Living + Loving Downtown McKinney Texas

Field Trip! Waxahachie Square

At the risk of confusing everyone, On The Square was on a different square this Good Friday.  Variety is the spice of life, right?

I’ve had my mom up to shop our square countless times, so it’s only fair to spend some time on her’s.  My husband and I visited the Waxahachie square sometime over the last couple of years and the economic “slow down” here was more of a “full stop” down there.  Virtually every shop was closed and it felt like a ghost town. Recently, I had heard that there were signs of life on their square and I’m glad to be able to post that things are most definitely picking up down there. There are things to do and see, eat and buy. 

I always see the neatest things in McKinney though.  Before we head out for Waxahachie, I do have something interesting in our area to report.  Did you know that someone delivers ice cream???  Well, it looks like Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream does.  It’s not by the gallon to your door, though. (I checked).  This truck was either returning to Plano from a catered ice cream event (they do do that) or some store on the east side of McKinney carries the brand.  Anyone know where to go to try some?  Their web site says that they’ve won several awards.

Ice Cream Delivery Truck

Ice Cream Delivery Truck

It was a nice drive to Waxahachie.  I will remember next time I drive that way on Good Friday to avoid the right hand lane near the Dallas Zoo.  There was a terrible backup there caused by cars waiting on the lights to change to make it to the zoo. We were at a complete stop and my 4-cylinder didn’t have a prayer of changing to another lane where all the other cars were travelling at 60+.  I was stuck for awhile.

The easiest way to get to Waxahachie from here is down 75 to 35.  I was actually going to Maypearl so I took 67 to 157 and went through Venus.  Even there, I saw new businesses. Among other things, they have a new donut shop. It put me in quite a merry mood for my day on the Waxahachie square. 

There are a lot of similarities between our square and the Waxahachie square. McKinney is the county seat of Collin County.  Waxahachie is the county seat of Ellis County.  We both have courthouses. We have the McKinney Performing Arts Center. They have the Texas Theatre.  We have the Grand Hotel on the Square.  They have the Rogers Hotel.  We have local artist Jodie Baldwin painting watercolors and oils of our square. They have Tina Bohlman.

We’ve both recently built new courthouses.  We built ours far to the north, far, far away from our square.  They built a facility that includes a jail just a block away.  They still use their courthouse for its intended purpose and, according to Mother, they built an underground passage from the old courthouse to the new jail facility for transporting prisoners back and forth to trial.

We’ve both recently had television crews in town. We had Outrageous Foods film at The Pantry Restaurant.  They’ve had Ghost Lab down to The Catfish Plantation and are currently expecting more filming to document a very active haunting.

Waxahachie Courthouse

Waxahachie Courthouse

They have so much going for them down there.  It really surprises me how hard they have had to struggle.  Someone bought the Rogers Hotel back in 2007 and, while at the same time our Grand Hotel expanded, they didn’t make it.  It was a beautiful hotel though.  Eerie but inviting.  I took some (very poor) shots back in 2009 when my husband and I were able to wander around the building. The hotel was open but there was no one at the desk or, in fact, anywhere to be found. They had brought in a barber shop and they were holding a Mystery Dinner Theatre once a month in the hotel.  I’d actually taken the photos to remind us that we wanted to make a weekend getaway of it sometime.  But then we forgot.

Rogers Hotel Front Desk

Rogers Hotel Front Desk

By the way, the Rogers Hotel is supposed to be haunted.  The figure reflected in the glass elevator doors is probably my husband.  Man, this would have been a great shot if the camera were properly focused.

They have beautiful buildings.

Historic Building on Waxahachie Square

Historic Building on Waxahachie Square

They have a statue next to the courthouse.

Statue Next to Waxahachie Courthouse

Statue Next to Waxahachie Courthouse

They are  making a lot of progress, though, and there are definite signs that the square may be on its way to coming back to life. They have redone their train depot.

Waxahachie Train Depot

Waxahachie Train Depot

They had a fire recently that damaged one whole side of the square.

Fire Damaged Buildings

Fire Damaged Buildings

But they are getting it cleaned up.

Cleaning Up After a Fire

Cleaning Up After a Fire

Where we have Walls of Clay, they have Mosaic Madness.  My mother says that she’s been told its addictive. You buy the forms there and they have all the supplies for you to sit down and adhere little pieces of colored glass and whatnots to the forms.  I have to admit that it really did look like fun.

Mosaic Madness

Mosaic Madness

When my husband and I had been one the square in 2009, The College Street Pub was pretty much the only game in town.  It’s not that way anymore.  There are several little restaurants downtown, particularly near the new courts building.  However, I had seen several bad reviews pop up recently for the College Street Pub, so I wanted to go check it out to see if its quality had deteriorated.  As Mother and I walked to the Pub, we passed by at least four other little drinking spots that had been empty before.  They looked like little more than “holes in the wall” but possibly well used.  I don’t know if there is a college nearby.  They definitely look like those kinds of bars. (Not a judgment call there even if it sounded like it).

College Street Pub, if anything, looked nicer than when I was there before. The place to be is on their back porch.

College Street Pub's Outside Patio

College Street Pub's Outside Patio

They have cats there. They are well known for the friendly felines who perch nearby and conveniently make themselves available on the off-chance that someone has a scrap of food they don’t want.

Resident Cat at College Street Pub

Resident Cat at College Street Pub

Behind the calico cat, you’ll see a walkway that’s not part of the pub.  There is a very pretty ravine there and the walkway allows you to walk over it to a public park area.

Looking Down From Walkway Next to College Street Pub

Looking Down From Walkway Next to College Street Pub

It’s so beautiful there and the food is good.  We both had the bean and bacon soup and a half College Street Pub Sub (which is so big, you’re sort of forced to nibble).

College Street Pub

College Street Pub

My conclusion on the other reviews I’ve read is that they must have encountered a bad personality on staff who was really rubbing people the wrong way.  Our experience was great.  Everyone was friendly, the place is as gorgeous as ever and the food is good.

 College Street Pub on Urbanspoon

So, if I’ve whet your appetite to go visit the Waxahachie square, there are a few shopping stand-outs that you will definitely want to visit.  You might also be interested in their 43rd Annual Gingerbread Trail, a historic home tour coming up in June.

The first place was Buffalo Creek Cowgirls.  It’s not a huge store but they have some great prices on jewelry and accessories. Mom bought a purse and I bought a just-past-the-knee broom skirt with gold brocade.  The skirt was $40 and I love it.  Unfortunately, they don’t have a web site.

The second shop is a resale place but it isn’t secondhand.  I know I grabbed their card and I have searched frantically to find it but I just went through the trash can and it is nowhere to be found.  If I lived nearby this place, I’d be in every week.  It’s that worth checking out.  It looks like what happens is they buy close outs from other stores.  The stuff is new and fashionable.  The prices drop the longer that the item has been in the store.  I saw two nice skirts for $4.50.  That’s four dollars and fifty cents! I’m pretty sure this place is on the west side of the square.  I can’t believe I lost the card.

It appears the most popular shop and restaurant on the Waxahachie Square is The Dove’s Nest.  I felt that the prices here, by and large, were a little higher than at other shops but there were some good deals to be found.  There was an ironwork garden sculpture that looked like a red bird house atop a thick garden vine with colorful flowers sprouting from the vine on both sides. Standing about 5 feet tall, its $99 price tag was a steal.

My favorite shop was The Boyce Feed & Grain Store, which my mother calls “Ginger’s” and whose business cards say “The Feed Store”.  This is definitely one someone has to tell you about because it’s off of the square (next to the renovated depot station) and it is a grain store. Who would know that it also has great shopping?  Well, I do and now you do too.  This is also a fantastic opportunity for photographers. The building, outside and in, is a feast for the eyes and the lens. Oh, and they are blogger-friendly.

More Than Just a Feed Store

More Than Just a Feed Store

I did a horrible job of taking pictures of Boyce Feed & Seed.  There are several parts to the building and I was on serious sensory overload with all the great shopping, the historic parts of the building and the owner’s explanation of how they refurbished the place using only recycled materials. They had jams and jellies, cooking mixes and jalapeno grills, fashion galoshes and decorations … just a little of everything. For those who have been to Boulder, Colorado and experienced the unlikely tourist destination of McGuckin Hardware, it is along those lines except more “down-home”, Texas Style. Be sure to check out the original hardwood floors.  The door on the third building is awesome. Looks like it could have been on the Alamo.

The Best Shop in Town - Boyce Feed & Grain

The Best Shop in Town - Boyce Feed & Grain

Plus, they had ducks. I love ducks. (I’ve warned readers about my attention span before.)

Chickens & Ducks at The Boyce Feed & Seed

Chickens & Ducks at The Boyce Feed & Seed

And of course they had Easter bunnies. I was in the middle of worrying to my mom that people would just buy them for Easter and then not know what to do with them afterwards when she reminded me that they can be delicious.  We are  in the country, after all.  I shut up.

Easter Bunnies at The Boyce Feed & Seed

Easter Bunnies at The Boyce Feed & Seed

I got this fabulous sign to hang on our patio. My husband installed it as soon as I got home.

Fab Sign From Boyce Feed & Seed

Fab Sign From Boyce Feed & Seed

I also got these two adorable cast iron mice to put on the kitchen window sill.

Cast Iron Mice from Boyce Feed & Seed

Cast Iron Mice from Boyce Feed & Seed

So I hope everyone enjoys their Easter weekend. I’ve enjoyed mine.

Our McKinney Square can now look towards May and all it will bring.  GuitarFest is just around the bend and then Bike The Bricks.  Soon, I’ll be out looking for bicycles heralding the approach of the annual bike race.

Until next time,

Happy Shopping!

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3 Responses to “Field Trip! Waxahachie Square”

  1. Stephanie

    Even though they mostly sell to restaurants, as of March, Henry’s moved to this location and does have a storefront:
    Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream
    3100 Independence Parkway, Suite # 215
    Plano, TX 75075
    (972) 943-3639
    Hours:
    Monday – Thursday: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
    Friday: 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
    Saturday: 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
    Sunday: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm

    Reply
  2. Virginia Battalio-McDonald

    Thanks for your wonderful article and for promoting Waxahachie’s historic downtown. Sadly, the downtown area continues to struggle. I moved to Waxahachie from New Orleans in 2006 and loved the district but find it hard to shop there when it’s convenient for me (weekends, after 5pm and holidays). That place should be hopping but it’s not. Until the locals show more support for homegrown businesses and stop spending all their shopping dollars at the newest chain retailer, the older part of town will suffer. The Rodger’s Hotel is for sale and one has to wonder if it will survive. They have lured new tenants with teaser rates for rent only for those tenants to leave once rents return to normal monthly pricing. More of a variety of restaurants are needed and longer hours. Sunday brunch would be nice. An old fashioned ice cream parlor and an authentic bakery. Hopefully your article will remind our locals and visitors alike to support our historic areas or else it they will become history !

    Reply
    • Beth

      We actually complain a lot about merchant hours even up here. I think it is just the nature of the beast. I’m afraid that we’d end up trading off ma & pa for corporate drones to get Sunday and evening hours. I love the Waxahachie square and I hope it keeps up the momentum. I’m following Waxahachie Downtown on Twitter and still hope to make a weekend of it with the hubby sometime when we can make it down. I wish that hotel was open! Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

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