City of Ferris opens its own Historical Museum

By Patty Hullett
For the Daily Light

Ferris, a small city within Ellis County, is a 4.6-square-mile community that is just 20 miles south of downtown Dallas. Settlement of the area began in the early 1870s.

On Sept. 28, 1874, a local family deeded approximately 100 acres of land to four trustees for the establishment of a town and railway station. Judge Justus Wesley Ferris of Waxahachie handled the transaction, and later the community was named for him.

Within 10 years, Ferris had a population of 300 with a post office, gristmills, cotton gins, four churches, and a school. Ferris was incorporated on Sept. 30, 1882. And, thus, the existence of the city of Ferris began.

An aerial view of the Ferris Brick Company, as seen in this photo taken in the 1940s or 1950s.
Some of the famous Ferris bricks.
Photos of the brick hauling mules in the 1920s and 1930s. Ferris Brick Company, run by Mr. Troy Wilson, was also famous for its show mules. The motto was “We Work Show Mules and We Show Work Mules.” These Ferris Brick Company mules won livestock shows all over the nation. The two mules, Bird and Lottie, became quite a famous pair.

The quoted information from the city of Ferris’ “History of Ferris” web page reads as follows: “Six brick plants benefited from the area's mineral rich soil, operating by 1914. Ferris thrived during the early post-war years. Four brick plants operated during the 1950s, and the community was known locally as the ‘Brick Capital of the Nation’. Ferris also has a second nickname – ‘The City that Bricked the World’ – which is still commonly used to date. In 1952, the population had risen to 1,734 and 1,807 by 1964. Today, the numbers are around 3,000 residents. The Ferris Annual Brick Festival is held

every year at the end of April.”

Because of the city’s rich background and its early settlement, a group of local Ferris folks have pitched in to open their very own Ferris Historical Museum as part of the Ferris Historical Society. Its new address is 201 S. Main St., and it’s located inside of local store Country Corner Treasures.

The Ferris Historical Museum opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, June 27.

The museum’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony and re-opening was held on Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Its operating hours are listed as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m.

to 4 p.m. on Saturday. No admission price is required, but donations are always welcome.

Old photos of four Ferrisites over the years.

Ferris native, Mrs. Connie Edwards Bratcher, organized the Ferris Historical Museum in 2014. Bratcher says, “I am responsible for the museum and I spent months of hard work (a true labor  of love) to collect, organize, and display interesting historical memorabilia for all of its citizens to enjoy. The public from outlying areas are also welcome to check out the wide array of noteworthy contents of our newly reopened museum.”

Some Ferris hats and other brick company memorabilia from the museum.
A Ferris centennial quilt done in 1974, in celebration of 100 years of Ferris, Texas.
The original cash register and rolling pin from the famous Beas Cafe, which was located In downtown Ferris for more than 40 years.
Part of the original cross on Kooken Hill. The lit cross can still be spotted at night when traveling south on Interstate 45 passing Ferris.
On display is No. 77 - Ferris Yellow Jacket football player Phillip Bryant's jersey and cleats and a photo from the 1940s.

Its inception began in a small donated room within the confines of another local business – Country Corner Treasures. Next, a larger room was given to the museum organization by John and Patricia Wills, business owners who were also located inside Country Corner Treasures.

Some of the objects of interest from all aspects of Ferris history are the brick yards, interurban track, bank documents, photos galore, life-sized mule of the mule that pulled Ferris bricks years ago, a quilt of 1974 Ferrisites, and even the cash register from the famous Bea’s Cafe.

The museum board members are Connie Edwards Bratcher, founder and

president; Karen Carrion, vice president; Marilyn Lindsey Little, treasurer; and Ty Hall, secretary.

Some of the items on display at the Ferris Historical Museum.

Born and raised in Ferris, Cheree Barrett said, “We have been looking for a museum for a long time to hold all the historic documents and other local treasures. We are more than thrilled that the museum has been moved to a larger space where it can be seen in more detail. But we could always use more room in the future. The Ferris Historical Society sends a special ‘thank you’ to Connie Edwards Bratcher for all she has done to make the museum a reality.”

Hand painted china as donated by Ann Graham Griffins. Her mother, Mary Cox Graham, did the hand painting.

Bratcher says, “Being a lifetime resident of Ferris, I cherish all Ferris history. I have seen so many changes that it’s refreshing to put together a collection to highlight Ferris’ past for those who have loved Ferris from the beginning — as well as those new residents who will come to appreciate the history of Ferris, too.”

Some cheerleading and Majorette miscellaneous uniform items.