Texas Authors Institute of History

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Railroading in Ellis County

Author: Laurie J. Wilson and Peggy Holland Rankin
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
ISBN: 978-0738579153
Copyright: August 2010
Pages: 128

The Houston and Texas Central Railroad made its way through eastern Ellis County in 1871 and played an integral role in the founding of Ennis, Texas. Eventually, that community would be designated as a division point along the line. The H&TC’s arrival also brought growth and prosperity to other communities on the line, including Alma, Garrett, Palmer, and Ferris. It made its mark on the area. The Waxahachie Tap was the vision of many of that city’s earliest settlers. Within a decade of its completion in September 1879, Waxahachie’s cotton production multiplied and the town would soon earn the moniker “Where Cotton Is King.” Midlothian and its surrounding communities would never be the same once connected by the Chicago, Texas, and Mexican Central Railroad in 1881. The rail had arrived and Ellis County was transformed.

The Ennis Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum was instrumental to this project. Located in the former depot, it is a testimony to the historical role the railroad played in Ennis and all of Ellis County. Images were also gathered from the Ellis County Museum, City of Ennis, Ennis Public Library, and the Ford Curry Collection. Laurie Wilson is a member of the Ellis County Czech Heritage Society, Ellis County Museum, and both she and coauthor Peggy Rankin are members of the Ennis Heritage Society.