The buildings in the Ennis Downtown Commercial Historic District and original homes in the Templeton-McCanless Residential Historic District provide a glimpse of what the city was like during the period of economic prosperity from 1890 to the 1920s.

Unfortunately, over the years fire, neglect, and development destroyed many of the buildings and grand mansions of the day. In 1981 a group of citizens formed the Ennis Heritage Society to preserve the remaining structures, and in 1986 the National Park Service recognized forty-four private homes and ninety-four commercial buildings in its National Register of Historic Places. This album features a small selection of these.

Commercial Buildings

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105 NE Main St



Ennis Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum, 1915

The restaurant originally housed in this building served up to ten passenger trains a day. In 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt stopped here while traveling to the State Fair of Texas (celebrating the State's Centennial). Today, it is one of the finest railroad museums in the Southwest.

Ennis National Bank, 1883

110 W Ennis Ave



Ennis National Bank, 1883

Ennis' first bank operated here until 1917 when it moved to the corner of Ennis Avenue and Dallas Street. An enduring landmark, the building has served as a clothing store, legal office, and restaurant. Notice the corner turret, brick parapet, and original cast iron storefront.

John Rowe Building, 1905

101 S Dallas St



John Rowe Building, 1905

A.H. Rowe, a prominent business person from England, had this building constructed to serve as a dry goods store. The Woodsmen of the World, a forerunner for the Boy Scouts, met upstairs.

City Hall, 1915

117 W Brown St



City Hall, 1915

Built to accommodate all of the city's practical and cultural needs, City Hall had space for the police department, jail (which still exists in the basement), and an auditorium that hosted lectures, cooking classes, and vaudeville performances. The Fire Department was formed in 1884 as a response to recent devastating fires and kept its horses and fire wagons in the garage on Dallas Street.

Interurban Building, 1925

212 N Dallas St



Interurban Building, 1925

This building served as a station for passengers taking the commuter train that passed through Ennis from 1914 until mid-century when the arrival of IH-45 made the railway obsolete.

Ennis High School, 1916

500 Block of N Gaines



Ennis High School, 1916

This building served as the high school from 1916 to 1982, and is the city's oldest extant school building. It was built by the Fort Worth architectural firm of Sanguinet and Staats, which created a number of similarly styled schools in the state.

Residential Buildings

Hix McCanless
Hix McCanless (1868-1938) was the leading architect in Ennis during this period. Born in Tennessee, McCanless and his family moved to Ennis as the railroad arrived. After training at Texas A&M, he returned to Ennis to design buildings that reflected the personal tastes of their owners as well as popular styles.

Residential
Prior to the railroad, most houses were plain structures built using locally available materials. The rise of industrialization and expansion of the railroad made it possible for homeowners across the nation to obtain building materials and to decorate and design their homes according to current architectural styles.Between 1890 and 1920, the three most popular styles of architecture were Folk Victorian, Neoclassical, and Bungalow. Excellent examples of each of these can be found throughout Ennis.

Folk Victorian
Almost all of these homes began with a basic L-shape plan to which the owners added mass-produced gingerbread trim, turned spindles and balustrades, intricately patterned corbels and brackets, and brightly colored paint. Once abundant in Ennis, a few fine examples still exist.

Barkley-Floyd House, 1892

709 N Dallas St



Barkley-Floyd House, 1892

This house was built for H.P. Barkely, a conductor and yardmaster for the H&TC.

Meredith-McDowal House, 1898

701 N Gaines St



Meredith-McDowal House, 1898

This is one of Hix McCanless’ earliest designs.

Jolesch House, 1900

504 W Knox St



Jolesch House, 1900

William Jolesch came to Ennis in 1875 and established a dry good store on S. Main Street. Later he served as vice president of the First National Bank of Ennis.

F.W. Neal House, 1901

704 N Preston St



F.W. Neal House, 1901

Built by Fred W. Neal and his brother Charles shortly before the former wed a local school teacher. Fred Neal was a conductor for the H&TC.

Dr. Campbell Home, 1904

807 N Preston St



Dr. Campbell Home, 1904

Along with prosperity came a higher standard of health care. Several physicians besides Dr. Campbell practiced in Ennis by 1900 and his home served as an early hospital.

Williamson House, 1905

509 W Brown St



Williamson House, 1905

The asymmetrical plan of this house is Victorian, but exterior details are Neoclassical and Bungalow in style.

Neoclassical
“The White City” of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago renewed interest in the classical designs of Ancient Greece and Rome. Neoclassical homes feature symmetrical plans centered around d a central entry and columned porches extending the full height of the house. They are usually painted white to simulate the stone of monumental architecture.

Telfair House, 1902

209 N Preston St



Telfair House, 1902

Neoclassical House
J.S. Telfair, a conductor for the railroad since the 1890s, had this house built as a wedding present for his wife. It stands on the site where members of St. Joseph's Catholic Church first met.

Matthews-Atwood House, 1908

307 N Sherman St



Matthews-Atwood House, 1908

Pearl C. Matthews purchased this property in 1900 when he and his brother Will, co-owner of a McKinney department store, opened a branch in Ennis.

McCanless-Williams House, 1900

402 W Tyler St



McCanless-Williams House, 1900

Hix McCanless, Architect and City Engineer built this house for himself and his family. The land it sits on as well as adjoining property was owned by his wife's aunt who was from New York and gave the property to them as a wedding gift. Hix and his family lived here until the early part of 1910 The home was sold to M.B. Williams who was a local banker.  The Williams family owned and MB Williams descendants lived in the home for over seventy years.

I.R. Allen House, 1910

601 N Dallas St



I.R. Allen House, 1910

This house exemplifies the Neoclassical style as it was built in Texas. Isaac R. Allen was the co-owner of the Allen & Kendall Furniture Store.

Moore House, 1905

400 W Denton St



Moore House, 1905

This house is a significant part of Ennis' architectural history, and it reflects the wealth and prominence of the couple that built it. Malinda and Hardin T. Moore married in 1892. Both had been widowed in previous marriages. Malinda came to Texas with her family in the 1850s and married James Robert Farrar in 1868. Farrar died a wealthy man in 1888, leaving her substantial land and business holdings. Hardin Moore came to Texas with his family in the 1830s. A Civil War veteran, he inherited property in the region from his father. Census records show him as a stockman and cattle merchant. He may have also had interest in a real estate and loan business.

Raphael House, 1910

500 W Ennis Ave



Raphael House, 1910

Edmond Raphael (1865-1927) was a Jewish merchant, community leader and president of the First National Bank in the 1910s and 1920s.

Weatherford House, 1917

501 N Preston St



Weatherford House, 1917

William Weatherford, a cotton buyer from Houston, purchased the house in 1924 and lived here until 1954. While the Neoclassical style was very popular, it is rare to find one like this one that is made of brick.

Bungalow
In America, the term bungalow refers to small or medium-sized homes that have low-pitched roofs, large porches, and efficiently cluster the kitchen, dining area, bedrooms, and bathroom around a central living area. Often associated with the “Craftsman” Movement, its practical layout, affordability, and artistic details made the bungalow the most popular home style in Ennis between 1910 and 1930.

Sharp House, 1913

208 N Gaines



Sharp House, 1913

This house was built for John H. Sharp, a local attorney and later a Judge of the Texas Supreme Court.

Barrington House, 1915

204 W Belknap St



Barrington House, 1915

Bungalow House

Bungalow Home

810 N Preston St


Bungalow houses were characterized by lower ceilings which made the rooms hot in the steamy Texas summers.

Matthews-Templeton House, 1918

606 W Denton St



Matthews-Templeton House, 1918

Bungalow House
Hix McCanless built this home for Pearl C. Matthews, co-owner of the McKinney based Matthews Brothers Department Store that opened a shop in Ennis.

Ennis

This book on the history of Ennis ($21.99) and the Ennis Throw Blanket ($40) are available at the Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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Ennis, TX 75120
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