Waco's Visitor Information Center
If you are planning a trip to Waco, make sure that you stop in at the Visitor's Information Center located just south of the Texas Ranger Museum.
It contains clean bathrooms, helpful ambassadors, and also plenty of discount admissions to all of the area attractions.
The center also has a website, which will help you choose what you want to do prior to your trip.
Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village
The 15 wood frame buildings that make up the 13 acre Gov. Bill & Vara Daniel Historic Village continue the Crossroads of Texas theme present in the Mayborn Museum Complex on Baylor University's campus. Giving visitors an accurate view of life in Texas from the latter part of the 19th Century into the early 20th Century, the village is a wonderful place to take a look at our Western Heritage.
Oldest Tombstones--The First Street Cemetery
You might drop by Fort Fisher Park to tour the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, or to obtain information from the Travel Information Center, but I encourage you to take a leisurely walk through The First Street Cemetery while you're there, as well.
My husband and I find cemeteries to be like little time capsules. Not only are they peaceful places for contemplation (pic #2), but reading some of the tombstones can be a brief history lesson.
First Street Cemetery is the oldest public cemetery in Waco. The oldest grave is marked 1852. Here is just one tidbit of information gathered from our visit:
(pic #3) Thomas Barron--Texas Ranger Captain in charge of establishing Fort Fisher; Clerk of the First McClennan County Court and eventually the County Tax Assessor. Mr. Barron also built Waco's first Steam Mill. (b1796; d1874)
Next to this cemetery is an 'inactive cemetery' known as Hebrew Rest, which was established in 1869.
Waco, TX... my home for 4 fun filled years!
Waco is in central McLennan County about seventy miles south of Dallas near the confluence of the Brazos and Bosque rivers. The city's transportation links include Interstate Highway 35, U.S. highways 84 and 77, State Highway 6, the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and the St. Louis Southwestern Railway. The city is built on the site of an ancient agricultural village of Huaco (Waco) Indians. About 1830 a group of Cherokee Indians moved into the area and drove the Huacos from the village. Fort Fisher, a Texas Rangers outpost and the first white settlement in the area, was established in 1837, but was abandoned after only a few months. In 1844 George Barnard began operating Torrey's Trading Post No. 2 on a small tributary of Tehuacana Creek, eight miles south of the old Huaco village. A year later Neil McLennan moved onto land nearby on the South Bosque River. A log smithy was erected at the present site of East Waco in 1846 by Jesse Sutton, a blacksmith. In 1848 Gen. Thomas J. Chambers sold a two-league grant of land, including the old Waco village site, to John S. Sydnor of Galveston. Sydnor struck a deal with land agent Jacob De Cordova to divide the property and dispose of it at a dollar an acre. George B. Erath, who had first visited the area as one of the rangers stationed at the old 1837 outpost, was one of De Cordova's surveyors, and he urged that the new townsite be placed at the former Indian village. In 1848 the tract was sold to Nathaniel A. Ware and Jonas Butler of Galveston; they became De Cordova's partners in the venture.
Waco's economy recovered rapidly in the years just after the Civil War. After 1868 the town was on a spur of the Chisholm Trailqv used by cattlemen to drive steers to market, and cattlemen and their employees often stopped in the town to buy supplies and for recreation. By 1871 between 600,000 and 700,000 cattle had been driven through the town. Waco's economy especially began to boom after 1870, when the Waco Bridge Company opened a suspension bridge spanning the Brazos. Upon completion of the bridge, Waco was quickly reincorporated as the "City of Waco." In 1871, when the Waco and Northwestern Railroad was built into the city, Waco became an important debarkation point for thousands of prospective settlers headed west and the primary shipping point for a broad area. The town had many saloons and gaming houses during the 1870s, attracting cowhands, drifters, and others who helped earn the town the nickname of "Six Shooter Junction." A red light district called the "Reservation" also grew during this period, and prostitutionqv was legally recognized, licensed, and regulated by the city until the early twentieth century.
"Baylor gets started"
Waco became an increasingly important commercial center, during the late nineteenth century the city also attracted a number of educational institutions and in some circles was known as the "Athens of Texas." Waco Classical School, established in 1860, became Waco University in 1861 and in 1887 merged with Baylor University, which moved to Waco at that time. In 1872 the African Methodist Episcopal church opened Paul Quinn College. Sacred Heart Academy, a Catholic school, was founded by the Sisters of St. Mary of Namurqv in 1873. Other private or sectarian schools, including Waco Academy, Waco Select School, and Leland Seminary, were also operating in the city at that time. Waco Female College was first established in 1856; it closed its doors in 1893, but by 1895 Add-Ran College occupied the buildings. Add-Ran became Texas Christian University in 1902.
All text credited to: Roger N. Conger