Saturday, September 8, 2018

Bardwell Texas and Vicinity

Once we settle in at a place, we like to take some time and visit the surrounding area. Bardwell is a very small town in Texas so we went north to Waxahachie and south to Corsicana. Both towns offered a glimpse into the past and also provided some shopping centers so we could re-stock our pantry. Here are a few photos of these areas.





Not everything is oversized in Texas! Bardwell, Texas is a small farming community of only 649 hearty souls. Mostly cotton farming with some grain mixed in. This is their City Hall. The town was founded in 1880 by John Bardwell who saw the potential for cotton growing and brought the first cotton gin to the area.


In the early 1900s, Bardwell prospered with three cotton gins and six grocery stores. It had it's own telephone and electricity system. However, the main road through town was abandoned with the construction of State Hwy 34 and many of the businesses closed. Today there is only a small convenience market and a gas station. The post office, formed in 1894 remains. This is the Police Station.



A short drive south of Bardwell Lake takes you to Corsicana Texas, population 25,000. This bustling community was founded in 1848 and is about an hour south of Dallas. The town gained notoriety when prospectors trying to find water, discovered oil instead. It was the first commercially significant oil field in Texas.




Old town Corsicana is home to Collin Street Bakery, making fruitcakes and shipping worldwide since 1896. Wolf Brand Chili is also made here. Major shopping includes The Home Depot, Harbor Freight Tools, WalMart and Kohls. In fact, Kohls main warehouse is located just outside town.




We love old churches. This one at 398 N 15th St. was built in 1896 and the steeple was the tallest structure in town until the mid 1960s. The middle steeple, which is actually a spire, was damaged beyond repair and had to be completely replaced in 2016. The church is the First United Methodist Church. 











Our third day at Bardwell Lake turned out to be overcast with a chance of rain showers. We thought we'd take advantage of that and head north for some shopping and sightseeing. Nice sunny days would be spent on the lake. I wanted to buy a couple spring floats for enjoying the lake and the local Target had some in stock. Waxahachie, Texas is just north of Bardwell Lake and about 35 minutes south of Dallas. The population is about 40,000. The town was founded in 1850 and incorporated in 1871. It is known as the Crepe Myrtle Capital of the world. 

After getting my spring floats, we headed into old town to check it out.






Since Waxahachie is the county seat of Ellis County, our first stop was the town square. As with most old towns, the county courthouse was centered in the middle of the town and many shops surrounded it to make the town square.  This is no longer done today. This is the Ellis County Courthouse. It is rated number 8 on the list of  outstanding architectural achievements in Texas. The original courthouse on this site was a log cabin, followed by a limestone 2 story structure. This building was built in 1897 and has been in use ever since.








Richard Ellis was a plantation owner, politician, and judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Alabama. He moved to Texas in 1934 and became involved in politics there. He was a leader of a group that declared Texas' independence from Mexico and he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Later, Ellis served in the Texas legislature.  He died in 1846 at the age of 65. The statue which is located on the west side of the courthouse depicts his as if reading a speech. I rescued the American Flag that someone had carelessly tossed and placed it in his right hand to honor his dedication  and contributions to the Great State of Texas and to the United States.














Erected on the north side of the courthouse is a monument dedicated to the Confederate soldiers of the Civil War. Commissioned and paid for by the Daughters of the Confederacy, the monument stands as a reminder of those who sacrificed everything during our country's struggles in the mid 1800s. The inscription reads:
"IN HONOR OF THE DEAD AND LIVING OF ELLIS COUNTY, WHO WORE THE GRAY, BANNERS MAY BE FURLED, BUT HEROISM LIVES FOREVER. ERECTED BY THE DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY, UNVEILED NOV. 2, 1912."










Surrounding the courthouse is the town square which consists of shops and restaurants. These town squares served as meeting places for the people living nearby. Much like the malls of today, people could take care of all their business in one place and catch up on all the latest news. Most of these buildings were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.





Something we don't see enough of in today's high paced atmosphere. Pride in their town shows with this huge mural on one of the building walls in the town square. Waxahachie, pronounced, Woks-a-hotchee, is "A Place in Your Heart"

Finally, back at Bardwell Lake, looking west from our campsite, over a field of flowers at dusk

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