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Category archives for: History of Ennis

John Rowe

The John Rowe Building, 101 S. Dallas, now home to a number of shops and a restaurant, was built by Hix McCanless, who had been commissioned by Rowe, and early commercial leader, to construct his dry goods store, one of several Ennis firms he owned. Completed in 1905, the familiar red-brick structure with its turreted […]

Soaring in Triumph

Sports weren’t integrated in 1931 but that didn’t stop a local team, the Ennis Colored Eagles, from establishing a stellar reputation. The team’s games were often featured in the Ennis Daily News as well as in Dallas papers. Coached by C.C. Stevenson, a Christmas Day battle with the Terrell Colored Tigers gave the s-called “Negro […]

Fire and Water

In 1950 fire damaged the Ennis Municipal Hospital, a three-story brick building on Lampasses St., designed by Hix McCanless, Ennis’ foremost architect and at one point city engineer. The fire began in an electric motor on the roof of the hospital. A report in the Dallas Morning news stated that most of the damage was […]

Reader remembers Ennis in the 1940s and ’50s

A group of men, some from Ennis (possibly including Fred H. Clark), pose outside a public building in an unidentified city sometime in the 1920s, wearing caps indicating club membership of some kind.  In looking at it, I doubt this image was taken in Ennis. I am unaware of a building of the size pictured […]

More McCanless structures identified

The Telfair House at 209 N. Preston St. is one of the best known and earliest examples of McCanless’s work. Built by him in 1902, it was commissioned by J.S. Telfair of the H&TC Railroad. Presenting the home as a wedding gift to his wife, the former May Allen, J.S. insisted on a number of […]

The bygone days of Frank’s Towne and Towne Square

The Frank’s Towne and Towne Square complex, located in the historic district of downtown Ennis, recently sold,” Henrietta Novotny announced in a recent interview. She and her late husband Frank Novotny have shared many business adventures there since their marriage in 1955. “It’s hard to say goodbye to the home, properties, and business developments Frank […]

Remembering Ennis’ late Tourism Bureau secretary

The recent death of Paul Campo, son of beloved Ennis community figure Paula Campo, reminded many locals of this city’s late tourism secretary who served in her post for over 15 years. At the Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau (ECVB), she ably supported Tourism Director Gina Rokas. All who met the raspy-voiced, smiling Campo were […]

Bardwell nature paths opened to public 15 years ago

Almost 15 years ago I covered the opening of the Bardwell Lake Equestrian and Multiuse Trail at Waxahachie Creek Park. Since the September 2003 launch of the Bardwell Trail Project, equestrians, hikers, joggers and nature lovers of every description have been enjoying the network of paths that stretch into the wooded hills around Bardwell Lake’s […]

Readers revere legacy of Hix McCanless

It was nice to hear from several readers who enjoyed recent articles on this page, including an email from former Ennis City Manager Steve Howerton who said he appreciated my updated article on Hix McCanless. McCanless is one of my favorite people from Ennis history, and he may be one of Howerton’s, too. I know […]

600 residents evacuated after 1976 Ennis explosion

The valve explosion at Polyco in February wasn’t the first time a local industrial mishap made the news. Over 40 years ago, in 1976, an explosion occurred at the FMC chemical plant. No fatalities or injuries resulted but hundreds of people were evacuated due to poisonous fumes from the fire. Unlike most history stories related […]

Texas centennial

June 23, 1936 was declared Ennis Day at the Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas. Mrs. T. J. Womack of Ennis arranged a pageant called “Texas Under Six Flags” especially for the celebration, and children from all over Ennis, including the EHS Band, participated. Read stories like this and more in your latest edition of The […]

Tragic fire

A fire that devastated a city block in downtown Ennis broke out in February 1948. Twelve buildings were lost in the fire, the damage estimated to be in excess of $200,000. An AP report said that firemen “battled flames in zero weather for over seven hours before bringing the blaze under control.” Read stories like […]

Beautifying Ennis

In the summer of 1935 a city-wide beautification program was begun. Fire safety measures and eradication of the mosquito menace were included in the “Clean Up” project launched by Ennis Mayor J. P. Clarke who enlisted the help of local businesses and Boy Scouts troops who distributed leaflets to residents on how they could contribute […]

Lake Bardwell opened to public in 1964

One of the biggest events in Ennis and Ellis County history was the opening and dedication of Lake Bardwell in April 1964. Thanks to Henrietta Novotny, who shared with me her original copy of the Ennis Daily News for April 23, 1964, I learned of the large scale ceremonies planned for the occasion. The whole […]

Rare clothing collection on view at Titanic Museum

Edwardian lingerie items designed by Lucile are among some of the rare garments on loan from at the Titanic. The article I wrote a few weeks ago about my talk to the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution interested some readers who asked me to give more details of the exhibition of […]

Combatting the flu

The flu epidemic that swept the country in 1918 hit Ennis hard. A campaign to prevent the recurrence of the disease through greater sanitary measures was entered into the following year locally with help from the local chapter of the American Red Cross and the Ennis City Commission. Read stories like this and more in […]

WWI hero

First Lieutenant L.C. Hanes of Ennis was cited three times for conspicuous gallantry while serving in France during the First World War, according to a report in the Daily Light on Sept. 5, 1919. One of the citations read: “1st Lt. Lawrence Hanes, 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, near Cantigny, France, on June 7, 1918, showed […]

Call of the Banshees

Not long ago I ran an account of the initial play produced by an independent theater group in Ennis called The Players Club. Well, I found the announcement for its second vehicle Heppenstell’s “The Call of the Banshees.” It was presented March 17, 1933 at City Hall Auditorium and the cast included Lillian Dunkerley, Julia […]

White Sox

A Waxahachie High baseball player, Art Shires, became a captain and baseman for the Chicago White Sox in 1929 bu his new-found fame didn’t keep him away from his friends in Ennis. He came back to the city in March of that year to play with his new team against the Southern Pacific team. Reports […]

A Walk in the Park

Although summer is the most popular time for recreation, one of Ennis’s oldest recreation spots, Kiwanis Park at Old City Lake, is already teeming with locals. At almost any time of day as spring matures one finds joggers, fishermen, kids and couples enjoying the small but picturesque space along Park Street, a mere 1.2 miles […]

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