Leaving a new mark on history: Historic Waxahachie Inc. hoping to draw more attention to historical homes
WAXAHACHIE — Transposing history’s memories over the ever-swinging pendulum of time, the historical structures of Waxahachie carry on with dignity and character, reminding those of the city's rich heritage.
With hopes to link the present to the thread of the past, Historic Waxahachie Inc. continues to preserve those ties for the future through its Historic Marker Program.
“HWI is trying to augment interest in Waxahachie’s historic structures. We have more than 200 historic structures that are over 100 years old. HWI is trying to encourage homeowners and visitors interest, and get greater recognition for them for the history that’s here in Waxahachie,” explained Melissa Chapman, HWI Chairman for Historical Markers
According to HWI, the Historic Marker Program gives recognition to enhance Waxahachie’s tourism, generating increased income to local merchants and to the city, as well as, encouraging ownership interest of historic structures. Moreover, these structures and their owners receive the recognition they so richly deserve.
Chapmen went on to discuss that the past markers, which resemble metal plaques hung near the front door, were not obtaining adequate attention from onlookers.
“Currently, the visibility of the markers is limited because we have markers on people's doorways. So from the street, it’s difficult to see, and some people don’t necessarily want others walking up on their front porch to learn about their house. So we put together this program with the sidewalk signs to increase the visibility of the historic markers in Waxahachie,” she clarified.
After the revitalization of the markers, the organization hopes the new signs will be more noticeable than before. As mentioned, the redesign has gone from a plaque-like frame to a double-sided metal sign, measuring eight inches high by sixteen inches wide, and hung on a steel arm.
“Historic Waxahachie is always looking for new things to highlight our historic properties here in town. So one of our projects that we’ve taken on, in addition to our Historic Marker Program, is doing sidewalk signs that bring the markers out to the streets, so people who are driving or walking by can easily see historical information about where they are,” Chapman noted the purpose of the advancement.
Similar to the standardization of the Rotary Flag program, the Sidewalk Signs are installed by HWI at each home in specific positions by the sidewalk.
“We just put in about ten signs on Main Street this morning (Tuesday), and we have about 35 markers up right now, and over 250 homes that are eligible for markers,” Chapman added.
The non-profit has made its a goal to preserve one of the finest concentrations of tum-of-the-century commercial and residential architectural structures in Texas since 1977.
“Our goal is to heighten the awareness of our historic structures. I think it helps people have a greater appreciation for the history that’s around them and will hopefully encourage conservation and restoration of these Waxahachie jewels. I think it will help people be more mindful, as well as interested,” Chapman expressed. “We feel like the sidewalk signs not only increase awareness, but they also add value to the homeowners' property because it becomes a real estate differentiator between a recognized historic home, and one that has been altered and renovated, no longer maintaining it’s historic architecture."
Chapman also added that any HWI home is eligible for attaining the sidewalk sign installment at the homeowner’s request.
“All they have to do is go on the Historic Waxahachie website and fill out a form and order one. It’s up to the homeowner whether or not they choose to participate,” Chapman explained the simple process.
According to Chapman, any home that is over 50 years old is eligible to be considered for a historical marker. She explained that, for those interested, there are forms online to help walk those "younger" homeowners through the process.
Chapman also stated she is confident that the redesigned signs will boost respect for the history of Waxahachie, as well as, enrich its appearance.
“In doing so, we’re hoping it’s going to enhance the city’s image of the unique Texas gem with a wealth of charming, historic structures,” she encouraged.
To connect with Historic Waxahachie Inc., visit historicwaxahachie.com.
Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer