|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2007)|
The uniquely designed Ellis County Courthouse in Waxahachie
|Nickname(s): "The Gingerbread City" "Hachie"|
Location of Waxahachie, Texas
|County||Ellis City Type: Rural/City|
|• City Council||Mayor John Wray
Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Strength
|• City Manager||Paul Stevens|
|• Total||41.2 sq mi (106.6 km2)|
|• Land||40.0 sq mi (103.5 km2)|
|• Water||1.2 sq mi (3.1 km2)|
|Elevation||558 ft (170 m)|
|• Density||536.1/sq mi (207.0/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP codes||75165, 75167, 75168|
|GNIS feature ID||1349560|
Waxahachie was the birthplace of Tom Blasingame, considered the oldest cowboy in the history of the American West, Rhythm and Blues singer Tevin Campbell, Bill Ham (manager for ZZ Top), Byron Nelson, a professional golf legend and Academy Award winning director Robert Benton, who made his 1984 film "Places in the Heart" in his hometown. Bessie Coleman, the first female African-American pilot, moved to Waxahachie at age two, and was reared there; she was born in Atlanta in east Texas. It was often said that Edward (Chief Wahoo) McDaniel was from Waxahachie, but he was born in Bernice, Oklahoma.
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 87.1 kilometers (54.1 mi). Seventeen shafts were sunk and 23.5 km (14.6 mi) of tunnel were bored before the project was cancelled by Congress in 1993.
As of the census of 2000, there were 21,426 people, 7,325 households, and 5,398 families residing in the city. The population density was 536.1 people per square mile (207.0/km²). There were 7,909 housing units at an average density of 197.9 per square mile (76.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.45% White, 17.10% African American, 0.76% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 9.33% from other races, and 1.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19.74% of the population.
There were 7,325 households of which 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 non-families. 21.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 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 years of age 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 the median income 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.
History and name
Waxahachie was founded in August 1850 as the seat of the newly established Ellis county on a donated tract of land given by early settler Emory W. Rogers, a native of Lawrence County, Alabama who migrated to Texas in 1839.
The first syllable of the name Waxahachie is pronounced "wahks" or "woks," not "waks" as is the case with the similarly named Waxahatchee Creek in Alabama and the music group Waxahatchee. It is not the name of an "Indian tribe" as is sometimes assumed. 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 Alabama, waakasi hachi means "calf's tail" (the Alabama word waaka being a loan from Spanish vaca).
A second etymology that has been suggested for the name is insisted on by speakers of Wichita, the language of the tribe which used to live in the area but now lives mostly around Anadarko, Oklahoma. Wichitas claim the name comes from their word waks'ahe:ts'i (the apostrophe represents a glottal stop, like the middle sound in "oh oh"; "a" is schwah ("uh"); "e:" sounds almost like the "a" of "hat"; "ts" before "i" in this language often sounds like "ch" to English speaking ears; "i" has the continental value, like the one in English "machine"). It means "fat wildcat."
Waxahachie is locally known for its elaborate Richardsonian Romanesque courthouse, considered by many to be among the most beautiful of Texas's older courthouses. The town also features many examples of Victorian architecture and Gingerbread homes, several of which have been converted into bed and breakfasts. The city's annual Gingerbread Trail festival features tours of many of these homes.
Additionally, Waxahachie became popular in the movie industry in the mid-1980s. The Academy-Award winning films Places in the Heart (starring Sally Field, Danny Glover and John Malkovich), and Tender Mercies starring Robert Duvall, were both filmed in Waxahachie. The movies 1918 and The Trip to Bountiful were also filmed there. The long-running television series Walker, Texas Ranger, starring Chuck Norris, was filmed in Waxahachie on occasion.
Employment opportunities in the city are highly oriented toward industry: Owens Corning, Georgia-Pacific, James Hardie, Rock Tenn, AEP, and Dart Container are all located within a few miles of each other.
Among the larger non-industrial employers in the city are Baylor Medical Center and the Waxahachie Independent School District.
Waxahachie was the site of the proposed Superconducting Super Collider, a particle accelerator complex similar to the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. The project was cancelled in 1993 due budget problems.
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 Joe Barton.
Colleges and universities
Two post-secondary 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 is a private four-year university affiliated with the Assemblies of God offering accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Waxahachie is served by the Waxahachie Independent School District. The district, recently identified as a rapidly growing district, has begun construction on several new campuses. There are currently five elementary campuses, two middle school campuses, a ninth grade center, and two high schools. Two additional schools are currently under construction and are expected to be finished for the 2008 school year. WISD aims to offer all of its students a well-rounded education and offers AP and Dual Credit courses as well as varied Career and Technology courses.
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. It is considered one of the best in the state of Texas.
Waxahachie High School is classified as 4A and 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. WISD offers several CTSO's to its students including FFA, Skills USA and TSA.
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.
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 K–12 education while St Joseph only has K-8.
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. Mercies starred Robert Duvall, who won the 1983 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the film.
The 1983 film Places in the Heart starring Sally Field was also filmed in Waxahachie. Unlike Mercies, it was filmed deliberately in the town square and utilized the Victorian and Plantation homes still intact in the area. Field won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1984 for her role in the film.
Other movies made in or around Waxahachie are:
—1918, directed by Ken Harrison  tells of the severe flu outbreak after soldiers returned from World War I. Local talent in the film include 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,  the central film in Horton Foote's semi-autobiographical trilogy that also includes 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 and vicinity.
The Scarborough Renaissance Festival (also called Scarborough Faire), a popular Renaissance fair theme park, is located southwest of the town. It opens annually during the months of April and May and has been in operation since 1981.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Staff, Wire services (December 29, 2009). "Q & A: Texas supercollider project scrapped". tampabay.com. St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
- Margaret L. Felty, "WAXAHACHIE, TX," Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 23, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
- On-line Alabama-English Dictionary
- Dr. David S. Rood, linguist at the University of Colorado, who has been studying the Wichita language since 1965.
- RoadsideAmerica.com: Unrequited Love Carvings—Waxahachie, Texas
- "Parole Division Region II." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 15, 2010.
- "Post Office Location - WAXAHACHIE." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 16, 2010.
- "Contact Us." Life School. Retrieved on September 2, 2011. "950 South I-35E Lancaster, TX 75146"
- Bruce Beresford (actor), Robert Duvall (actor), Horton Foote (actor), Gary Hertz (director) (2002-04-16). Miracles & Mercies (Documentary). West Hollywood, California: Blue Underground. Retrieved 2008-01-28.