Ennis, Texas

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Ennis, Texas
City
Intersection of Ennis Ave. and Dallas St., Downtown Ennis
Intersection of Ennis Ave. and Dallas St., Downtown Ennis
Location of Ennis, Texas
Location of Ennis, Texas
Ellis County Ennis.svg
Coordinates: 32°19′56″N 96°37′27″W / 32.33222°N 96.62417°W / 32.33222; -96.62417Coordinates: 32°19′56″N 96°37′27″W / 32.33222°N 96.62417°W / 32.33222; -96.62417
Country United StatesUnited States
State TexasTexas
County Ellis
Government
 • Type Council-Manager
 • City Council Mayor Russell Thomas
Bob Taylor
Jeremie Salik
Carolyn C. Frazier
Tom Abram
Lola Searcy
Dale Holt
 • City Manager Chuck Ewings
Area
 • Total 18.4 sq mi (47.7 km2)
 • Land 18.0 sq mi (46.6 km2)
 • Water 0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2)
Elevation 538 ft (164 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 18,513
 • Density 891.7/sq mi (344.3/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 75119-75120
Area code(s) 972
FIPS code 48-24348[1]
GNIS feature ID 1335474[2]
Website EnnisTX.gov

Ennis is a city in Ellis County, Texas, United States, and a southeastern suburb of Dallas. The population was 18,513 at the 2010 census.

History[edit]

The founding of Ennis was part of the great westward expansion following the Civil War that was aided by the development of steam transportation. In 1872 the Houston and Central Texas Railroad (H&TC) arrived at the spot that then became Ennis. The city is named for Cornelius Ennis, an official of the railroad. Ennis served as Mayor of Houston (1856–57), and as a director of the Houston Tap and Brazoria Railway and H&TC.[3]

The city began with just a few buildings east and west of the tracks. Lumberyards, cotton warehouses and other freight sheds lined the tracks and the main commercial center of Ennis. To the south near Main and Lampasas Streets several cotton gins served to process the cotton grown in eastern Ellis County. The first commercial firms were dry goods, clothing and pharmaceuticals shops that met the basic needs of the new settlers.[3] As an incentive to settlement, the railroad offered free town lots to any Christian communion that would build a church.[4]

Between 1874 and 1890, the population grew from 300 to 3,000. Many of the settlers came from the war-torn Confederate States of America and others came from the war-ravaged European nations that later became Czechoslovakia.[3]

In 1891, the H&TC chose Ennis as its northern division headquarters in an agreement requiring that Ennis provide water for the railroad. The machine shops and roundhouse employed several hundred men. One condition of the agreement was that as long as Ennis was able to furnish water the shops could not be moved from the community. The city built the first of three lakes for this purpose in 1892, followed by another in 1895, and the last in 1940 [4]

The railroad also led to the expansion of the cotton industry, providing access to foreign and domestic markets through the port of Houston. By 1920, a total of 152,601 bales of cotton were ginned and shipped from Ellis County, the most of any county in America. The Ennis Chamber of Commerce adopted the slogan 'Where Railroads and Cotton Fields Meet."

Railroads and cotton had produced the wealth that could be seen in the residential development of the city. Residents had built beautiful churches of many different denominations and numerous fraternal organizations met regularly to espouse action to strengthen the social fabric. Elegant houses along “the Avenue” and north were accompanied by dozens of Folk Victorian houses and Craftsman style bungalows.[3]

By mid-twentieth century Ennis had become a modern community with schools, three movie theaters, several drugstores, banks and automobile dealerships. The sons and daughters of early settlers had developed new traditions like the National Polka Festival and the Ennis Bluebonnet Trail. Moreover the city was connected to the growing metropolis of Dallas to the north by Interstate Highway 45. Since then, citizens of Ennis have been able to experience the best of two worlds, participation in the attractions of a large, dynamic city and the familiar street-scape of a unique, nurturing community.[3]

Geography[edit]

Ennis is in the Northeastern region of Texas. The city is 39 miles (63 km) south of Dallas and 74 miles (119 km) northeast of Waco, Texas. Ennis covers 18 square miles (47 km2) of land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) of water.

Climate[edit]

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Ennis has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[5]

Ennis was the site of the final twister in the May 15–17, 2013 tornado outbreak. The EF1 damage impacted the National Register Historic District and many of the other businesses in town.

Government[edit]

The city of Ennis has a City Commissioner/City Manager government type with several commissions representing different departments in the city government. Ennis is home to the congressional office of US Representative Joe Barton, which is located within Texas's 6th Congressional District of which he represents. Ennis is also a part of the Texas Congressional District represented by Jim Pitts

Ennis is the only incorporated city in the United States that still elects its City Marshal. The election is held every two years with the winner being named Chief of Police by the City Council and City Manager. Currently the post is held by Chief John Erisman.

Below is a list of members of the City Administration and their position:

Department Director
City Manager Chuck Ewings
City Secretary Donna Batchler
City Attorney Richard Wilson
Municipal Court Judge Lee Johnson
Police Chief John Erisman
Fire Chief Jeff Aycock
Fire Marshal Gary Howell
Finance Director Cliff Copeland
Economic Development Coordinator Marty Nelson
Director of Utilities Robert Bolen
Director of Public Works OPEN
Chief Building Official Mark Richardson
Director of Health Services Chauncy Williams, R.S.
Human Resources Diane Kellenberger
Director of Parks & Recreation Andy Wolfe
Library Director Jessica Diaz
Director of Tourism Gina Rokas

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,351
1890 2,171 60.7%
1900 4,919 126.6%
1910 5,669 15.2%
1920 7,224 27.4%
1930 7,069 −2.1%
1940 7,087 0.3%
1950 7,815 10.3%
1960 9,347 19.6%
1970 11,046 18.2%
1980 12,102 9.6%
1990 14,278 18.0%
2000 16,454 15.2%
2010 18,513 12.5%
[6]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 16,045 people, 5,335 households, and 3,947 families residing in the city. The population density was 891.7 people per square mile (344.4/km2). There were 5,618 housing units at an average density of 312.2 per square mile (120.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 66.57% White, 14.71% African American, 0.47% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 15.93% from other races, and 2.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 33.19% of the population.

There were 5,335 households out of which 38.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.4% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.0% were non-families. 22.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.45.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.4% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,923, and the median income for a family was $44,608. Males had a median income of $28,585 versus $22,855 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,677. About 10.4% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.3% of those under age 18 and 15.7% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

The City of Ennis is home to the Ennis Independent School District, which consists of two early childhood centers, four elementary schools, two intermediate schools, one junior high, and Ennis High School. Secondary education offers several extracurricular programs, such as UIL (University Interscholastic League) Academics and Sports, TSA (Technology Student Association), and the National FFA Organization. Sports offered in either junior high and up or exclusively high school include baseball, football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, cross country running, track, powerlifting, softball, soccer, and golf.[7]

St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church once offered a K-12 private school, but was shut down in 2008 due to low enrollment and a lack of profit. The curriculum focused on academics infused with Catholic theological teaching. Sports included softball, baseball, basketball, and soccer – all of which were part of other sports groups competing with other private schools.[citation needed]

Events[edit]

The annual National Polka Festival which features Czech cuisine, polka music, dancing, and a parade is held on Memorial Day weekend. The festival started in 1967 by a group of men who thought their Czech heritage should be honored. There is also a contest to find who the Duke and Dutchess of Ennis will be for the year. During the 3 day festival, the Ennis Polka Run takes place to help fund the Rotary Club and the Children's Reading Club of Ennis.

Ennis has an annual Texas Bluebonnet festival during the month of April. During this time, thousands of tourists come to see the bloom of these wildflowers. Ennis was designated by the 1997 State Legislature as the "Official Bluebonnet City of Texas" and home to the "Official Bluebonnet Trail of Texas."

In popular culture[edit]

Scenes from the following movies were filmed in Ennis: Deadly Blessing (1981) starring Sharon Stone; On Valentine’s Day (1986); and Walking Tall:The Payback (2006) with Kevin Sorbo. [8]

Scenes from the documentary Flight of the Butterflies (2012) were filmed on Ennis' bluebonnet trails.

In March 21, 2009, the TV show Pinks: All Out hosted a contest at the Texas Motorplex.

Famous people[edit]

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Perhaps the most notorious people to set foot in Ennis were Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Clyde was reared in nearby Telico and apparently maintained ties to family and friends in the area. While on the lam after a series of robberies in the early 1930s, the gangster couple returned to their native Texas, stopping in Ennis on several occasions.[9]

"Texas Troubadour" Ernest Tubb was born on a cotton farm outside of Ennis. However, the future musician didn’t impress at least one neighbor, a rancher, who warned Ernest’s dad,“That damn guitar’s going to be the ruin of that boy.” [9]

Ginger Rogers came to Ennis in 1913, when she was still a very young child. Rogers' parents were involved in a custody dispute, when her father abducted her from Kansas City and brought her to Ennis to live with his family. Her mother tracked her down two months later.

During an appearance on the Phil Donahue Show in the 1990s, Ginger remembered Ennis as “a quiet place and very pretty, just a little country place with tree-lined streets.” [9]

Irene Castle, the ballroom dancer and silent screen star, waved to fans from her private train when it stopped in the city in 1918.

Then future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed through town on a train while campaigning 1932.[9]

Attractions[edit]

The Ennis Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum is housed in the former Van Noy restaurant building. The museum's collections include: railroad and cultural memorabilia including items related to the Houston and Central Texas Railroad; a large diorama of the old engine roundhouse that once existed just north of the museums location; a large collection of rare china; and a MKT caboose.

The Kachina Prairie is one of the last remaining examples of Texas blackland prairies. Ennis' first bluebonnet trail was marked through this area in 1939.

The Galaxy Drive-In movie theatre opened in 2004 and draws visitors from around the area.

Ennis is home to the Texas Motorplex, a quarter-mile drag racing facility built in 1986 by former funny car driver Billy Meyer. It annually hosts the NHRA O'Reilly Fall Nationals each September, when hundreds of professional and amateur drag racers compete for over $2 million in prize money.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Ennis Historical Society. Ennis Historical Society. Retrieved on May 22, 2015.
  4. ^ a b ENNIS, TX | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). Tshaonline.org (June 12, 2010). Retrieved on 2015-05-22.
  5. ^ Climate Summary for Ennis, Texas. Weatherbase.com. Retrieved on May 22, 2015.
  6. ^ Texas Almanac: City Population History from 1850–2000. texasalmanac.com
  7. ^ "Athletics". ennis.k12.tx.us. 
  8. ^ Ennis Daily News. Etypeservices.com. Retrieved on May 22, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d Czeching Up on History. Ennis Now Magazine. May 2013

External links[edit]