Favorite thing: As I mentioned earlier, ten trains a day deposited their passengers in Ennis when the railroad was at its peak.
Testifying to its reputation as a Wild West town, there were no less than thirteen saloons and six beer halls. Its list of citizens included the notorious Clyde Barrow of Bonnie and Clyde fame, while other outlaw gangs frequented the area.
The railroad was instrumental in creating the town, which developed as an agricultural, commercial and eventually an industrial center. Cotton was shipped on the rails.
People moving here from the South and the East looked to the fertile soil, railroad and other opportunities. One of the first Eastern European immigrants settling here was Jacob Shebasta (1873), hailing from Czechoslovakia. Others followed in his footsteps and its Czech heritage grew.
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Ennis Historic District
Favorite thing: As we walked along some of Ennis' red brick streets we noticed the classic style architecture of the Ennis National Bank, established in 1883. It sits in the center of the of town's historic district.
Ennis is similar to many towns in that it's historic district was almost lost to progress and a yard fire which grew out of control in the 1940's.
By the 1950's older residents could not keep up with the maintainence their homes required. Newer businesses came into the area, tearing down former dwellings to make way for expansion.
A breath of fresh air came in 1977 in the form of the Main Street Program, a means to improve the condition of small towns throughout Texas. Funds were available through the government to fix decaying sidewalks and improve sewage. Ennis began refurbishing in 1981 to 'preserve the remaining historic assets' of the town.
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