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Waxahachie ( WOK-sə-HA-chee) is the county seat of Ellis County, Texas, United States. It is located just beyond the southern suburbs of Dallas and is part of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. Its population was 29,621 at the 2010 census, with an estimated population of 37,988 in 2019.
About Waxahachie, Texas
Some sources state that the name means “cow” or “buffalo” in an unspecified Native American language. One possible Native American origin is the Alabama language, originally spoken in the area of Alabama around Waxahatchee Creek by the Alabama-Coushatta people, who had migrated by the 1850s to eastern Texas. In the Alabama language, waakasi hachi means “calf’s tail” (the Alabama word waaka being a loan from Spanish vaca).
That there is a Waxahatchee Creek near present-day Shelby, Alabama, suggests that Waxahachie shares the same name etymology. Many place names in Texas and Oklahoma have their origins in the Southeastern United States, largely due to forced removal of various southeastern Indian tribes. The area in central Alabama that includes Waxahatchee Creek was for hundreds of years the home of the Upper Creek moiety of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Again, this would suggest a Muscogee Creek-language origin of Waxahachie. “Waxahachie”, therefore, may be an anglicized pronunciation of the Muscogee compound word wakvhvce from the Muscogee words wakv (meaning “cow” derived from the Spanish vaca) and the Muscogee word hvcce (meaning “river” or “creek”).
A second etymology that has been suggested for the name is insisted on by speakers of Wichita, the language of the tribe that used to live in the area, but now lives mostly around Anadarko, Oklahoma. Wichita people claim the name comes from their word waks’ahe:ts’i . It means “fat wildcat”. History
Waxahachie was founded in August 1850 as the seat of the newly established Ellis County on a tract of land donated by early settler Emory W. Rogers, a native of Lawrence County, Alabama, who migrated to Texas in 1839. It was incorporated on April 28, 1871, and in 1875, the state legislature granted investors the right to operate a rail line from Waxahachie Tap Railroad to Garrett, Texas, which greatly increased the population of Waxahachie.
From 1902 to 1942, Waxahachie was the second home of Trinity University, which was a Presbyterian-affiliated institution founded in 1869. Then-Trinity’s main administration and classroom building is today the Farmer Administration Building of Southwestern Assemblies of God University. Trinity’s present-day location is San Antonio.
The town is the namesake of the former United States Naval Ship Waxahachie (YTB-814).
In 1988, the area around Waxahachie was chosen as the site for the Superconducting Super Collider, which was to be the world’s largest and most energetic particle accelerator, with a planned ring circumference of 54.1 miles (87.1 km). Seventeen shafts were sunk and 14.6 miles (23.5 km) of tunnel were bored before the project was cancelled by Congress in 1993.
Waxahachie has a history of segregation and racism that came into the national spotlight in 2020, when County Judge Todd Little banished the county’s only elected African American, Constable Curtis Polk, Jr., to the basement of the courthouse and forced him to office under a stairwell next to a segregation-era sign that read “Negros”. Facing the national spotlight, Little, a Republican, did an about-face and agreed to move Polk, a Democrat, and to remove the sign. He is now facing criminal charges for vandalism. Little and his all-white, all-Republican, and all-male commissioners’ court has refused to remove Jim Crow-era Confederate statues from the courthouse lawn, despite concern about them from members of the county’s African American community and others.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification, Waxahachie has a humid subtropical climate, Cfa on climate maps.
As of the census of 2010, 29,621 people were living in the city. The population density was 536.1 people per sq mi (207.0/km2). The 7,909 housing units averaged 197.9/sq mi (76.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.9% White, 14.2% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.10% from other races, and 2.20% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 26.0% of the population.
The total estimated population as of 2016 was 34,345.
Of the 7,325 households, 36.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.3% were not families. Of all households, 21.9% were made up of individuals, and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.73, and the average family size was 3.18.
In the city, the age distribution was 26.9% under 18, 13.3% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.3% who were 65 or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $43,213, and for a family was $50,048. Males had a median income of $32,597 versus $23,838 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,003. About 10.5% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.3% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.
Employment opportunities in the city are highly oriented toward industry. Owens Corning, Georgia-Pacific, International Paper, James Hardie Industries, Berry Global, Americase, Cardinal Glass, Magnablend, and Dart Container are located within a few miles of each other. Nonindustrial employers include Baylor Scott & White Health, Waxahachie Independent School District, Walgreen Distribution Center, Wal-Mart, HEB Grocery, Navarro College, and Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
Arts and culture
Annual cultural events
The Scarborough Renaissance Festival (also called Scarborough Faire), a Renaissance fair theme park, is located southwest of the town. It opens annually during April and May, and has been in operation since 1981. The city’s annual Gingerbread Trail Festival features tours of many of the Gingerbread homes.
Bethlehem Revisited is located behind Central Presbyterian Church.
The Texas Country Reporter Festival (hosted by Bob Phillips) features artists, craftsmen, music, and food from all over the Lone Star State – much of it featured on the TV show over the years. Tourism
Waxahachie is locally known for its elaborate Richardsonian Romanesque courthouse. The town also features many examples of Victorian architecture and Gingerbread-style homes, several of which have been converted into bed and breakfast inns. The Ellis County Art Association hosts ART On The Square (Cultural Attractions- Events- & Facilities; 113 West Franklin Street). Parks and recreation
Parks in Waxahachie include Spring Park, Getzendaner Memorial Park, Richards Park, and Sheaffer Full Life Center - Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
The city of Waxahachie is a voluntary member of the North Central Texas Council of Governments association, the purpose of which is to coordinate individual and collective local governments and facilitate regional solutions, eliminate unnecessary duplication, and enable joint decisions. State government
Waxahachie is represented in the Texas Senate by Republican Brian Birdwell, District 22, and in the Texas House of Representatives by Republican John Wray, District 10.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Waxahachie District Parole Office in Sherman. Federal government
At the federal level, the two U.S. senators from Texas are Republicans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; since 2003, Waxahachie has been part of Texas’ 6th Congressional District, which is currently represented by Republican Ron Wright (politician).
The United States Postal Service operates the Waxahachie Post Office.
Primary and secondary
Waxahachie is served by the Waxahachie Independent School District (WISD), which currently has eight elementary campuses, three middle school campuses, and two high schools. WISD aims to offer all of its students a well-rounded education and offers advanced-placement and dual-credit courses, as well as varied career and technology courses.
Waxahachie High School, classified as 6A, offers a range of extracurricular activities to its students, including football, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball, golf, tennis, concert and marching band, drama, choir, drill team, and dozens of academic teams and clubs.
Several of the school’s programs have achieved national recognition in recent years. The football program has made the playoffs every year from 1989 to 2010.
Waxahachie Global High School, an ECHS T-STEM school emphasizing instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in a small-learning-community environment, as well as an early college high school, opened on August 27, 2007. During the first decade of its incorporation, the school has produced many students recognizede for their achievements, including a National Merit finalist.
In addition to the district schools, Life School, a public charter-school system, operates the 7-12 Waxahachie campus. On April 15, 2014, Life School broke ground on a new high school in Waxahachie, planned to accommodate about 1,000 9th-12th graders. Private schools
The area is also served by several private schools, including Waxahachie Preparatory Academy (WPA), St Joseph Catholic School, and First Christian Day School. WPA and the First Christian Day School offer a kindergarten–grade 12 education, while St Joseph only has kindergarten-grade 8.
Colleges and universities
Two postsecondary educational institutions have campuses in the city of Waxahachie. Navarro College, a community college based in Corsicana, Texas, has a campus in Waxahachie. Southwestern Assemblies of God University, a private, four-year university affiliated with the Assemblies of God, offers accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees.
U.S. Route 287, also a freeway, runs in a northwest-southeast direction through the north side of the city. The freeway connectswith Midlothian, Mansfield, and Fort Worth to the west and Ennis to the east. U.S. Route 77, a north-south highway, serves as the main thoroughfare through the city, passing through downtown and the northside of the city. The highway parallels Interstate 35 and reconnects with the interstate just outside the city limits. Many of thecity’s commercial developments line Highway 77.
Robert J. Groden, a JFK assassination expert, released the Zapruder film on national TV on March 6, 1975.
In the mid-1980s, Waxahachie became a filming location for the movie industry.
The majority of Tender Mercies, a 1983 film about a country western singer, was filmed in Waxahachie. Director Bruce Beresford deliberately avoided the city’s picturesque elements and Victorian architecture, and instead filmed more rural locations that more closely resembled the West Texas area. The Texas town portrayed in Tender Mercies is never specifically identified. Tender Mercies starred Robert Duvall, who won the 1983 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the film.
The 1984 film Places in the Heart starring Sally Field was also filmed in Waxahachie. Unlike Tender Mercies, it was filmed deliberately in the town square and used the Victorian and plantation homes still intact in the area. Field won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1985 for her role in the film.
The 1985 film The Trip to Bountiful starring Geraldine Page was also filmed in Waxahachie. Page won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1986 for her role in Bountiful.
Other movies made in or around Waxahachie are:
1918, directed by Ken Harrison, tells of the severe influenza outbreak after soldiers returned from World War I. Local talent inthe film includes L.T. Felty, a former high-school principal and local actor, who was cast as the mayor. On Valentine’s Day, also directed by Ken Harrison, is the central film in Horton Foote’s semiautobiographical trilogy that alsoincludes Courtship and 1918. It is a nearly verbatim retelling of his stage play and the sets and costumes. Missionary Man stars Dolph Lundgren and was filmed in downtown Waxahachie around the Rogers Hotel. The Curse of Inferno, starring Pauly Shore and Janine Turner
Additionally, the long-running television series Walker, Texas Ranger, starring Chuck Norris, was filmed in Waxahachie on occasion. Some scenes in Prison Break were filmed in Waxahachie. Scenes from Bonnie and Clyde (1967) were also shot here.
In 2018, an animated short film from Crypt TV titled Dark Vessel featured the town as its 1977-based setting.
Sabinas in Coahuila, Mexico, has been proposed as Waxahachie’s sister city. Sabinas is located about 70 miles (110 km) south of Eagle Pass, Texas.