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Fire of 1982

On March 6, 1982, a fire started inside 1206 Main Street, the former location of the Palace Theater. The blaze reduced the iconic building, at that time a private club also called “Palace.” The fire leveled two more buildings and caused smoke or water damage all down the north side of Main St.. The H&R Block Office at 1208 Main St. and the Commerce Tax Office at 1202 Main St. were both destroyed in the fire. A western-wear store called Chute 1 Country Clothes (1212 Main St.), the Cinderella Beauty Shop (1200 Main St.), and office of The Commerce Journal (formerly the location of the Security State Bank, 1210 Main St.) were also damaged, with the latter being beyond repair. Although most of the storefronts were repaired, 1200-1210 Main St. were cleared and turned into a downtown greenspace.

The Fire of 1982 was the fourth major fire in downtown Commerce, a town which struggled to enforce building codes and to secure secure a sufficient water supply. Downtown Commerce is forever marked by a legacy of fighting fires in the 1900s. According to Commerce Journal news editor Keith Briscoe, “the dissociative design of businesses which circle the downtown square arises not from poor planning but from the city’s story of restoration.” [1] Fire, in other words, has played a major role in shaping the collection of buildings and greenspaces in downtown Commerce.


North Side of Main St. The pillared building is 1210 Main St., the former Security State Bank Source: Pictorial History of Commerce, 76. Creator: A.M. Howse Date: 1952
Palace Theater Source: Cheryl Westhafer and James H. Conrad, Pictorial History of Commerce, TX. Friends of the Commerce Public Library: 2010, 62. Date: c1931


1210 Main St.


Abigail Croft, “Fire of 1982,” East Texas History, accessed February 3, 2023,