A photo essay by Jason S. Sullivan, 04-17-20
Waxahachie, Texas | 04-10-20
My wife and I recently spent the afternoon exploring Ellis County. The Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex is mostly urban. It’s nice to get out of the city. The rural areas and smaller towns offer a different area to explore. It’s a change of pace, as the city where we live has more people than the entire population of Ellis County.
We visited Bristol, Ennis, and Waxahachie in Ellis County, which are about 45 miles southeast of where we live. It offered a pleasant drive in the country, with little traffic and few people. The photos from Bristol and Ennis weren’t my favorites, so I decided to focus on the ones from Waxahachie instead.
Waxahachie is the largest city in Ellis County. It’s certainly not a large city (about 37,000 people), but it’s grown substantially in the last 20 years. I grew up visiting Waxahachie as my grandparents lived there. My wife and I both have family there today, so I’m no stranger to the area. I’ve rarely explored in-depth and taken photos, though, which made for a fun afternoon. We didn’t get to spend as much time here as I wanted — another trip will be soon!
The highlight of downtown Waxahachie is the town square. It has a small-town feel and many historic buildings.
The Ellis County Courthouse, which is the most photographed building down in this area, is always worth seeing. The Texas Historical Marker out front states that construction was completed in 1897. The building is the fourth courthouse in this location, with the original being made from cedar logs in 1850.
There are several antique stores and other small businesses in downtown, as well as some restaurants. Many of the streets in the area look similar to this. Small town Americana at its finest!
This mural shows a few things that Waxahachie is known for — Crape Myrtle trees, cotton, houses with a Gingerbread architecture-style, and the Ellis County Courthouse, which happens to be in the background of the photo. I like the motorcycle tucked in the corner. That added a fun touch.
Here’s some trivia. The mural says, “A Place in Your Heart.” It shows sentimentality for Waxahachie, and it looks to be the tagline for the local Convention and Visitors Bureau. It’s also a reference to the 1984 movie, “Places in the Heart,” which was filmed in the city. It starred Sally Field, Ed Harris, John Malkovich, and Danny Glover.
I like this alleyway. There’s some interesting details, and the bars on the windows look cool. Most of downtown is picturesque, but this area shows a little behind the scenes. It almost feels taboo, like peeking behind the curtain of a movie set.
This photo turned out cool. I like the broken chair in the foreground. Why is it there? Was it a leftover prop from a photoshoot? Or something more nefarious? It’s a little bit quirky and thought-provoking.
I like the brickwork on this wall. This wall has personality, I’ll give it that. The sun peeking over the wall made for a nice effect.
I included these photos because they show a glimpse of the past. There used to be a building in the open space, but I believe it was destroyed by fire. You can see the different layers in the wall of the building next door. The type of floor shown in the second photo must have been common back then. There’s a restaurant downtown that has a similar floor. I like that they left the area the way it is.
Last but not least. There’s a wall downtown with “GRAFFITI IS ILLEGAL” spray-painted on it. Isn’t this graffiti in and of itself?
We strayed away from the town square and explored some of the other sights.
There’s a bit of a revival going on near the downtown area. Railyard Park is scheduled to open in Spring 2020. It will have an outdoor amphitheater, parking for food trucks, and historical appreciation areas. It’s near the Railport Brewing Company, which is a new local brewery. Evidently, the railroad has some significance for the area — which is a reminder of how much small towns and rural areas used to heavily depend on the railroad.
The areas along the railroad tracks offered some cool sights. The large building is Boyce Feed and Grain. I’m not entirely sure of the past, present, and future of this area, but it made for some interesting photos.
Rogers Street Bridge
The Rogers Street Bridge is just plain cool. Anytime a bridge has a Texas Historical Marker, it deserves a view. This truss bridge, which was built in 1889, was vital to the growth and development of the city.
The woods near downtown provided some scenic views. We saw a bridge that my wife photographed more than 10 years ago. She still has the photos. The area was much more overgrown than it was back then, and we were amazed at the “before and after” photos.
I like the detail in this photo. (You can also see the overgrowth in the area.) You rarely get to see a bridge from this angle. The rivets, rust, and graffiti are beautiful in their own way, especially in juxtaposition to the natural beauty of the trees.
This is a section of the bridge that sets up the last photo.
I like this way this photo turned out. A bridge that heads deeper into the darkness of the woods has an adventurous (and slightly unsettling) vibe to it.
And that is an afternoon in the downtown area of Waxahachie, Texas. There’s a variety of things to see. It’s a fun area, with plenty more to explore.
For more information about Waxahachie, check out www.waxahachie cvb.com.