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Courthouse Square

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1874–1940s. Bounded by Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Kentucky sts.

The courthouse square and the surrounding commercial district consist of approximately twelve complete blocks of commercial and government structures built between the late nineteenth century and the 1940s. The buildings facing the former Collin County Courthouse constitute one of the finest, most intact commercial squares in the state. While no single building transcends the ordinary, the square is nevertheless notable for its completeness and the consistency of renovation.

In the center of the square, the three-story former courthouse (1874, Charles Wheelock) was originally designed in the Second Empire style with a central tower that was the tallest structure in Texas north of San Antonio. In 1928 it was given a classical facelift and rehabilitated in 2006 as the McKinney Performing Arts Center.

At the northeast corner of the square at 115 E. Virginia, the former Central National Bank (1918) features two Ionic columns in antis and mottled red brick walls. The building was remodeled in the 1930s, when it received Prairie Style details on the parapet and side-wall pilasters. On the east side of the square, the former First National Bank (1912; 110 N. Tennessee) is in a rare location for a bank, mid-block on a town square. The classical building incorporates four Ionic columns in antis between glazed brick end walls supporting a highly detailed entablature and balustrade, surmounted by a gilded eagle.

Lang and Witchell designed the former J. C. Penney store at 111–115 N. Kentucky in 1929. The building is clad in buff brick and ornamented in terra-cotta in abstract floral and agricultural motifs. The profusion of Art Deco detailing, including the fluted entrance on W. Virginia Street, precedes Lang and Witchell’s confident use of modern styles on the firm’s high-rise office buildings in downtown Dallas.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Courthouse Square", [McKinney, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 118-118.

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