Waxahachie (population 21,426) was founded in 1850 as the seat of newly created Ellis County. The Romanesque Revival-style Ellis County Courthouse (1897) is the community's architectural crown jewel and is said to be the second-most photographed historic landmark in the State after the Alamo.
A $12 million rehabilitation of the building was completed in 2002. The courthouse square and surrounding area contain one of the finest concentrations of 19th- and early 20th-century commercial architecture in Texas.
Because of the Victorian embellishments on many buildings, Waxahachie is known as "Gingerbread City" and sponsors an annual Gingerbread Tour of Homes. Five historic districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The city is working actively to promote continuing reinvestment and revitalization in its downtown business district, and has developed a master plan that includes historic preservation as a key component.
As a result, significant improvements have been made to the courthouse square and neighboring areas. To promote heritage tourism, Waxahachie participates in the initiatives of the Texas Historical Commission's Texas Lakes Trail Region.
Designated a Preserve America Community in May 2004.
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