IN THE LATE 1800S, WHEN COTTON WAS KING, THE WARM climate and rich black soil of East Texas provided the perfect conditions for its cultivation. Around the same time, several railroad companies were busily laying down an intersecting network of rail lines throughout the area, making it easy to transport goods. This combination of factors turned little Waxahachie (allegedly an Indian word meaning “cow creek”) into an extremely prosperous town. Its citizens wasted no time embellishing their surroundings, building large and elaborate homes in a variety of Victorian styles, as well as a spectacular Romanesque courthouse of granite and sandstone. The Great Depression slowed industry and expansion in the community for some years but had the long-term effect of preserving the town's early architecture. Waxahachie's old-time look proved ideal as a modern movie location, and several great Hollywood films were shot there, including Tender Mercies and Bonnie and Clyde. Local lore has it that the couple actually made a visit to the town's bank, but the area was so impoverished, there was very little money to steal.
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