Welcome to downtown Palestine, Texas. Palestine is a Texas Main Street city with a unique, historic building stock. Founded in 1846 as the county seat of Anderson County, two railroads were built through the city in 1872 linking it to Austin and Houston. As a result, it became an important commercial center in east Texas. New businesses reliant on the railroad supported a thriving economy and shifted the focus of downtown from around the courthouse square, Old Town, to New Town, the commercial district along the tracks. Discovery of oil in 1925 brought additional prosperity that continued through the 1950s.
The Downtown Historic District was created in 1992 to preserve the New Town commercial district, and the Palestine Main Street Program assists property owners in this area to promote economic revitalization and growth with this district which is the historical center of commercial activity and urban life in Palestine. This is a local historic district which does require design review for exterior alterations. There are properties individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places but downtown is not yet a listed National Register district.
The City of Palestine offers tax relief to property owners investing in the downtown district. The Palestine Economic Development Corporation also offers incentives to companies making a minimum of $500,000 investment and creating five jobs. Downtown offers an incredible building stock with the narrow alignment of the main streets (Oak and Main) creating many double frontage buildings - an unusual feature that allows two prime frontages for retail and other activity generating uses in one building. Investment opportunities are updated here regularly and historic resource information is all publicly available as well.
Contact Rachel Nichols with the Main Street Program for further information on investing and preserving downtown Palestine.