Ellis County, Central
32° 19' 56" N, 96° 37' 27" W (32.332222, -96.624167)
Highways 45, 34, 75, and 287, and
FMs 85, 879, 1183, 1722, and 3413
14 Miles SE of Waxahachie
the county seat
34 Miles SE of Dallas
26 miles SW of Kaufman
19 Miles N of Corsicana
20 miles NE of Italy
39 Miles NE of Hillsboro
Population: 20,357 Est. (2019)
18,513 (2010) 16,454 (2000)
Book Hotel Here Ennis
photo courtesy Dane Williams collection
a Pecan Shell
Named for Col.
Cornelius Ennis, a railroad official of the Houston and Texas Central
Railway, Ennis was established in 1871. 647 acres were purchased by
trustees for a land company in 1872 and the townsite was selected
in May of that year by. Capt. W. G. Veale. Theo Kosse platted the
town. Angry citizens from the bypassed town of Burnham, Texas attacked
Ennis - killing one hapless citizen and wounding several others.
In 1872 a post office was opened and that same year the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church (originally in Burnham) moved to Ennis. The Evening
Argus was first newspaper (1873) and by 1874 the population was
up to 300. By 1890 it had increased tenfold and Ennis had all essential
businesses as well as a brickyard and two weekly newspapers - the
Local and Saturday Review.
Ennis became the northern division headquarters for the Houston and
Texas Central Railroad and the city provided water for the railroad
yards and machine shops. The agreement with the city guaranteed that
as long as Ennis furnished water, the roundhouse and shops would remain
in Ennis. To comply with the agreement, Ennis built three lakes (beginning
in 1891). It wasn't until 1940 that the last lake was completed. Between
1910 and 1915 the railroad attempted to pull their headquarters from
Ennis but the courts held the company to the agreement. In 1894 the
Texas Midland, Ennis' second railroad arrived.
From a population of 6,600 in 1914, Ennis increased slightly to 7,069
by 1930. In the mid 1930s the Texas and New Orleans Railroad absorbed
both the Texas Midland railroad and the Houston and Texas Central.
In 1942 the Texas Midland rails between Ennis and Kaufman,
were abandoned due to Trinity River washouts. Left with a single railroad,
the line was acquired by the Southern Pacific in 1961.
Today, attractions include Lake Bardwell which is a flood control
impoundment as well as a recreactional lake.
Ennis had a 1970 population of 11,550 which has since increased to
over 18,000 in 2010.
| 1911 photo of
the first Ennis Depot before it was destroyed
Photo courtesy Dane Williams Collection
| M.E. Church
photo, May 2005
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact