Last fall, I headed up to the Metroplex to check out what is possibly the spookiest mansion in Texas — but after surviving my tour inside the haunted house, I decided to explore Waxahachie and see what I could get into. The answer? Alot. Growing up in Fort Worth, occasionally the strange name of this Dallas suburb would pop up in conversation, but I’d never ventured there myself. After spending a day there, I found that Waxahachie is as fun as it’s name is to say (altogether now: WAHKS-UH-HATCH-EE)!
On my way into town, I decided to stop off at a gas station to fill up, and to my surprise, right next to the station was the ever-elusive, magnificent Starship Pegasus! This tribute to the Star Trek spaceship the “Starship Enterprise” was originally built in Italy, TX to be an arcade and restaurant, but that never stuck and now it’s just an abandoned spaceship sitting in a field next to a Shell station off Interstate 35 and the perfect selfie destination.
My first stop in town was going to be the Ellis County Museum, but the Ellis County Courthouse was so mesmerizing, it pulled me off track. Right in the middle of the bustling Town Square, this looming historic courthouse, built in 1897, looks more like an enchanted castle, with its grand architecture and turrets shooting into the sky.
After circling the courthouse a few times (turns out courthouse-gawking while driving is exceptionally difficult), I finally headed on to the Ellis County Museum right off the Square. It’s so packed with information about Waxahachie and Ellis County, I could have spent hours there.
What’s cool about the museum is that it recounts history through the eyes of the locals. I perused exhibit after exhibit packed with personal photos and audio clips describing first-hand accounts of significant moments like blackout drills during WWII, the rising career of Waxahachie native Paul Rapier Richards from a local baseball player to a world-renown player for the Dodgers and Giants and even the impact of the failure of the Superconducting Super Collider (it sounds like a Sci-Fi weapon but it was actually a billion dollar super collider in town that was shut down before it was even finished being built). There’s so much history in this town!
While walking the Square, I found the old Texas Theater, Waxahachie’s first theater that was built in 1895. Sadly, it’s no longer open, but it’s still quite a sight to see. Another point of interest on the Square is Webb Gallery, which could also be described as the weirdest museum in Texas…This art gallery is a collection of art pieces that are both odd and wonderful like a toothpick Ferris wheel and old circus posters!
After making a few trips around the Square, I was parched — luckily Pop’s Burger Stand was just a few blocks away. At this 50s-themed diner, I found relief in a giant frosty mug of Root Beer and a sack full of salty, crispy fries. Also not to be missed are the ginormous burgers!
The Historic Missouri-Kansas-Texas Depot from the late 1800s has been transformed into a chic shop where you can buy a new shirt and learn about the history of this rail line. And since I like my history with a side of retail bliss, this was one of my favorite places. Out back, an old MKT caboose is parked on the original tracks.
Next it was on to Tuscan Slice, a family-owned strip mall pizza joint, that was packed…even at 2 in the afternoon! As I waited for my pizza and shoved fresh wood-fired garlic bread into my mouth, I watched the chef toss pizza dough and, after giving them their own little balls of dough, taught three giggling little boys how to make their own crusts. Soon enough, my perfectly round Chipotle Chicken Pizza arrived, still steaming from the wood oven and decked in fresh jalapenos, purple onions and marinated Chicken. It was quickly devoured and I decided this was surely a slice of Italian heaven right in the middle of town.
As the day ended, and I parted from Waxahachie, I was already making plans to return (I’ve honestly been craving that pizza ever since…) After exploring, it turns out there’s way more to this town than just its funky name! From homemade eats and decked-out diners to history — both eccentric and educational — Waxahachie is definitely worth the trip!