Denison’s newest commercial property under construction in the city’s historic downtown district hearkens back to the oldest known building on Main Street.


City Council member Brian Hander shared some details on the oldest known commercial building on Main Street, the Raynal Building located at 202 W. Main Street.


City officials and members of the public from all over downtown witnessed the groundbreaking of downtown Denison’s first new historic designed building in over 30 years Tuesday. That building, located at 614 W. Main Street with a design that is reminiscent of the era the Raynal building was constructed.


According to his book, “Downtown Denison, Texas: A History of Denison’s Commercial District” the building is a two-story Victorian brick building with a facade rebuilt in 1967.


The building itself began construction 141 years ago in 1878. Justin Raynal was the original owner, hence the building name. The building was used as a rental property for the Denison Independent School District at one time as Raynal was a supporter of the school system. After his death he donated his estate to the school district. He had an elementary school named in his honor that was later demolished in 1974.


The building has served as an office space, meat market, and a harness shop. In 1914, it was the home of the Denison Police Department, and the Denison ISD used it as a home base for its taxing district for a number of years. The store front was altered beginning in 1967 to the current look it now retains.


In his book, Hander said one unique early feature of the building was its lack of an exterior entrance to the loft upstairs. There was a stairwell located in the center of the building towards the back of the store. That staircase was relocated to the front of the building in 1892.


The newest building that is being constructed on Main Street will also feature office spaces on the primary floor with lofts on the second floor. It will be built on top of the vacant lot sitting between Gold Star Finance and Denison Glass and Mirror. Owner Scott Marr said his family business, Fmarr Real Estate, has owned the lot for a number of years. He said the original plan was to utilize the space as a parking lot but it was decided to move forward with construction following the city recently passing a construction incentive package designed to lure new development into the few remaining vacant lots on Main Street.


What are some of your oldest memories of Denison’s historic downtown district? Let Denison area reporter Richard A. Todd know by sending email to rtodd@heralddemocrat.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @RichardAToddHD.