Waxahachie, Texas

Coordinates: 32°23′59″N 96°50′50″W / 32.39972°N 96.84722°W / 32.39972; -96.84722
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Waxahachie, Texas
The Ellis County Courthouse in Waxahachie
The Ellis County Courthouse in Waxahachie
The Crape Myrtle Capital of Texas[1]
Location of Waxahachie, Texas
Location of Waxahachie, Texas
Coordinates: 32°23′59″N 96°50′50″W / 32.39972°N 96.84722°W / 32.39972; -96.84722
CountryUnited States
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • City CouncilMayor David Hill
Mayor Pro Tem Mary Lou Shipley
Chuck Beatty
Kevin Strength
Melissa Olson[2]
 • City ManagerMichael Scott
 • Total50.73 sq mi (131.40 km2)
 • Land49.50 sq mi (128.21 km2)
 • Water1.23 sq mi (3.19 km2)
558 ft (170 m)
 • Total41,140
 • Estimate 
 • Density767.43/sq mi (296.31/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
75165, 75167, 75168
Area code(s)214, 469, 945, 972
FIPS code48-76816[6]
GNIS feature ID1349560[7]

Waxahachie (/ˌwɒksəˈhæi/ WOK-sə-HA-chee) is the county seat of Ellis County, Texas, United States. Its population was 41,140 in 2020.[8] The city was founded in 1850, and incorporated in 1871. Much of the employment is provided by a number of industries and by educational institutions, including primary and secondary schools, a community college and a private university. In the mid-80's it became a filming location for a number of movies and occasional episodes of television series.


Waxahachie welcome sign

Some sources state that the name means "cow" or "buffalo" in an unspecified Native American language.[9] 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).[10]

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").[11]


Aerial view of Waxahachie, looking north, c. 1908
The United Daughters of the Confederacy Monument was unveiled in 1912 at the Ellis County Courthouse in Waxahachie.
The Texas Theater, across from the courthouse, hosts community events in Waxahachie.
The historic Rogers Hotel, adjacent to the Ellis County courthouse in downtown Waxahachie.
Waxahachie City Hall

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.[9][12] 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.[9]

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[13] before the project was cancelled by Congress in 1993.

In 2020, County Judge Todd Little came into the national spotlight when the county's only elected African American, Constable Curtis Polk, Jr., protested having his office located in the basement of the courthouse next to a segregation-era sign that read "Negroes".[14][15][16] The controversy was resolved amicably when Little worked with Polk to relocate him to another office.



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.[17]


Historical population
2021 (est.)43,368[18]5.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]
Waxahachie racial composition as of 2020[8]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 22,174 53.9%
Black or African American (NH) 5,861 14.25%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 153 0.37%
Asian (NH) 353 0.86%
Pacific Islander (NH) 52 0.13%
Some Other Race (NH) 314 0.76%
Multiracial (NH) 1,558 3.79%
Hispanic or Latino 10,675 25.95%
Total 41,140

As of the 2020 United States census, 41,140 people, 12,522 households, and 9,073 families resided in the city.


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, Walmart, HEB Grocery, Navarro College, and Southwestern Assemblies of God University.[21]

Arts and culture[edit]

Annual cultural events[edit]

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.[22] The city's annual Gingerbread Trail Festival features tours of many of the Gingerbread homes.[23]

Bethlehem Revisited, a re-enactment of the birth of Jesus, occurs behind Central Presbyterian Church in early December.[24]

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.[25]


Waxahachie is locally known for its elaborate Richardsonian Romanesque courthouse.[26] 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 and Facilities; 113 West Franklin Street).

Waxahachie "Gingerbread City" sign

Parks and recreation[edit]

Parks in Waxahachie include Spring Park, Getzendaner Memorial Park, Richards Park, Chapman Park, and Brown-Singleton Park.[27] Getzendaner Park features the historic Chautauqua Auditorium, built in 1902. Lake Waxahachie features a range of camping and fishing areas.[28]


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[edit]

Waxahachie is represented in the Texas Senate by Republican Brian Birdwell, District 22, and in the Texas House of Representatives by Republican Brian Harrison, District 10.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates the Waxahachie District Parole Office in Sherman.[29]

Federal government[edit]

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's 6th congressional district, which is currently represented by Republican Jake Ellzey.

The United States Postal Service operates the Waxahachie Post Office.[30]


Primary and secondary[edit]

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, and 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. The football program made the playoffs every year from 1989 to 2010.[citation needed]Waxahachie Global High School, an ECHS T-STEM school emphasizing instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in a small-learning-community environment, opened on August 27, 2007.

In addition to the district schools, Life School, a public charter-school system, operates a 7–12 grade campus.[31] On April 15, 2014, Life School broke ground on a new high school in Waxahachie, planned to accommodate about 1,000 9th–12th graders.[32]

Private schools[edit]

The several private schools include Waxahachie Preparatory Academy, First Christian Day School, and St. Joseph Catholic School, the first two of which offer a kindergarten–grade 12 education, while the last offers prekindergarten through grade 8.

Colleges and universities[edit]

Two postsecondary educational institutions have campuses in the city of Waxahachie: Navarro College, a community college based in Corsicana, Texas, and Southwestern Assemblies of God University, a private, four-year university affiliated with the Assemblies of God, which offers accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees.


The former Waxahachie Daily Light newspaper office at 200 West Marvin Avenue. The newspaper relocated its office in 2020, and the building now houses the Ellis County offices of Keller Williams Realty.[33]

The first newspaper in Waxahachie, the now-defunct Waxahachie Argus, was established in 1870.[9] The Waxahachie Daily Light has served the town since 1891.[34] Additionally, 47 radio stations are within close listening range of Waxahachie.[35] KBEC radio has served the community and surrounding area since 1955.[36]



Health care[edit]

Both Altus Emergency Center and Baylor Scott & White Health at Waxahachie provide emergency services locally, as does Ennis Regional Medical Center, about 14 miles away in Ennis.[27] Between 2003 and 2010, Waxahachie's healthcare industry added 555 jobs, making it the city's fourth-largest employment sector.[37]


  • Interstate 35E is a major north-south freeway serving as a bypass around the west side of Waxahachie. The freeway connects with Red Oak, DeSoto/Lancaster, and Dallas to the north; Italy, Hillsboro, and Waco to the south.
  • U.S. Route 287, also a freeway, runs in a northwest-southeast direction through the north side of the city. The freeway connects with 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 north side of the city. The highway parallels Interstate 35 and reconnects with the interstate just outside the city limits. Many of the city's commercial developments line Highway 77.

Notable people[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

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 in the 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 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.
  • 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.[51]

In 2018, an animated short film from Crypt TV titled Dark Vessel featured the town as its 1977-based setting.[52]

In 2021, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall and Jack Ingram released a song named for the city on their acoustic album The Marfa Tapes. It was later recorded again with full production for inclusion on Lambert's solo album Palomino in 2022.[53]

Sister cities[edit]

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.[54]


  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[20]


  1. ^ Crape Myrtle capital, chieftain.com. Accessed December 21, 2022.
  2. ^ "Welcome to Waxahachie, TX". waxahachie.com. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  3. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  4. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  5. ^ Popik, Barry (December 31, 2011). "Waxahachian (inhabitant of Waxahachie)". Texas Lone Star Dictioanry. Retrieved September 21, 2022.
  6. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  7. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  8. ^ a b "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
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  10. ^ "On-line Alabama-English Dictionary". unt.edu. Archived from the original on April 14, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  11. ^ Many place names in the Southern U.S. end with "hatchee" or "hachie" such as, famously, "Tallahatchie Bridge". Whether "hatchee" or "hatchie", these names oftentimes derive from either the Muscogee word hvce (tail) or hvcce (a river or a stream). For example, 'Tvlvhvcce (English "Tallahatchie") may be interpreted as "River City" from 'Tvlv (city or town) and hvcce (river or stream).
  12. ^ "Our History". City of Waxahachie, Texas. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  13. ^ Staff, Wire services (December 29, 2009). "Q & A: Texas supercollider project scrapped". tampabay.com. St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  14. ^ Branham, Dana (November 17, 2020). "Ellis County moves Black constable's office near segregation-era 'negroes' sign". Dallas Morning News.
  15. ^ "Black Texas official speaks out against old 'Negroes' sign". Associated Press. November 20, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  16. ^ Spearman, Kahron (November 20, 2020). "Video: Black constable moved to courthouse basement with Jim Crow 'Negroes' sign". Daily Dot. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  17. ^ "Waxahachie, Texas Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
  18. ^ "QuickFacts: Waxahachie city, Texas". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
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  26. ^ "Unrequited Love Carvings, Waxahachie, Texas". RoadsideAmerica.com. Archived from the original on July 3, 2008.
  27. ^ a b "Waxahachie, Texas". 2013 Onboard Informatics. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  28. ^ "Fishing Lake Waxahachie". tpwd.texas.gov. Retrieved April 20, 2024.
  29. ^ "Parole Division Region II Archived 2011-08-20 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 15, 2010.
  30. ^ "Post Office Location - WAXAHACHIE." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 16, 2010.
  31. ^ "Contact Us Archived 2011-09-03 at the Wayback Machine." Life School. Retrieved on September 2, 2011. "950 South I-35E Lancaster, TX 75146"
  32. ^ "Life School Breaks Ground on New High School in Waxahachie". www.lifeschools.net.
  33. ^ Staff Writer. "Daily Light to move downtown". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  34. ^ "WHS Student Traces Origin of Waxahachie Daily Light - Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  35. ^ "Radio-Locator.com". radio-locator.com.
  36. ^ "DFWRETROPLEX.COM - History of Radio in Dallas - Fort Worth, Texas - AM". www.dfwretroplex.com. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
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  38. ^ "Robert Benton". 2014 Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
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  41. ^ "Press Releases". BessieColeman.com. Retrieved August 28, 2022.
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  46. ^ "Why Dale Hansen loves Waxahachie". wfaa.com. February 18, 2016. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  47. ^ Goldstein, Richard (September 26, 2006). "Byron Nelson". The New York Times. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  48. ^ "Jim Pitts Campaign Website". jimpitts.net. Archived from the original on October 26, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
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  50. ^ "About John Wray". wrayfortexas.com. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  51. ^ Barth, Jack (1991). Roadside Hollywood: The Movie Lover's State-By-State Guide to Film Locations, Celebrity Hangouts, Celluloid Tourist Attractions, and More. Contemporary Books. Page 63. ISBN 9780809243266.
  52. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Dark Vessel | Short Animated Film | Crypt TV". YouTube.
  53. ^ Hudak, Joseph (March 10, 2022). "Miranda Lambert Covers Mick Jagger, Sings With the B-52's on New Album 'Palomino'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 12, 2022.
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External links[edit]