Structural issues with the 122-year-old Ellis County Museum building recently warranted the services of a structural engineer.

The museum has retained the services of Patrick Sparks engineering firm based in Round Rock, Texas. Museum curator Shannon Simpson, who has been with the museum for 25 years, explained the problems and solutions, saying that the back wall of the building had begun to pull away from the structure.

“They drilled holes through the masonry walls from the floor to ceiling joists and installed rods from the outside in about 4-6 feet long, securing the wall,” Simpson said. “They didn’t attempt to move the wall because it wasn’t bad enough – they just stabilized it to keep it from leaning out any further.”

Simpson also noted that corners of two sidewalls were affected.

Since the structure, located at 201 S. College St., was built in 1889, Simpson said there has never been any evidence of any structural work having been done to it.

“The Masonic Lodge built the building and held their meetings on the third floor,” Simpson explained. “They moved out in 1926 when they relocated to their new building on West Main (Street) – and that third floor space hasn’t been used since.”

He said the next project for the immediate future is a new roof, and to deal with problems with water in one of the back corners of the building.

Ellen Beasley, author of Galveston Architectural Guide Book, is planning a collaborative effort with Margaret Culbertson to write a similar book addressing not only the architectural but social history of the structures in Waxahachie.

“Ellen said the museum building is probably second only to the Ellis County Courthouse when it comes to most significant building in the downtown area based on its style and age,” Simpson said, saying a donor from Waxahachie will underwrite the book, with proceeds from its sale intended to benefit the museum.

The second floor of the historic building has housed a photography shop, lawyers, doctors and other professionals. According to research done by Beasley, the museum building was constructed in five months and her research, taken from old newspapers, contains actual dates.

Visit the Ellis County museum website at www.museumsusa.org/museums/info/1167689.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.