Plan a fun and educational day with the family in McKinney, Texas, by taking them to Chestnut Square Historic Village. Learn about the history of McKinney, see amazing architecture, and see what life was like for many of McKinney’s early citizens. Use this handy guide that we at Huffines Hyundai McKinney have assembled for you to explore the highlights of Chestnut Square Historic Village.
About Chestnut Square Historic Village
Step back in time to an elegant era of Collins County when you visit Chestnut Square Historic Village located at 315 S. Chestnut St. in McKinney. The 2.5-acre property hosts a collection of six beautiful historic houses, a store, a chapel, an inn, and a replica of a one-room schoolhouse. As you wander the grounds, you’ll also see a smokehouse and blacksmith shop. The reception house and beautifully landscaped reception gardens are a lovely place to hold a wedding or special event like a family reunion.
During the summer months, you can stop by the McKinney Farmers Market at Chestnut Square to stock up on fresh local produce, flowers, baked goods, and handmade arts and crafts.
Every year the Chestnut Street Historic Village farmers market hosts the Farm Fresh Craft Cuisine event. During this event, you can stroll through the grounds and sample small plates of food created by local chefs using products from the farmers market. Sip on a cocktail as you wander from food station to food station to see what delicious offerings the chefs have made. Sit at one of the tables and enjoy your food while listening to mellow music.
Aside from special events and the farmers market, you’ll want to stop by the following buildings to get a feel for what life was like in Collins County in the years between 1854 and 1940.
Visit the Oldest House in McKinney
The Faires House, named after the owner, is a Greek Revival-style house that was built in 1854. It still has the original front door made by Mr. Faires himself. Considered the oldest house in McKinney, you can learn of how two Civil War-era bullets were found embedded in the foundation of the house, which helps to date this historic building.
See Where Travelers Stayed
For 25 cents (two bits), travelers could stay at the Armstead Taylor House, known as the Two-Bit Taylor Inn. Travelers received a hot meal, had a bed for the night, and even could get their clothes washed all for 25 cents.
Stop by Dr. Dulaney’s Home
A Civil War surgeon, Dr. Joseph Dulaney and his family bought The Dulaney Cottage in 1870, where he practiced medicine. The family lived in the cottage until Dr. Dulaney and one of his three children died from pneumonia.
Feel Like an Aristocrat Inside a Stately Prairie-Style Home
After the passing of Dr. Dulaney and his child, his widow and two other children moved into the stunning Dulaney House. It was built in 1916 by Mrs. Dulaney’s brother John Ford for his sister and niece and nephew to live in. Mr. Ford planned on living with the Dulaney family but unfortunately, he passed away before the home was completed.
Imagine Raising 13 Children in This House
In 1878, Captain John Johnson bought the Johnson House, where he and his wife raised 13 children. Inside of the house is a room dedicated to Captain Johnson’s deceased nephew, Bobby Younger, whose plane was shot down during WWII.
Feel Like a Kid at the One-Room Schoolhouse
The J.B. Wilmeth Schoolhouse, is a reproduction of an 1892 one-room schoolhouse. As you walk through the building, you’ll notice that boys and girls each had their own private entrances into the schoolhouse.
Say a Prayer Inside the Chapel
Brought to Chestnut Square Historic Village from Proper, Texas, in 1994, the 1908 Foote Baptist Church still has the original bell in the building’s bell tower. Today, the white clapboard chapel is available for church services, memorials, or weddings.
Go on a Tour of the Grocery Store
The Brimer Anderson Grocery Store offered locals a place to purchase farm-fresh produce and provisions. In addition, the store was meant as a meeting place for locals to catch up with one another and share interesting bits of news and gossip. Today, the store is home to Doc & Clyde’s Ice Cream Freezer Museum, the largest one in the world.
Explore the Arts and Crafts Bungalow
Imagine sipping ice-cold lemonade on the wide wraparound porches of the 1920 Bevel House. This arts and crafts-style bungalow was renovated in 2007 by the Chestnut Square Historic Village Guild and is now available as a reception and event space.
Special Events at Chestnut Square Historic Village
You’ll want to check the website often for special events and tours offered at Chestnut Square Historic Village. One of the highlights of the holidays is the Holiday Tour of Homes. You’ll get to visit the six homes located within Chestnut Square Historic Village decorated in a festive Christmas style. In addition, the tour takes you to several lavishly decorated private homes in Historic Downtown McKinney.
Kids ages 6 through 14 can enjoy the holiday Prairie Adventure Camp where they’ll make Christmas cookies, sing carols in the historic Chapel, and make gifts and their own wrapping paper. Select activities include hand-spinning wool, candle-making, dulcimer lessons, pillow-making, and for fun, old-fashioned house cleaning.
In late October, feel spooky as you take the Ghostly Hauntings Tour that leads you through the darkened homes of Chestnut Square Historic Village. You’ll experience audio and visual clips of paranormal and ghostly sightings within the homes.
What did you think about spending the day at the beautiful Chestnut Square Historic Village? What was your favorite part about the village? Was there a special place that resonated with you? If so, feel free to share your thoughts with our team at Huffines Hyundai McKinney and we’ll add it to our list of things to do when exploring this historic site.