Destination: Downtown Tyler

Revitalizing the Historic Heart of Tyler, Texas

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This Place Matters...

All around America, people care about the history of their downtowns.

The Heart of Tyler Main Street Program is a participant in the National Trust for Historic Perservation's national campaign called, "This Place Matters".

Join Us Downtown!

Is there a special downtown building that you love? Do you enjoy the shade of the trees at a certain park?


Check out these examples of places that matter to the residents of Tyler, Texas!

Tyler Cotton Belt Depot – Tyler, Texas

A National Historic Landmark built in 1905.

Depots are an urban icon. Without the railroad, without the depot, many cities would not even be in existence.  A true shame is that depots in many cities have been hauled off to make room for newer construction or have been allowed to become so dilapidated that they are unrecognizable. The Depot here in Tyler is an excellent example of  a successful revitalization project. The restoration was completed in four phases and the depot returned to life as the headquarters of the city’s public transportation services.  Additionally, a portion of the depot has become the Cotton Belt Depot Museum, a landmark for Tyler which attracts railroad enthusiasts from all over the world almost daily. The depot also houses an exhibit of rail-related memorabilia, much of it linked to Tyler’s early years when the steam locomotive was king. 


Truly a preservation success story.

-Stephanie Rollings

Crescent Laundry– Tyler, Texas

A National Historic Landmark built in 1935.


The Crescent Laundry building is the city’s only known example of the Exotic Revival style. The domed Moorish Revival-style dry cleaning building with its crescent moon tile was designed by Tyler architect Roy T. Nunamaker. The laundry business closed in 2000 and the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Recently Smith County Commissioners voted to buy the Crescent Laundry Building. We are eagerly awaiting announcement of plans for continued use for this architectural icon!

Truly a preservation success story.

-Heather Nick


Tyler Candle Company– Tyler, Texas

A Historic Landmark built in 1900s.

This 13,400 square foot building begins appearing on the Sanborn Maps as early as 1919. During that time, the building was known as Tyler Grocery Company. By 1928, the name had changed to Dublin Grocery Company.  However, the space is most notable for housing the Tyler Candle Company. After Tyler Candle Company moved to a different space, the building was vacant for several years and became an eyesore for downtown. In recent years the building has been purchased and is undergoing renovation. The building will be one of three that will house the Moore Grocery Lofts. The lofts will be an affordable downtown housing option that maintains the character of the beautiful building.

Truly a preservation success story.

-Jason and Amber Burkhart


Downtown Tyler, Texas



Conlan Smith was visiting Tyler from Longview, Washington. When he was told about the project, he said, "But all of downtown matters!"  So his idea was to stand on top of a  building and point at all of downtown. 

Conlan, we couldn't agree more!

-Conlan Smith

Tyler Theater – Tyler, Texas

A Historic Landmark built in 1940

The Tyler Theater opened on August 2, 1940 and drew crowds to downtown. The 1962 world premiere of the movie, State Fair, occured simultaneously in 11 Texas cities-- including Tyler! Ann Margret, one of the movie's stars, actually paid a visit to Tyler in conjunction with the premiere! The Tyler Theatre closed on September 16, 1982. Currently, the famous marquee is not in use.

-Steve Perry and Jennifer Runnels


Kamel Building – Tyler, Texas

A Tyler Landmark built in 1900's

Structures in this location appear on Sanborn maps as early as 1902. During that time, the building housed office spaces. The Kamel Building is most notable for its detailed historic architecture. Some interesting elements include the tile bulk heads and deatiled transom windows. Also, the patterned stepped out brick work makes the building an interesting one. The corbeling in the upper brick work is beautifully preserved.

-Amy Baxter

Old Smith County Jail – Tyler, Texas

A National Historic Landmark built in 1880-1881

This building was the third Smith County jail to be constructed. It was the first public building to be built in Tyler following the Civil War. It served as the jail for Smith County until 1916 when Jefferson Y. Lewis bought the building in order to convert it into a hotel. Lewis, a former jailer, died in the 1950's, but his family members continued to operate the hotel as a family business. Historic Tyler, Inc. purchased the property in 1986 and began a massive restoration. The 1933 front was removed and the building was stabilized. In 1992, Randal Gilbert restored the property to its current state and used it to house law offices.

Information courtesy of Historic Tyler, Inc.

-Amy Baxter

Rick's– Tyler, Texas

A Historic Landmark built in 1888

Located at 100 and 104 W. Erwin Street, Rick's on the Square (or the B.W. Rowland-Liebreich Building)  sits at the original site of the El Ranch Saloon.  This site is remembered regionally for a famous shootout that occurred during the reconstruction era between local citizens and law officials. The building also was home to the East Texas Conservatory of Music. Ms. Estelle Burns, who established the conservatory, was nationally recognized for her teaching. Through adaptive reuse, the current owner Rick Eltife, has restored the building and currently operates it as a restaurant and club!

Information courtesy of Historic Tyler, Inc.

- Rick Eltife and John O'Sullivan


Arcadia– Tyler, Texas

A Tyler Landmark built in 1900's.

Structures appear at this location on Sanborn maps as early as 1902. During that time it was used as a furniture store and office space. However, the building soon found other uses, and the building operated as a theater under several names including the Theatorium and the Queen between 1907 and 1925. The Arcadia officially opened on October 15, 1925. The very first "talking motion pictures" were shown in Tyler at this location on February 13, 1929. Most recently the site served as the home of Arcadia Coffee Company.

Information courtesy of Robert E. Reed Jr.'s book,

"Images of America: Tyler"

- Nikki Aubuchon


Blackstone Building – Tyler, Texas

A National Historic Landmark built in 1938

Sitting at 315 N. Broadway is the historic Blackstone Building. This building was constructed in 1938 and sat along side the Blackstone Hotel. Fort Worth architect Preston M. Geren designed the six-story building which is one of only two Art Deco-style office buildings in the Tyler area. The project was financed by Tyler businessman Edmond P. McKenna and intended to ease the need for office space during the East Texas oil boom. The building housed offices for oil companies, geologists, attorneys, engineers, and more. In addition, the Blackstone was a location for the Union Bus Terminal from 1938 to the 1950's. The Blackstone Hotel next door was imploded in 1985 but the Blackstone Building still stands. It is being used as office space and houses the Tyler Chamber of Commerce.

Information courtesy of Historic Tyler, Inc.

- Jonas Titas

Nabisco Warehouse – Tyler, Texas

A Tyler Landmark built in 1906

This building located at 300 E. Erwin street was built in 1906. The building was owned and maintained by the National Biscuit Company or Nabisco. They used the building to store food and other company products. The basement area was used to stable company horses used to deliver products. The building is currently owned by John O'Sullivan and has been renovated. It has served as residential space since 1998.

- Nikki Aubuchon


Want to Participate?

Click HERE to download a "This Place Matters" sign!

Take your picture and share why Tyler, Texas matters to YOU!

After taking your picture, please email it and a brief description to

"This Place Matters" is a viral event to showcase what local historic venues, such as buildings and parks, matter to you. To participate, simply visit the National Trust's website with the link below.

This Place Matters- National Trust for Historic Preservation