Beginning at the Anderson County Courthouse and ending at the Palestine Visitor Center, Main Street District is roughly 44 blocks of historical buildings that are home to a variety of retail shops, restaurants and business offices. Such businesses as Eilenberger’s Bakery, The Texas Theatre, The Redlands Hotel and Sacred Heart Catholic Church are much as they were in the 1800 and 1900’s. Others boast the historical architecture with different businesses inside, such as the Chamber of Commerce Office building that was once a shoe and boot store or a pie bakery that was once a livery stable.
Palestine was founded in 1846 and its retail shops were built around the courthouse square and in the area affectionately called Old Town. When the railroad tracks made their way through the young city, restaurants, hotels and retail shops gradually migrated to what is now Downtown. The Main Street District has seen everything from horse and buggies to modern automobiles. Like other downtown areas, retailers started moving out of downtown to strip malls and enclosed malls when their customers began moving out of the central city area to more modern homes. They liked the convenience of parking lots and large department stores that carried everything in one location.
The main thoroughfare through the downtown area, Spring Street, once known as the “great white way”, due to the first electric street lights in Texas, became almost deserted. Now through the efforts of civic minded citizens and organizations such as the Palestine Chamber of Commerce working hand in hand with the Main Street District officials and numerous individuals and groups are bringing the area back to its former glory.
For a listing of businesses see below.