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Waxahachie, Texas
—  City  —
Ellis County Courthouse in Waxahachie
Nickname(s): "The Gingerbread City"
Location of Waxahachie, Texas
Coordinates: 32°23′59″N 96°50′50″W / 32.39972°N 96.84722°W / 32.39972; -96.84722Coordinates: 32°23′59″N 96°50′50″W / 32.39972°N 96.84722°W / 32.39972; -96.84722
Country United States
State Texas
County Ellis
 - Mayor Joe Jenkins
 - 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)
Population (2000)
 - Total 21,426
 Density 536.1/sq mi (207.0/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 75165, 75167, 75168
Area code(s) 972
FIPS code 48-76816[1]
GNIS feature ID 1349560[2]

Waxahachie is a city in Ellis County, Texas, United States. The population was 21,426 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Ellis County.[3]

Waxahachie was the birthplace of Tom Blasingame, considered the oldest cowboy in the history of the American West, R&B singer Tevin Campbell, and also of Byron Nelson, a professional golf legend.

According to An Informal History of Texas by Frank X. Tolbert, "Waxahachie" is an Indian word meaning "cow manure."



Waxahachie is located at 32°23′59″N 96°50′50″W / 32.399861°N 96.847291°W / 32.399861; -96.847291 (32.399861, -96.847291),[4] approximately 30 mi (48 km) south of Dallas, Texas.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 41.2 square miles (106.6 km2), of which, 40.0 square miles (103.5 km2) of it is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) of it (2.91%) is water.


As of the census[1] 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/sq mi (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 out 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.


The first syllable is pronounced "wahks", not "wax" as is often the case. Also, the official Native American meaning of the name is "cow creek" or "buffalo creek" and is not the name of a Native American tribe which is a common misconception. The word "creek" in some translations is "chips" making the town name mean "buffalo chips". Another, much more believable etymology 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'. Source: Dr. David S. Rood, linguist at the University of Colorado, who has been studying the Wichita language since 1965.


The city is home to Southwestern Assemblies of God University and Navarro College, Waxahachie Campus (community college). Waxahachie is also widely known for being the site of the now-defunct Superconducting Super Collider.

It is also 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 Trails festival features tours of many of these homes.

Additionally, Waxahachie became popular in the movie industry in the mid 1980's. 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, as were the movies "1918" and "The Trip to Bountiful". All four were filmed in 1985 or 1986. The long-running television series Walker, Texas Ranger, starring Chuck Norris also 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; Chaparral Steel, Texas Industries, Holcim and Ashgrove are within 10 miles in neighboring city Midlothian, TX. As a result of the high concentration of industry in this area (including 3 cement plants), Positions for these companies are mainly filled through the Texas Workforce Commission which has an office in the city.

Among the larger non-industrial employers in the city are Baylor Medical Center and the Waxahachie Independent School District.


Aerial view of Waxahachie, looking north, about 1908

Waxahachie is served by the Waxahachie Independent School District. The district, recently identified as a rapidly growing district[citation needed], 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. Waxahachie Global High School, an ECHS T-STEM school emphasizing instruction in science, math and technology 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 TexasTwo 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 vocational courses. Waxahachie High School is classified as 4A and offers a range of extracurricular activities to its students, including football, 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 since 1989.

The area is also served by several private schools offering K-12 education.

Two post-secondary educational institutions have campuses in the city of Waxahachie. Navarro College, a community college located in Corsicana, TX, 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.


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 barren locations that more closely resembled the West Texas area. The Texas town portrayed in Tender Mercies is never specifically identified.[5]

The 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.

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.


External links



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