Since it was founded in 1850, Waxahachie has been an important agricultural, commercial, educational, retail and transportation center in North Texas. Waxahachie grew rapidly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, mostly due to the prosperous cotton industry. Because of the success of Waxahachie’s early cotton barons, Ellis County quickly became the nation’s largest cotton-producing county during the early 1900s. Cotton played a very important role in the early development of Waxahachie, and as a result, many cotton related industries, including one of the state’s first textile mills, was established in the town.
The strong economy of the late 1800s and early 1900s largely contributed to a construction boom that resulted in the rapid development of the downtown area, as well as large residential neighborhoods with beautiful Victorian homes. In 1895, the historic Ellis County courthouse was completed, and remains as the town’s most impressive landmark today. Visitors from all over the world travel to Waxahachie each year to visit the historic courthouse.
As a result of the Great Depression of the 1930s, demand for cotton greatly decreased, and most of the gins and textile mills were forced to close. Post World War II, Waxahachie entered the automobile age, along with the rest of the nation. Fortunately, when this occurred, Waxahachie benefitted greatly from it’s location. At the time, U.S. 77 and U.S. 287 met at the northwest corner of the downtown area. With the construction of Interstate 35, Waxahachie has continued to benefit from its proximity to these major roadways. Throughout the years, these highways have proven to be a tremendous asset to the economy of the community, providing easy accessibility for commercial facilities and residential development.