Waxahachie and the rest of the country will celebrate architectural history through the annual preservation month this May.
Anita Brown, Downtown Development director and Heritage Preservation officer, said preservation month began as a week but expanded to encapsulate the entire month. This year, the theme is "This Place Matters."
"If you were picked up by a flying saucer and dropped out north of town where Target and Academy and all that is, you would have no idea where you are. You could be in anywhere-USA because that's everywhere," Brown explained. "If a flying saucer picked you up and dropped you in downtown Waxahachie, you would know where you are because of that courthouse, because of the landmark buildings around it."
Brown said the importance of preservation isn't limited to a single month in Waxahachie, but the Heritage Preservation Commission and Historic Waxahachie take those efforts an extra few steps this month.
During preservation month, the Heritage Preservation officers hand out coloring books to second graders within Waxahachie ISD that are filled with historic landmarks, such as the Ellis County Courthouse.
"If we don't educate the younger generations about the importance of preserving all of this, it won't be here for their kids," Brown said.
Outside of preservation month, the city hosts two historic homes tours — the Gingerbread Trail Tour of Homes in June and the Historic Waxahachie Christmas Tour of Homes in December.
Each of the events brings in tourists, which in turn help the economy, Brown noted.
"Gobs and gobs of people come to tour those historic homes. If we had torn down all those historic homes that would be two huge economic benefits that we wouldn't have anymore," Brown explained. "That underscores the importance of preservation."
In 2016, tourist spent about $59 million in Waxahachie, which helped provide 490 jobs, Brown added.
Waxahachie is a Main Street city, which means it focuses on bringing people together in its historic downtown beyond May. The city is one of a couple dozen in the state that participates in the Main Street Program.
The Main Street Program focuses on four points of preservation: organization, promotion, design and economic vitality.
The purpose is to give a sense of history to a town like Waxahachie.
"All this historic stuff has been saved and there are a lot of towns that have not saved that stuff," Brown said. "They lose their authenticity."
Samantha Douty, @SamanthaDouty