Members of Historic Waxahachie Inc. braved chilling winds Saturday morning to continue their preservation project on the two historic buildings located in Singleton Plaza on Rogers Street.
The Wyatt Law and Real Estate office is the oldest commercial building remaining in Ellis County, according to Becky Kauffman.
“We were so lucky to have the building donated to us by the Wyatt family,” Kauffman said, noting that records indicate the office was built in 1890.
Once a popular place for people feeling the effects of drinking too much was the jailhouse, also known as the calaboose.
“In its time, it was a holding place for drunks and persons committing minor crimes,” Kauffman said of the building, which was built in 1885.
Both buildings were relocated to Singleton Plaza, where they are being restored as part of a historical display.
Both of the old buildings had been moved to storage prior to being moved to their present location.
“Our goal when we find a historic building is to first save the building,” Kauffman said. “Then our next step is to store it in a safe place. The third step in the preservation process is to restore it as close to its original state as possible. The last step is to make it public accessible and use it as a museum.”
Both buildings are in the third stage, with Historic Waxahachie Inc. working with the building trades class at Waxahachie on the restoration.
“About 20 students came out and built the columns that will be a part of the fence to be erected around the buildings,” Kauffman said. “When we first moved the buildings here, we had doctors and lawyers out here helping clean up and begin the restoration process.
“Since then, we have had to use some contractors to do many of the required steps,” she said.
The group is fencing in the buildings with a brick and wrought iron fence and is also putting in a brick walkway. Adding to the historical value, many of the bricks used have the names Palmer and Ferris cast in them. The bricks were made at brick plants that were located in the eastern Ellis County towns.
The group has researched through photographs and the memories of many old-timers about details of the buildings. The restoration will continue with a combination of contractors and weekend volunteers.
“These buildings are very important to the city’s heritage and we are thankful to Citizens National Bank for letting us use the property,” Kauffman said.