Preserve America Community:
Celina, Texas (population 3,100), was originally established in 1876 a few miles southwest of its present site. The entire town was relocated to the new railroad right-of-way 20 years later by placing homes and businesses on rollers and pulling them across muddy fields.
In 1911, one enterprising local named J. Fred Smith built buildings around a new town square, laid gravel streets, built concrete sidewalks, built a power plant and street lights, and dug a well, creating the first "shopping center" in the State. He then organized visits by dignitaries from around the State to see "Celina, the City Beautiful," encouraging them to do the same in their communities.
Celina is participating in the Texas Historical Commission "Visionaries in Preservation" program, working on establishing historic districts, and formulating a tax abatement incentive program for restoration and reuse of historic structures.
One historic downtown building, a former newspaper office still housing its original printing press, has been restored by the Celina Area Heritage Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Main Street Program, and the City. It now serves as a welcome center, a local history museum, and offices for the participating groups.
Removing plaster for the restoration revealed colorful 1930s advertising murals for a garage, a drug store, and for Coca Cola, which are now preserved. Celina citizens also helped develop a driving tour of local historic resources in cooperation with the Collin County Historical Society, as well as a walking tour map of the downtown.
For more information
City of Celina: www.celinatx.com
Posted November 22, 2004