Within Sight of this spot March 1, 1849, occured the first sale of town lots at Waco Village. Former home of Waco Indians. Shapley Ross, First Settler started Brazos Ferry in 1850, McLennan County was created same year, named for Neil McLennan, Pioneer Scot whose cabin on the South Bosque River became first Anglo-American Home in the area (1845).
Waco, County Seat, grew steadily as a center of trade education and industry for rich farm area completion of First Brazos River Bridge 1870 and coming first railroad 1872 set city on the road to industrial expansion.
More can be seen in front of the Texas Ranger Museum.
Before 1875 in Texas, Cattle roamed over thousands of acres of public land, and free grazing became a tradition. After 1875, an increasing farm populace tended to protect crops and other property with barbed wire fences which were resented by the stockraisers, cattle losses in the 1880s provoked cutting of fences.
In 1884, Texas enacted laws to curb the practice, and the Texas Rangers were dispatched by the Governor to apprehend the fence cutters.
To find out how this story ended, please visit the Texas Ranger Museum and this historical marker in Waco.
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.
In 1866, the Waco Bridge Company received a 25 year charter that no toll bridge or ferry would be built within 5 miles of this bridge so they would be able to recoup the cost of the bridge's budget.
Over those 25 years, people, vehicles and cattle were all charged to cross the bridge until 1889 when McLennan County purchased the bridge and turned it into a free bridge.
This is significant in Texas history, as this was a major contributor to the Chisholm Trail, which herded cattle from the Texas plains up to Colorado.
As Texas is known as the Lone Star State, I liked this piece of art in front of Baylor's Law School. Not only is it a Bear, which is Baylor's mascot, but it is also in the shape of the Texas Lone Star.
Dual art, very interesting!
Just outside of Baylor's Law School, which is located off I-35 and University Parks, just past the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Thomas Hudson Barron was one of the major contributors to the story of Waco. As one of the first pioneers to Texas, Barron was a volunteer in the building of Texas and came from his home state of Arkansas. He became the first clerk of McLennan County, and has many landmarks within Waco named after him.
This memorial marker is located within the First St. Cemetery in Fort Fisher Park, the park which Barron was a part of establishing.
If you are headed to Waco, and do not plan to do any informational gathering previous to your trip, I would recommend stopping in to the Waco's Visitor Information Center located next to the Texas Ranger Museum and First Street Cemetery.
It has very clean bathrooms, plenty of material on what to do and see in Waco, and also some discount admissions to various attractions.
The staff is very courteous and were helpful in assisting me where to go.
I'm drawn to courthouses, as some of you might also be. The McClennan County Courthouse pictured here, is actually the fourth courthouse constructed. Earlier buildings were built in 1850, 1856, 1877, with the present one being erected in 1901.
This striking Beaux-Arts style building towering above Washington Avenue, gleaming white in the sunlight, is purported to have been inspired by St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. I had to stand a street away in order to photograph it's entire height and the clarity is lacking, but hopefully one can grasp it's beauty. The architect was J. Riely Gordon.
The huge dome is surrounded by a series of eagles with opened-wings and placed about the rim while the Greek goddess of divine law and justice, Themes, presides at its top. She bears the scale of justice in her left hand and only the hilt of the sword in her right for she's been disarmed. A vicious storm removed the blade and it was never replaced.
The courthouse sits at 501 Washington Avenue (254-757-5000)
As we were driving through the downtown area in our attempt to find a particular restaurant, we saw the ALICO building stretching towards the sky. Once we arrived home, I looked further into its history.
The Amicable life Insurance Company (established in 1910) wanted a building that would 'represent strength and stability' and be appealing to the public, so the business purchased a three story bank building in the heart of Waco and erected a 22 floor structure in its place.
After completion (1919), it was known as the tallest building west of the Mississippi and South of the Mason-Dixon line, remaining such until 1929. All the newest technology was applied to its design, such as an advanced elevator system and improved construction methods due to strides made in the steel industry.
It was necessary that the foundation be 45 feet in depth, so the huge amount of dirt needed to be removed by 'man, mule and wagon' required thirty teams. It appears this spectacle was much appreciated by the townspeople.
A devastating tornado that struck Waco in May of 1953 did not harm this 'tower of strength' although it killed 114 people and wreaked havoc on the town. A testament to its durability!
*The ALICO building sits at 5th & Austin. Architects were Sanguinet & Staats of Fort Worth and Roy E. Lane of Waco.
Baylor University was officially established in 1845 after a group of 35 delegates to the Union Baptist Assocation accepted a suggestion by Reverend William Milton Tryon and District Judge R.E.B. Baylor to establish a Baptist university in Texas.
Fastforwarding to the present, this 735 acre campus figures greatly in the life of this Texas town, for it offers not only a sterling education but contributes culturally, as well. Please see some of my earlier tips.
The various schools offered at the University are:
College of Arts & Sciences
George W. Truett Theological Seminary
Hankamer School of Business
School of Social Work
School of Music
School of Education
School of Engineers and Computer Science
Louise Herrington School of Nursing
Baylor is home to the first campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity, has a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and encourages students to be a "part of the Christian community of faith". The school's enrollment is over 14,000 students from every state and approximately 70 foreign countries.
Athletic opportunities/accomplishments include NCAA Division I 'Big 12' Conference; 18 varsity sports, 4 Olympic gold medalists, Men's tennis 2004 NCAA national champions; Women's basketball 2005 NCAA national champions; and in 25 'Big 12' Conference championships, Baylor is tied for 5th place overall.
Fondest memory: Directions from Dallas/Ft.Worth: take I-35 South to Waco, then take Exit 335B. Turn left onto University Parks Drive.
To contact Baylor offices call 1-800-BAYLOR-U
Visitor Information Centre is a must to visit first to collect all the info, maps and guides on what there is to see in Waco. The lady there was very helpful. The centre is right next to the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and Museum. I-35 at University Parks Drive, Waco.
Fondest memory: Waco was a discovery by accident. The trip down that way was unplanned but what we saw in our first short visit, inspired us to go back and search for more.
Museums, And the Cameron Zoo is a must see. Bring a camera that doesn't lock-up on you, when you are about to take a great shot... :-))
Fondest memory: A nice picnic lunch, in a relaxing setting like Cameron Park... 'Cold crumbed chicken pieces, a nice potato salad... (my recipe) and a bottle of red or white, or some beer. :-)
Favorite thing: not stop. I'm not pessimistic, but I've heard people refer to this place as a black hole of sorts. The area is split into three classes - unemployed, low-income, and super rich. The job market is structured so that a large pool of unemployed, educated workers will always exist. City government has time and time again rejected anything that might bring in large-scale work for this city due to the fact that it would raise the general pay scale by offering Union jobs. Although, not a bad place to visit. Adequate cinemas and dining make this a perfect rest stop or brief vacation for anyone, just don't live here. ;)
Well here is my take on this little question. I think where to take someone depends on his/her interest. And it's not the place a person lives that is so great, it's what you do with the place you live that matters. I am particularly fond of the Baylor Theater, Hipodrome. I also enjoy regularly, the Waco Zoo, and the Baylor 'bear trail' where I go to walk.
Fondest memory: I used to come visit my grandmother here when I was very young. I spent some time at Ridgewood then and now and I have very fond memories there. I remember going to Lion's Park and visiting the 'super slide' when I was a young boy.
Traffic...is great..not busy at all ...not like Austin or Dallas ..specially pick time.
Fondest memory: Church...lot of variety