite facility of Texas A&M University-Commerce, through which students can receive Bachelors & Graduate level degrees.

The Corsicana Independent School District (CISD) has an enrollment of over 5,700 students. Five Corsicana Independent School District schools have been lauded by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as Recognized campuses in the ratings released recently.

Bowie, Fannin, Carroll and Navarro Elementaries and Drane Intermediate School all achieved Recognized status.

Collins Middle School and Corsicana High School were rated Academically Acceptable by the TEA. The Corsicana ISD received Academically Acceptable status from the state.

Corsicana also has one private school, James L. Collins Catholic School, for grades K-8 and has an enrollment of 270 students.


As of the census of 2000, there were 24,485 people, 8,762 households, and 5,966 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,180.4 people per square mile (455.8/km²). There were 9,552 housing units at an average density of 460.5/sq mi (177.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.28% White, 23.59% African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.47% Pacific Islander, 13.64% from other races, and 1.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22.47% of the population.

There were 8,762 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.9% were non-families. 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 12.6% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,203, and the median income for a family was $33,078. Males had a median income of $27,516 versus $19,844 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,001. About 17.4% of families and 22.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.4% of those under age 18 and 15.1% of those age 65 or over.

People from Corsicana


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