Preservation, education and the protection of history in Waxahachie is the mission of Historic Waxahachie, Inc. And, in those efforts, the organization has released this year's most endangered places in town.
BOZE-MITCHELL MCKIBBIN FUNERAL HOME
The funeral home was constructed in 1925 and was the third building to house the Waxahachie Masonic Lodge #90. The Masons formed in 1860 and built the Boze-Mitchell McKibbin funeral home in 1925.
The Masons sold the bottom floor of the building to Saxon/Boze Funeral Home, while the Masons used the levels above until 1992.
The Renaissance Revival-style building displays traditional characteristics of symmetry, ornate windows, and a low roofline. Over the years, the lower floor exterior enlarged in 1967.
So why is this building on the endangered list? Historic Waxahachie lays the blame on inadequate maintenance. The lack of preservation exhibited on the roof and windows and resulted in structural issues.
Former slaves William Cecil, his wife Elizabeth and his father Harry found refuge in Waxahachie sometime before 1888. William, who constructed the vernacular southern home, was described as an enterprising man who made a living in janitorial services around town.
To take over the board-and-batten cabin was Albert “Jack” Levingston, an African American WWII veteran. He moved onto the property after returning from the military in 1943. Levingston and his wife, Trudie Lee Taylor, raised several children who still own the property to this day — a legacy of 75 years.
But, between the Cecil and Levingston families, the property is a 125-year legacy and needs a little TLC. The home is located at 602/606 N. Jackson.
THE SWEATT HOUSE
Richard Sweatt and his wife, Sylvia Gibbons, purchased their home in 1894 as newly freed slaves. The couple lived in the house until their deaths in the mid-1920s. Their only child, James Leonard Seat, sold the property in 1936 to Robert Cobb.
Inside the home, racism activists were raised, starting with James, who was instrumental in organizing the National Alliance of Postal Employees that fought against discrimination in the post office. He was also a chartered member of the NAACP Houston branch.
Richard and Sylvia’s fifth grandson, Heman Marion Sweatt, graduated from Wiley College in 1934 and was rejected from enrolling into law school at the University of Texas. While he met the school’s criteria, he was denied due to his race. Heman filed a lawsuit, and in 1950 the United States Supreme Court rules in his favor in Sweatt v. Painter.
The original homeowner, David Henry Thompson, came from an extraordinary family. The wife, Nancy Ann Thompson was left the house in 1874 after her husband died. Widowed, she had 13 children to care for.
Nancy ran a boarding house on Marvin Street and the eldest son, Thomas Frederick, established himself as a druggist, grain dealer, mayoral candidate and a real estate operator.
When Thomas died, his younger brother, D.H., became the patriarch of the Thompson family. Following his death, J.W. Thompson established a financial services office at the home. A daughter, Thelma, took over the house after her mother died. Thelma was living in the house when she was abducted and found murdered on railroad tracks about 100 yards behind the home.
After the murder, the house was put up for sale, ending 60 years of association with the Thompson family.
On Nov. 12, 1902, the Waxahachie Daily Light reported, “when completed, [the house] will have cost not less than $4,000.” The large two-story southern vernacular house was a standard design with Greek columns, overhanging porches, and high ceilings. Also, barns and a servants’ quarters were constructed on the property.
The Thompson House is located at 312/228 Kaufman St.
UPDATE ON 2017 MOST ENDANGERED PLACES
Last year, Historic Waxahachie, Inc. identified six endangered places, and through the group's work over the last year, one location is no longer endangered.
The house at 1009 W. Main St.
Historic Waxahachie Inc., reported the building made significant progress in restoration. The owners met with the organization to research the home to assure the façade would be restored to its original design. The work on the house is still in progress.
There was no update available on this building. Formally known as Collins Hall, the building served as a female dorm for Trinity University from 1911-1942. Today, it is a co-ed dorm with wings for men and women.
LOOF Lodge International Order of Odd Fellows
The members have done several projects to maintain the building. The floor and plumbing in the kitchen was replaced. The roof was also replaced. Members hope to work on the electrical system and window repair.
Joshua Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church
The chapel has undergone several restorations and upgrades as well as substantial maintenance and thorough cleaning. The Plexiglass was removed, and the exterior including the ramp and railing were painted and repaired.
Waxahachie Cotton Mill Purser’s Office
Since listed on the endangered list, it was bought by new owners. There are still issues of contamination, which diminishes over time. The cotton mill is no longer considered an endangered place.
Waxahachie Lumber Yard Office
The building has had the windows and door replaced. Historic Waxahachie Inc., reported these changes significantly diminished the historical value.
*The information in this report was shared during an open forum on May 10 by Historic Waxahachie Inc.