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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Located in the Singleton Plaza parking area. Downtown walking tour pamphlet calls the 1885 Waxahachie jail a Calaboose. South Western term for a jail. Though the jail was made with boards the construction was based on log cabin construction. Boards were stacked to make the walls. Made the walls thick and sturdy. Even thwarted an attempt by prisoners to burn their way out.

The pamphlet says this prison was mainly used like our modern day "tanks" on Texas OU weekend to hold drunks. Back when Waxahachie was saloon plenty this little Jail stayed pretty busy I imagine.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Summer Moonlight Movies :Places In The Heart

Today Friday June 12, 2009 The Summer Moonlight Movies are showing PLACE IN THE HEART in downtown Waxahachie near the Pocket Park at the corner of College and Franklin Streets. They use the inflatable screen. It will be real interesting and surreal considering the real story took place in 1882 with a shoot out that started on College street.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Gingerbread Trail: The Nay Company(T&BV Depot)

The Nay Company has beautifully restored The Old Trinity and Brazos Valley Depot. The line connected Waxahachie and Corsicana. The building is of Romanesque Revival. Previous owners are Burlington-Rock Island, Burlington Northern and the Burlington-Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF).

The Nay Company began residence in the depot in 1963. In 1998 they purchased the Depot from BNSF and fixed up for their offices. General Contractor Darrell V. Nay and his family took great care to preserve this Waxahachie treasure.

Original features are all of the doors, windows,doorway arches and handrails.

The Gingerbread Trail: Farrar Home

Farrar Home

902 West Main Street

Built in 1887

Modified L-plan with Queen Anne and Neoclassical Revival features. Dr. R. P. Sweatt was the original owner. The turret was added to the front in 1890. Original features are stained glass windows, original pine and oak floors, two coal burning fireplaces,beaded-board ceilings, transoms,bulls-eye moldings, and curved staircase from the entrance hall. A Beautiful home and the owner has a deep Ellis County heritage. Mr Farrar's Great Great grandfather was Hans Smith who brought the first cotton seed to Ellis County.

Gingerbread Trail: Shilling Home

Shilling Home

114 East University Avenue

Built in 1920. Value Builders restored this home starting in 2006. It took 18 months to be restored. The original siding is still in place. The front of the house has the original house numbers made by the original owners. Bricks on the front steps came from the original fire place that had to be replaced.

Gingerbread Trail : Donnelly Home

Donnelly Home

Colonial Revival style cicra 1940. Structual system is two story wood frame and has a side gable roof.

Gingerbread Trail: Davison Home

Davison Home

208 Oldham avenue Waxahachie, Texas

Built circa 1890. Originally the property was owned by a Major Penn. Penn Had a large home at College st and Oldham st where the
post office is currently located. The Picketts were the next owners (The Daughter of Major Penn.) Later was owned by a Mr. McClain who was an early postmaster for Waxahachie.
The Satterfields owned it next and is said to have used as a boarding house. The House has 3.5 baths,parlor,living room,dining room,kitchen,breakfastroom,
and family room. Three of the four fireplaces are original to the house. Mrs Davison's Husband is no longer living but she offered visitors to her house a glimpse of some WWII items of his. He was on the deck of the Arizona when the Japanese bombed it at Pearl Harbor and was burned badly. He served until the end of the War and was on the Missouri when the surrender was signed. So he was literally there at the begining and the end!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ennis Library site of the Cerf Mansion

Click on the above picture to enlarge
This site has some info and where the picture came from.

Ennis Library is on the spot of the old Cerf Mansion. The Cerf mansion was based on the Hospitality Pavillion at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, was built in late 1904 by Ennis Texas Cotton Merchant Louis Isadore Cerf. His widow, Mamie Cerf left it to the City of Ennis who had it torn down in 1967. Jacqueline Kennedy was reported to have written a letter in a paper urging the city of Ennis not to bring down the old Mansion. But Ennis city higher ups believed it was a time of progress and it was brought down. Now stands the Ennis Library. The iron fencing on top of the brick wall around courtyard at the library is the original fencing that was at the Cerf mansion. In the courtyard are beautiful flowers and plants and an Historical marker dedicated to Jack Lummus. Ennis' Congressional Medal of Honor soldier of WWII.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The 3 and half pound gold fish caught october 21,1965

Saw an interesting small story in the Ennis Daily News dated Oct 21, 1965. Jack Walker caught a 3 1/2 pound gold fish at Old Lake in Ennis. It was theorized that the Gold Fish was used as trotline bait and got away.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ernest Tubb plaque in Crisp, Texas

Ernest Tubb the Texas Troubadour "Walking the floor over you" was MR. Tubb's biggest hit put out in 1941.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ellis County Press Article of Ray Cavender's experience with Bonnie and Clyde

Very interesting article of an Ellis County resident's run in with Bonnie and Clyde. Over the years I have talked to Ovilla residents who spoke of Bonnie and Clyde living in the mesquite tree hilly area of Midlothian, Grand Prairie and Cedar Hill. One Midlothian recollection was about Bonnie and Clyde rolling into to town stopping at a burger joint and tipping something like $20 to the waitress. Here is a recollection of Ray Cavender who use to come into the Tote-a-way where I worked in Ovilla when I was younger. Below is the beginning of the article click on the link to read the rest. (Just put your cursor over article section hold shift and left click mouse to open separate window for article.)

OVILLA – Sit back and read a tale of just one of many regarding the remarkable people who make up the Meals-on-Wheels family of Johnson and Ellis Counties.
At the tender age of 12, Ray Cavender ambled out of the woods and into a clearing grinning from ear-to-ear.
It was the early 1930s in Ovilla, Texas, and the farm boy was proud to emerge from the under bush with a veritable feast for his family – two large swamp rabbits that he landed with his shotgun. But from his peripheral vision on a hill to his right he saw a familiar sight to some of his family members in his small community, though no one talked publicly about it.

Thanks to Smiley for the heads up on the article!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

---------Texas Interurban Railway-------

Fred Fitch gave birth to the idea of an interurban electrified railway in North Texas. He wanted to connect Denison and Sherman. In 1899 Fitch asked R H McWilley to survey a route between Denison and Sherman. Fitch and partners purchased College Hills and Park Railway and the City Street Railway Co. of Sherman. Their idea was to compete with the Houston and Texas Central. He would offer more frequent and efficient travel than the HT&C. The population was booming in the Denison-Sherman area and commerce was the catalyst. To insure business and get bodies on Fitch's railway they came up with an attraction between the two cities. Woodlake park was a recreational place for swimming,dancing,boating and family picnics. It was the Six Flags of it's time. Woodlake eventually had a 900 seat theater. The Denison and Sherman Railway remained the same until 1909 when in walks J. F. Strickland who invisioned it's expansion.

J F Strickland at the age of 32 managed the Electric Utility of Waxahachie, Texas. His company later merged with Hilsboro, Cleburne, Dublin,Bonham, and Sherman. He organized the Southwest Electrical Gas Association. In 1905 Strickland,Osce Goodwin,and M B Templeton of Waxahachie wanted to connect the Denison Sherman to Dallas. On September 25,1906 Strickland formed the Texas Traction Company. He conjured up 7 million for the venture. In 1909 J. F. Strickland Company bought controlling stock interest in the Denison Sherman Railway. On April 16th, 1911 the Denison Sherman Railway was sold to the Texas Traction Company. Fred A Jones company of Dallas designed and constructed the line. MIT graduate, Theodore Stebbins was the General Manager of the project. The line used two 1000 kilowatt curtis steam turbine generating units. 300 watt rotary converters supplied 600 dc volts to the trolley wire. The trolley wire was 000 copper wire suspended 19 feet above the rails. Limited service between Sherman and Dallas began October 8,1911. By 1923 the cars were traveling up to a blazing speed of 65 mph. While expanding to the south, the Southern Traction Company was hampered by by light ballasting which limited it's speed to 40 mph.

In 1912 Waxahachie's mule car line, Waxahachie Street Railway Company, was already being converted to electric cars after being purchased by the Southern Traction Company. But the interurbancame to town around the same time so it took most of the people's attention. I believe that a city railway operated separate from the interurban so that you could pretty much go anywhere in town. On the map the city railway branched off the interurban on East Marvin to West University stopping at Sycamore and West Marvin stopping at Ennis st and also traveled down Main street stopping at Grand avenue. Waxahachie's Mayor Prince drove in the last spike in Waxahachie on September 30, 1913 and the "Stock holder Inspection Trip" made the first runs from Hillsboro to Waxahachie and Dallas to Waxahachie. The stockholders left Dallas and Hillsboro at 10:00 am planning to arrive in Waxahachie by 11:30 am. Now, the women of Waxahachie could pack a lunch and spend the day shopping in Dallas and be back in Waxahachie for dinner. In 1913 the automobile still wasn't the norm for travel so you could imagine the efficiency of the traveling on the Interurban.

The merger of Strickland's Texas Traction and Southern Traction created the Texas Electrci Railway. The merger took place on January 31, 1917. J. F. Strickland was elected president. The peak of the interurban patronage was 1920 when they recorded a total of 819,000 passengers. It's decline began in 1930 and the interurban started taking freight to make up for the loss of passenger revenue. But by 1948 the last interurban trip was taken to Waco on the last day of the year. The individualism of the American and his automobile and the development of good roads brought down the interurban. Tale tale signs were noticed by interurban management when they took note of individuals with automobiles stealing their customers at the interurban stations. If the customer was only going a short distance the automobile driver was more efficient but the long trips were better taken on the interurban until the roads got better. When the rods did get better on of the major customers lost by the interurban was the traveling salesmen. They were buying their own cars and hitting the road instead of using the interurban.

NOTE:Now if you noticed Ovilla was left out of the interurban path. Which was another reason for Ovilla's quaintness today besides the fires and the bypass of the railroad. So Ovillians most likely would go to Red Oak or Waxahachie and catch a ride. One incident documented in the Ovilla History Book was that of Bud Cason returning in 1943 from his Pacific service in WWII . As he got off the bus in Dallas he "got on the electric trolley to the little town of Red Oak."







Ennis Interurban Station on Dallas Street and West Baylor where Ennis Black Belt Academy is located

Note: I believe interurban cars could be parked on the back on the West Baylor side



"The electric interurban industry in Texas totaled nearly 500 miles, the second largest interurban mileage among the states west of the Mississippi River. Most of this mileage was in place by 1913, as the industry grew rapidly during the early 1900s to fill the need for frequent passenger service between urban centers that could not be met by existing steam-railroad service. About 70 percent of the mileage was in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where electric lines connected Fort Worth and Cleburne, Fort Worth and Dallas, and Denison, Dallas, Corsicana, and Waco. Another 20 percent was in the Houston-Galveston and Beaumont-Port Arthur areas. The rest was scattered around the state. The decline in mileage was also swift, however, as the growth of improved highways and widespread private car ownership combined to siphon off most of the interurban ridership. By the end of 1941 only two lines, the Texas Electric and the Houston North Shore, a subsidiary of the Missouri Pacific, remained; they were both discontinued in 1948."


----------------------- MAPS OF INTERURBAN IN TOWNS--------------

Sources:Ellis County History Overview, Ovilla History Book,Texas Electrci Railway,When cotton Reigned King: Waxahachie