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Waxahachie:
Where Cotton Reigned King

by Kelly McMichael Stott

Arcadia Publishing's
The Making of America Series.
December 2002
Vintage photographs courtesy of The Ellis County Historical Museum

A Review by John Troesser

Here's another Arcadia title in the Making of America Series - and another deserving city. Waxahachie is close enough for Fort Worthians and Dallasites to visit (or commute from), yet it has retained the charm and elegance of the quintessential Texas town - a fact proven by it's popularity as a 30's era movie backdrop (Places in the Heart, Bonnie and Clyde to mention just two).

If the Arcadia series is unfamiliar to you, this volume would be an excellent introduction. Besides the generous number of images, the text is candid and revealing. The author reveals that the crime (misdemeanor) of loading cotton bales with rocks to win the coveted honor of heaviest bale was known and practiced in Waxahachie (although it certainly wasn't invented there).

She also blows the cover off of one of Texas' favorite most frequently told legends - the Waxahachie County Courthouse "stonecutter's revenge" - a poignant tale of love and rejection.

The recently restored courthouse is Texas' favorite, although it certainly had its critics at the time of construction. The courthouse is featured in several photos along with the neighboring Rogers Hotel, one of, if not the oldest business in town. Some say the Rogers Hotel has more stories than the library - which happens to be a building with its own interesting story. There's also the Ellis County Museum, several beautiful residences, the Interurban and a wide cross-section of the people who called Waxahachie their home.

The Interurban connected Waxahachie to Waco and Dallas and there are photos, a history and even a route map of service. Also included are the town's mule-powered streetcars, the Chautauqua (building still standing and in use), the rail yard and photos of various businesses, delivery vehicles, people, public servants, pedestrians and picnickers. It's a trip to Waxahachie without leaving home. If you can't make the drive - it's the certainly next best thing and if it's not included in the book - it's not worth knowing.

Other Texas Titles published by Arcadia include: Waco, Del Rio, Fort Clark and Brackettville (one volume), Val Verde County, Big Spring and Howard County, Weslaco and Hidalgo County (separate titles).


John Troesser
May 2003

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