Quarterly News from Historic Waxahachie, Inc. (HWI)

Letter From Our Executive Director

During the month of August, 350 people representing 16 states and 2 foreign countries came through the downtown Visitor's Center located in the Ellis County Museum. Some came to visit family and friends, some came to shop or dine on the square, but most, I would argue, came for the historic homes, buildings, and landmarks that can only be found in Waxahachie.

Heritage Tourism brought in an estimated $5.9 million for our city in 2016, yet many of the sites that attract tourists from all over the world have no protection from encroaching development, neglect, or owners who are unaware of the historic significance of their property. Without preservation efforts in place, the tourism that Waxahachie currently enjoys is at risk, because once these landmarks are torn down, they are lost forever.

Since 1977, Historic Waxahachie, Inc. has worked to preserve our city's historic sites, educate the public on the importance of proper restoration methods, and advocate at the local, state and national level to safeguard our city's rich history. We seek to encourage Heritage Tourism by ensuring our historic gems remain for future generations to enjoy. 

This year, we have formed a Strategy & Planning committee that will be reviewing our mission statement and bylaws, as well as setting goals for the future of the organization. In addition, we have several board members who will be attending the Texas Historical Commission's Real Places conference in January to stay current on best preservation practices.

I invite all of you to get involved in the numerous programs and initiatives we have underway and let us know if you have ideas or suggestions for things we should be doing in the future. 

Thank you for your continued support of HWI and for working with us to secure our city's future by preserving its past. 

Chelsea Klepfer

Wyatt & Calaboose Tours During Oddfest (Oct. 6)

Historic Waxahachie is offering tours of the historic Wyatt & Calaboose buildings from 11am-2pm on Saturday, October 6th during Oddfest. Oddfest benefits our local Oddfellows Chapter who do so much for the community, so please come out and help us support this local event! If you'd like to help, please contact Emily Finch.

Courthouse Tours During Texas Country Reporter (Oct. 27)

HWI is excited to once again be a part of the annual Texas Country Reporter festival that brings thousands of people from all over the state to downtown Waxahachie! Tours of our beautiful Courthouse will be offered from 10am-2pm. Contact Sarah Pickard if you'd like to sign up to be a tour guide.

Operation Hands On History: Veterans Day Event (Nov. 10)

HWI is partnering for the 2nd year with the Veterans Day reenactors, Ellis County Museum, Waxahachie Downtown Merchants, and local schools to put on a "history walk" for families during Veterans Day Weekend. Students who participate will receive a voucher at the event that can be returned to school for campus-based incentives. Join us November 10th, from 1-3pm, followed by the WWII Reenactment at 3:30pm. We are so excited to be part of this event that brings in people from all over the country and educates local youth using the history in and about Waxahachie as their canvas. Contact Sarah Pickard if you'd like to get involved.

Annual Christmas Party (Dec. 2)

Save the date! HWI invites members to our annual Christmas Party & Membership Meeting on December 2nd, from 2-4pm at Railport Brewing Co. (405 W Madison St).

Each year Historic Waxahachie recognizes individuals, businesses or organizations that contribute to the historic preservation of our city by taking actions to restore our valuable historic resources. If you have recommendations for one or more of these award categories, please send them to Chelsea Klepfer.


Ellis County was once the largest cotton producing county in the country. The 1880 Agricultural Schedule indicated that 52,172 bales of cotton were ginned in Ellis County. By 1910, that figured had more than doubled to 106,384.

Wyatt & Calaboose

Work on the Wyatt & Calaboose buildings continues! We treated both buildings for termites in July and added moon lights for security after the Police Department moved in August / September. We are currently seeking and interviewing carpenters for woodwork repair to the Wyatt. Once completed, we will have all windows replaced and secured and have the building brush painted antique white. Our goal is to have both buildings completed and open to the public for viewing in 2019. Contact Jerry Chapman if you'd like to help with these buildings.

Interurban Railcar

HWI is thrilled to announce that we received a grant for $5,000 from Waxahachie Foundation Inc. to help fund the restoration of the Interurban freight car! We are working on getting the railcar into a building for the reminder of the restoration process, but for now the car remains at Lion's Park near the entrance of the Convenience Station for anyone who would like to drive by and see it. Contact Greg Nehib if you would like more information or to learn how to get involved with this project.

MKT Caboose

The restoration of the historic MKT Caboose located in downtown Waxahachie is complete! On May 26th, Historic Waxahachie and the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the occasion and the caboose was open for the public to tour.

HWI plans to open the caboose for tours at various times throughout the year in the future. Also, be sure to drive by it at Christmas time to see it decked out with lights!

If you'd like more information on this restoration project, please contact us.

Oral History

HWI recently completed a new Oral History recording featuring Steve Chapman on The Car Culture of the 1950s and 1960s in Waxahachie. You can find many Oral History audio recordings and transcripts on our website. The goals of the project are to interview residents who can give a first-hand account of daily life in Waxahachie's past, and collect information about Waxahachie which could be used for academic research or public dissemination.

Anyone who is interested in participating as an interviewer, transcriber, editor or researcher can contact John Wedel.


"Restoration" vs. "Rehabilitation"

To restore a house means to return its interior and exterior appearance to a particular date or time period. Strict restorations—ones that eliminate everything not present during the period chosen—are rare for homes, with most owners opting to maintain modern systems (plumbing, anyone?) and sympathetically designed changes, such as later additions, that add to the house’s history.

To rehabilitate a house means to make it useful and functional for contemporary living while preserving important historic and architectural features. For example, a rehabilitated old house would always include modern electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems, a modern kitchen, and other attributes typical of present-day homes.

Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation

HWI Receives Grant from Waxahachie Foundation

Historic Waxahachie Inc. was honored to be selected as one of the grant recipients from the Waxahachie Foundation! This grant will help fund the restoration of a 100-year-old Interurban Railcar which, once completed, will be donated to the City of Waxahachie for the public to enjoy.

HWI Website Gets An Upgrade

Thanks to the one and only John Wedel for all of his hard work to make the Historic Waxahachie website better than ever! If you haven't been to www.historicwaxahachie.com, be sure to check out.

Oldham Street Becomes First Historic District in Waxahachie

Waxahachie has its first residential historic district--the Oldham Street Historic Overlay District. The Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) has been working very hard on this ordinance which passed unanimously at the September 17th City Council meeting after many residents and concerned citizens voiced their support. Protection and proper preservation of our beautiful historic neighborhoods is needed. Not only does historic preservation bring in tourists and tax revenue to our city, our culture and history is at stake. If we lose our homes, we lose the charm and character that makes Waxahachie so special and unique. HWI fully supports the efforts of the HPC.

You can read more about this new district in the Waxahachie Daily Light article. HWI would like to clarify one point in the print version of the article where it says "...residents can opt out now under current rules. With the district, they are not required to participate." Now that the district is in place, residents looking to make changes to their home's facade have to receive approval from the HPC before permits for the work can be issued.

Window Restoration Workshop Was A Success!

On June 23, HWI hosted a free Window Restoration Workshop featuring awarded historic preservation expert, Ron Siebler. The event was a tremendous success, with Mr. Siebler discussing why old windows should be saved and demonstrating how to restore an old wooden sash window. Thanks to everyone who attended and to the Oddfellows for allowing us to hold this event in their building! Check our online calendar for more education workshops that will be coming your way soon.

Historic Waxahachie Visits Historic Mesquite

On September 21st, Chelsea Klepfer, Kathleen Bowen, Nancy Post and Jane Wedding met with Charlene Orr, the Manager of Historic Preservation for Historic Mesquite, Inc. Charlene and Historic Homes Coordinator, Jordan Gortmaker, gave these HWI representatives a tour of their beautifully restored S.D. Lawrence house at Opal Lawrence Historical Park, which is listed on the National  Register of Historic Places, is a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark, and is recognized as a Century Family Farm by the Texas Department of  Agriculture. If you haven't visited this historic icon in Mesquite, TX, we encourage you to do so!

New Member Spotlight

The Membership Committee is thrilled to report that we have added 29 new members this year!  Special thanks to the Corporate and Lifetime members who have given so much to the organization. We could not continue without your support.

Please help us welcome the following new members...








(Life Member)







(Patron Member)





If you know of anyone that might want to join our efforts to preserve the architectural heritage of Waxahachie, please email our Membership Chair, Becky Kauffman.

Ready to join or want to renew your membership? Click the button below...

Join or Renew Your HWI Membership Online

Serve On an HWI Committee

We are always looking for historically-minded folks to help on the many projects, events, and initiatives that HWI has going on. If you are interested in serving on a committee, please fill out an interest form to have one of our board members contact you.

Become an HWI Board Member

Interested in serving on the board of Historic Waxahachie? HWI is now accepting board nominations, which will be voted on and approved at our Annual Member Meeting in December. If you would like to be considered, please email Greg Nehib.

Other Historic Waxahachie, Inc. Resources:

Tour Waxahachie App

Download our FREE "Tour Waxahachie" App today and explore Waxahachie's historic treasures. Available for Apple and Android.

Historic Markers

Is your home 50 years or older? Consider applying for a Historic Sidewalk Sign or Marker. Learn more here.

Preservation Tools

Find out how to research your historic property and the proper methods of restoring your home. Click here.

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Historic Waxahachie, Inc.

P.O. Box 22, Waxahachie
United States


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