Remembering Ellis County: Railroads in Ennis

Submitted photo.
The Railroads in Ennis historical marker was erected in 2000 at Pierce Park near NW Main & US 287 in Ennis.

ENNIS — Located at Pierce Park near NW Main & US 287 in Ennis, this 27" x 42" historical marker was erected in 2000 to commemorate the beginning and impact of railroads in Ennis.

The marker reads:

The Houston and Texas Central Railroad built tracks through Corsicana en route to Dallas in 1871. In 1872 the town of Ennis was platted along this line on 647 acres selected by Captain W. G. Veale. The town was named for railroad official Colonel Cornelius Ennis.

The Houston and Texas Central (H&TC) began an extension from nearby Garrett to the town of Paris in 1882. Railroad magnate Hetty Green purchased the line in 1892. The line was extended to Ennis in 1894, and the railroad was named the Texas Midland Railroad. As a result of high community involvement, Ennis became a division point. The H&TC established a roundhouse, machine shops and its northern division headquarters here with the agreement that the shops would never be moved while Ennis could supply water for them. Two lakes were built for this purpose in 1891 and 1895.

The Southern Traction Company was chartered on March 12, 1912, and operated an interurban line from Dallas to Corsicana via Ennis beginning October 20, 1913. The interurban line in Ennis ran along McKinney Street, turned onto Baylor Street, continued east one block and then proceeded south on Dallas Street. In Dallas, the interurban connected to Southern Traction's line to Waco. Southern Traction merged with Texas Traction in 1917.

The interurban railway was abandoned in February 1941. The rail line to Paris was abandoned between Ennis and Kaufman in 1942, and all Texas Midland lines were closed by 1975. At the dawn of the 21st century, the Houston and Texas Central Railroad line that established Ennis was owned and operated by the Union Pacific Railroad.

Remembering Ellis County is a weekly column in which Ellis County Citizen publisher Dave A. Vance touches on a little piece of history related to Ellis County. Initially, Vance will choose a different historical marker located in the county to feature every week.