Texas Travel

City Spotlight: Ennis

By Kristy Alpert 4.3.17

The state of Texas is steeped in rich history, each city a patch of a cultural quilt that blankets the South — and by golly, the city of Ennis is one interesting story. Attracted to the affordable land and high quality of life, immigrants from the Czech Republic first arrived in Ennis in the 1870s to make the frontier Texas town their home. From its humble roots as a railroad community to its role now as the host to one of the largest National Polka Festivals in the country each year, here’s a look at Ennis’ history as well as what to do while in town:

How Ennis Got Its Name

The city of Ennis began taking form in 1871 when the Houston and Texas Central Railroad (H&TC) purchased the land and established it as a northern station for the line. As an homage to the railroad company, the city took on the name of the railroad’s official, Colonel Cornelius Ennis. Although Col. Ennis never actually resided in Ennis, his descendants have been known to make trips out to visit their great-great-grandfather’s namesake and view his portrait in the Ennis Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum.

What to Do

  • Shop. Antique shopping has put Ennis on the map for shoppers with an eye for historic items, with the Czech Heritage Shoppe and Antiques acting as the main stop along the Ennis Downtown Historic District’s antique route.
  • Drive-In. Plan an evening at the Galaxy Drive-In, the city’s nostalgic drive-in movie theatre with seven screens that each show two features every night of the week. Make sure to arrive early so you can get your order in for the snack bar’s signature banana pudding. No car? Use your Texas Farm Bureau Membership to take advantage of great rental car rates.
  • Speed Up. A visit to the Texas Motorplex will have your adrenaline pumping, as this iconic drag racing facility boasts a top track record of 326.71 mph.  
  • Eat Out. People travel from all over the U.S. for the chance to sample some of the best pastries outside of the Czech Republic at the Kolache Depot Café and Bakery, but the town is also home to some amazing barbecue at Bubba’s Bar-B-Q and Steakhouse and some surprising finds, like the fresh sushi at Bristol General Store & Grill.
  • Attend an Event. Ennis is buzzing with excitement each April as the Ennis Garden Club opens up 40 miles of mapped driving routes known as the Bluebonnet Trail from April 1–30. The city also hosts an annual National Polka Festival each Memorial Day weekend.

For more information, visit www.visitennis.org and check out our pro photography tips for capturing the best “magic hour” photos during bluebonnet season.

© 2017 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance