What Does Corsicana Mean to You?

By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Yes We Can

Over the weekend, Corsicana was once again featured on television on The Daytripper show, another entry in a fairly annual showcase of what our small town has to offer.

Cheer highlighted Navarro College’s award-winning cheerleading team. Downtown became a top finalist in Small Business Revolution. Daytripper was a look at our town from a tourism perspective.

We’ve also had a number of Texas-based magazines take a look at what makes Corsicana a standout place to visit and live.

Personally, I see a lot of potential in Corsicana. Before the pandemic slowed the world to a crawl, we looked to be on-pace in becoming a televised regular. In the early months of 2020, Cheer was bringing in visitors walking around Navarro College hoping to catch a glimpse of Monica and her cheerleading team. Clearly with Chet and his crew visiting, people still have interest in us now. And I don’t disagree with that.

Perspective is a funny thing. You can ask any group of people their opinion about a subject, and they’ll each offer a different take about what they believe it represents, or what it means to them. Being a mid to older generation, I’ve certainly had my thoughts about what Corsicana means. At least to me, anyway.

My local experiences growing up here were found in the arcades and video stores (in which I still fondly miss those Movieland days), a technology-driven childhood vastly different from those who experienced a rural life with ranches and cattle. Both play well with our small-town roots, and showcase the diverse range of life found here.

A lot of what makes Corsicana so unique are its stories. I’ll preface this following statement that I indeed enjoy a hearty dinner of Wolf Brand Chili, especially during these cold months (and keep a few cans in the pantry), but I do think there are several past local business origins equally worth a nod of remembrance.

Perhaps it’s a generational thing, but I’ve always thought it was beyond cool that a town of this size once had a major video game company. Tradewest (later Midway Home Entertainment) put out dozens of titles for Nintendo systems and other consoles. Mortal Kombat and Battletoads are still relevant in modern media, and while it’s not totally necessary to “get” the impact these franchises have made (or video games in general), it’s still a point of pride to say Corsicana had a part in that. It was just last year that Navarro College launched an eSports team, playing games competitively in the name of sport and education. Corsicana’s interactive digital footprint still endures now.

A Tradewest print ad from the 1990s – Courtesy photo

I still think its interesting they’ve never definitively identified “The Rope Walker.” Every time a confirmation is seemingly made, there’s always someone who pops up going “Ah ah ah, that’s not so.” Perhaps the ongoing mystery isn’t exactly a singular tourist draw, but it still periodically pulls me back in to see if there’s an update. One day, one-legged man….

Corsicana has a great art scene. 100W brings in artists and writers from all around the world to Corsicana, expanding a genuine level of global recognition. Sixth Street is a regular source of live performance with two theatres. If you ever had the chance to visit the Capehart’s telephone collection before it closed, it was truly a sight to see.

We’ve grown up in a town of honky tonk/outlaw legends, silent film actresses who wrote and directed their own films, had vampire movies shot and set in the 1990s, and currently have a police chief who enforces law by day, produces movies by night. Seriously, what other small town can claim they have that?

Speaking of the 1990s, did you know there was bear wrestling here back in December of 1990? I was as surprised as you likely are when I originally discovered the ad:

Interested challengers could take on “Terrible Ted” back in 1990. – Courtesy photo

I still wonder who challenged “Terrible Ted.” I also wonder if a $100 reward was enough, even in 1990s dollars. Also, I noticed that “unbearably fun night” stealth pun the writer snuck in there. Well played, wordsmith.

These are a few of the unique things I think of when trying to define Corsicana’s personality, and as we start thinking about 2022, there’s already signs of our town resuming pre-pandemic momentum. But I lead back to my original question….

What does Corsicana mean to you? What are the unique people, places, and events that stand out and have stories yet to be told? What are the good things here people should know about?

We have a good base to work with here. We also have a lot of quirky things with potential to attract the curious. Let’s make sure we share that personality.

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Categories: Opinion