From an 1873 H.&T.C. Bond. Courtesy Steven Butler.
Richardson was "born" in 1873, when the Houston & Texas Central Railway built a depot 2 miles northwest of old Breckinridge and on either side of the tracks, laid out a town called "Richardson" in honor of H.&T.C. Secretary Alfred Stephen Richardson.
The first commercial buildings in Richardson were constructed on what became known as Central Street (now Texas Street), facing the railroad tracks.
In 1892, a fire destroyed or damaged most of these early structures. Although they were soon rebuilt, newer buildings on Smith Street (now E. Main) soon after became the primary focal point of the town's business district.
Until the 1960s, the 100 block of East Main Street, between present-day Texas Street and McKinney Street, was the principal business district of Richardson. This was the place where everyone went to buy groceries, try on and buy new clothes, see a doctor, pick up a prescription, hear a band concert, watch a free silent motion picture, get their horses shod or automobiles repaired, to get their cotton ginned, attend the community fair, or board an H.&T.C. train or Texas Electric Railway Interurban car to travel south to Dallas or north to Denison and beyond. In short, this was the heart of Richardson.
Here is a list of the oldest structures and most important historic sites in Old Downtown Richardson.
- Site of first H.&T.C. Depot (on east side of DART tracks, opposite Collision Masters auto repair shop)
- Site of second H.&T.C./Southern Pacific Depot (on west side of DART tracks, alongside Interurban Street between Main Street and Polk)
- Site of Central Street businesses (about half of the length of east side of S. Texas Street)
- Site of Mrs. Allen's Post Office (now a parking lot off S. Texas Street)
- Site of Interurban Depot (SW corner W. Main and Interurban Street)
- Site of Farrell's Livery Stable (NW corner W. Main and Interurban Street)
Oldest Buildings Still Standing
North Side of E. Main Street
- 101-103 E. Main, Thompson's Dry Goods Store, built c. 1898 (present-day Collision Masters auto repair)
- 105 E. Main, Crosby Building, built 1909 (present-day Shaddock & Caldwell, Builders and Developers)
- 107 E. Main, Brick Garage or Swinson Bldg., built 1916 (present-day Jasmine Café)
- 111 E. Main, Odd Fellows Building, built 1898 (present-day Jasmine Hookah Lounge)
- 115 E. Main, Harben's Drugstore, built 1911 (present-day Main Street Tavern)
- 117 E. Main, Harben-Spotts Printing Company Building, built 1924 (present-day Main Street Tavern
South Side of E. Main Street
- 100-106 E. Main, Reddick Double Brick, built c. 1918 (present-day A-Z Printers, Hair by Né)
- 110 E. Main, Brack Lotheridge soft drink stand, built c. 1895 and also Mayor Tom Jackson's office. (present-day Free COVID-19 Testing)
- 112-114 E. Main, Newt Harris Brick, built 1954 on site of 1906 frame (present-day Main Street Barber and Madina Mediterranean Grill)
- 116 E. Main, U.S. Post Office, built 1939 (present-day Star Pipes & Hookah)
West of Greenville Avenue
- 306 E. Main, Morris' Ice House, built 1947 (currently vacant)