Originally known as The Crossroads, Winnsboro, Texas (population 3,500), was strategically located equidistant from Dallas, Shreveport, and Texarkana in an area that once straddled the border between the Louisiana Territory and Old Mexico.
The city, settled in 1854, became a booming commercial center after the Civil War. Market Street, known as The Bowery, was lined with saloons, gambling establishments, baths, and entertainment in the early days.
The arrival of the railroad in 1878 enabled growing prosperity and eventually prompted the relocation of the commercial center three blocks south and closer to the railroad. Farming and timber were the economic mainstays until Winnsboro became a "black gold" oil boomtown in the early 1940s.
Today Winnsboro is a charming small town surrounded by beautiful countryside. A Texas Main Street City, Winnsboro is restoring some of its historic buildings, including the Depot, which now houses the Heritage Society's museum and will be used for community meetings and events.
Winnsboro annually hosts the Autumn Trail Festival, featuring a trail ride that draws thousands of riders, and Oil Field Days, both of which commemorate important parts of Winnsboro's heritage. Local historic resources, including a hardware store on Main Street in operation since 1912, are featured in walking and driving tours distributed as part of a Downtown Shopping Directory.
Winnsboro also participates in the Texas Forest Trails region, promoting the historic, cultural, and natural resources of East Texas. A Sesquicentennial Celebration in 2004 attracted heritage tourists and helped enhanced the economic vitality of the community.
Sales and use tax revenue increases confirm Winnsboro's emergence as a heritage tourism destination, and the city's Main Street program has tracked more than $4 million in downtown reinvestment since 2002.
Designated a Preserve America Community in June 2005.