crossing the Brazos at Waco |
Suspension Bridge: c. 1870, The
Waco Steel Bridge AKA The Washington Street Bridge, The Iron Bridge c. 1902, The
Interurban Railway Bridge c.1910, Union
| || The
c. 1911 - The tallest building in Texas when it was first built. Built over artesian
springs, the building was self-sustaining. Employees of the building witnessed
the destruction of downtown Waco during the 1953 tornado.
Armstrong Browning Library:
On the campus of Baylor University- World's largest collection of Robert
and Elizabeth Barrett Browning's works and memorabiliaMayborn
Baylor campus. www.maybornmuseum.com
Governor Bill and Vera Daniel
Historic Village - See
Moving History by Bob Bowman ("All Things historical" Column)
"...Bill Daniel is best remembered by some admirers for one of the strangest
events in East Texas--the move of an entire town from Liberty to Waco, a distance
of more than 200 miles, in October of 1986 during the Texas sesquicentennial celebration..."
Heritage Crafts Village:
a 350 acre 19th century working farmTexas
Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum:
On the Brazos River at the site of old
Pepper Museum: Building c. 1906Historic
Contact the visitor's bureau for information 1-254-750-8696The
| || Lover's
Mike Cox |
The best known Lover's Leap in Texas is the cliff overlooking
the Brazos River in Waco's Cameron Park. It's such a well known landmark that
there's a church named after it - Lover's Leap Baptist... [more]
Crash at Crush
by Luke Warm|
The field that once was Crush, Texas is now occupied by
cows, but a recently replaced historical marker south of West, Texas tells the
story of one of the most bizarre publicity stunts of all time. [more]
Mammoth Site Nearing National Monument Status
by Britt Towery
Last month the U.S. Congressional committee approved
the Waco Mammoth Site to become a national monument...This was the biggest hurdle
so far in the ten-year struggle to protect the site of a mammoth herd's death
just north of Waco. This is the world's largest known concentration of prehistoric
mammoths perishing in the same event. [more]Mayhem
at Mount Carmel by Mike Cox (Excerpt from "Time
of the Rangers")
On any given Sunday morning in Waco, home of the
largest Baptist university in the nation, a lot of the city’s residents are sitting
in church. That was where Company F Captain Bob Prince could be found on the morning
of February 28, 1993... A Texas National Guard helicopter had been shot down and
numerous federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents killed and wounded
while attempting to serve a search warrant at David Koresh’s Branch Davidian ranch.
in a Pecan Shell|
The city is built near springs that used to flow not far from downtown Waco
(still marked - on the grounds of a former elementary school (more recently the
Helen Marie Taylor Museum).
A timeline of significant events in Waco:
1837: Fort Fisher, a Texas Rangers outpost was established in but abandoned
within the year.
1838: Neil McLennan moved onto land nearby on the
South Bosque River, a somewhat romantic mural commemorating the event is in the
post office in nearby Mart, Texas. Land agent
Jacob De Cordova accquires the property and has George B. Erath survey the area.
Erath had first visited the area as a ranger stationed at Ft. Fisher.
Geo. Erath laid out the first block of the new town that they first wanted to
1850: McLennan County was organized. The Waco Era,
the town's first newspaper is published.
1856: Waco Village is incorporated
as the town of Waco and a new courthouse is built that year.
War: Seventeen companies of Confederate soldiers were raised from Waco and
the surrounding countryside. Waco also produced six Confederate generals. After
the Civil War, Waco's economy recovered rapidly despite the trials of reconstruction.
1868: Waco becomes a spur on the Chisholm Trail and cattlemen and their
cowboys often stopped in Waco for suppies and entertainment.
The Waco Bridge Company opened a suspension
bridge spanning the Brazos. Designed by Robeling - the man who went on to
build the Brooklyn Bridge - the Waco bridge served as his working model.
The Waco and Northwestern Railroad was built.
1872: The African Methodist
Episcopal church opens Paul Quinn College (now in Dallas)
other railroads, the St. Louis and Southwestern and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas
lines, came to Waco in the early 1880s.
1884: The population reaches
12,000. 50,000 bales of cotton were being shipped through Waco annually. During
the 1880s and 90s artesian wells were expanded and two natatoriums were built
- one of them a hotel built by J. Reily Gordon who later built the McLennan
County courthouse in 1901.
1887: Waco University merges with Baylor
U., which had moved to Waco from Independence,
1890: Waco had streetcars pulled by mules and began to build
a system of parks, often with donated land.
1898: Waco industries include
railroads, ice plants, flour mills, foundries, boiler plants, and bottling works.
1900: Waco becomes the 6th largest city in Texas.
Twenty electric trolleys were operating on city streets and the Beaux-Arts courthouse
1905: a street paving program began
The Cotton Palace was built, and soon
became one of the most popular fairs in the south; in 1913 an estimated 500,000
people visited the site.
Amicable Insurance Building, at twenty-two-stories becomes the tallest building
1913: An electric interurban railway opened between Waco
1917: Camp MacArthur opens (1917 to 1919) an infantry
training base covering more than 10,000 acres The 35,000 troops assigned to the
camp doubled Waco's population.
"The Reservation" - Waco's licensed
red-light district since the 1870s is shut down this year.
The Cotton Palace, a symbol of the city's prosperity, was shut
down. It later burned.
Based on a fear of not appearing "progressive"- the
electric trolleys were discontinued and replaced with buses.
55,982 people lived in Waco
World War II revives the cotton industry
and Waco Army Flying School and Blackland Army Air Field (China Spring) were opened.
1948: Waco Army Air Field was reactivated as Connally Air Force Base
1952: population was 84,300
1953: A tornado nearly levels downtown.
Hundreds of people were buried in the rubble of buildings whose brick walls were
not braced. The loss of nearly 600 downtown buildings is still evident today.
1966: Connally Air Force Base is closed
1970: the population
1980: population reaches 101,216
Native Sons & Daughters
Sucker by Clay Coppedge|
Necessity may be the mother of invention but
it can also be the mother of re-invention. Other than perhaps Kinky Friedman,
nobody exhibits that twist on the old axiom more than Mary Louise Cecilia Guinan,
known to history as Texas Guinan and for her famous greeting: “Hello, Sucker.”
Guinan by Luke
She may have been Waco's Answer to Mae West - but no one remembers the
by Archie P. McDonald
African American hero of WWII
by Mike Cox|
As a long-time
Texas lawyer, Ben Sleeper wrote many a legalese-laden petition alledging this
or that in behalf of his clients, but few if any of them ever knew of – much less
heard – the patriotic song he composed as a young Army officer in training back
during World War I. Ten
Thing you should know about Jules Bledsoe
by John Troesser
courtesy Texas Collection, Baylor University
Architecture: Gone but not Forgotten|
| || |
Photo circa 1940s courtesy George Lester
location and its involvement in so many historical Texas events and developments
makes it one of Texas' most interesting towns. Fortunately, Waco has a very active
historical society which has printed a historical magazine for many years. An
Illustrated History of Waco in two volumes has been published by Texian Press,
a Waco company with a strong personal involvement in the project.
unfortunate events that took place at "Mount Carmel" have linked the name Waco
with those events. It's our sincere hope that people will eventually forget this
association and that Waco will be known for what it is and has been, and not for
a single incident. - Editor
Hotels > Book Here
Waco in the 1950s|
Photo courtesy of TXDoT
Temple is just 36 miles
South on I-35
22 miles to the west via Hwy 6
I am looking for information on anything
to do with Rich Flying Field, in Waco. This was home to a unit of the Air Force
of France, the US Army Flying Service, and U. S. Signal Corps. This World War
I base was located near 42nd street in Waco and was the basis for Richfield High
School (now Waco High School) . My father served at Rich Flying Field in 1918.
USAF records are slim concerning WWI because of the great fire in St. Louis, Mo.
I am searching other Air Force centers for records. I would like to contact members
of Waco, Texas Historical Society that might help with this project. Many pilots
went to the front from Rich Field, if planes were avaliable. Their contribution
to the war should not be forgotten. The beginnings of the Air Force is a part
of Waco's history and the military history of our country and the struggle in
I am looking for records of my fathers military service with
the Army Signal Corp and Army Air Service at Rich Flying Field in 1918. My fathers
name was Henry M. Harris. - John Harris, Fort Worth, February 18, 2005
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic
photos of their town/subject, please contact
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