Inspired by St. Peter's Cathedral, Waco's McLennan County Courthouse really is a must see on a trip through town.
This facility was built in 1901, which throughout all my travels sure was a popular decade to be a courthouse builder!
This actually was the third courthouse built in the span of 50 years in McLennan County as the town expanded.
IT WAS ORGANIZED IN 1951 by the Texas Sports Writers Association. Inside you can see a presentation in the Tom Landry Theater, see many displays, and visit a nice gift shop. The hall features amateur and professional athletes and teams.
There is an admission fee, $5 I think.
Whether you call it the Visitor's Center or the Tourist Information Center, as in Waco, you know you'll find many helpful travel guides, maps and even discount coupons most times.
Not to let an opportunity be wasted, Waco's handy center carries souvenir t-shirts, keychains, mugs and other memento's to take home with you, as well.
After scanning the brochures, selecting future sights to visit and freshening up in the restrooms, we turned our attention to the exterior of the center because it was ideally sandwiched between the Texas Hall of Fame/ Ranger Museum and the First Street Cemetery--lots to see here!
Parks have been enjoyed by a city's populace through the ages, so when we came upon Heritage Square we stopped to admire it's classic design and peaceful setting.
The square was opened in June, 2001 to replace an earlier site destroyed by the 1953 tornado. In fact, we were told by a townsperson that this tornado is what contributed to the deterioration of the downtown area. Whether this is entirely true or not, I'm not certain.
In any event, the tornado of '53 seems quite distant as one enjoys the beauty of Heritage Square, it's shady walkways, splash fountains and quietude.
When we dropped by Waco one hot July weekend, the river displayed little traffic other than a couple jetskis and two pleasure boats buzzing by us. Albeit, 100 F. temps do put a damper on sightseeing!
However, as I looked a little more into activities revolving around Waco's Brazos River, I discovered that not only is there a paddleboat cruise, but power boat races, too.
As for us, we would more likely schedule a return visit to enjoy a Spirit of the Rivers paddleboat cruise. During weekdays, a narrated daytime cruise sails at 1 pm, while a sunset dinner cruise departs at 8pm Tuesday through Sunday.
You have more cruise choices for the narrated cruise on the weekend, when times are scheduled for 10am, 11:40 am. and 1pm. See www.cruisewaco.com for the prices, directions and other sailings.
When you stop to walk the Waco Suspension Bridge, take a moment to pause before The Peace Officers Memorial. The memorial reposes in Indian Spring park near a rampway leading to the River Walk and was created to be a reminder of the 'ultimate sacrifice' made by some.
Edged by trees and encircled by benches, the memorial sits in a quiet corner of the park.
A total of 21 peace officers from MCClennan County are memorialized within this stone circle, which also represents the fallen from Federal, State, County and Local agencies. The center monument depicts their badges.
Tucked between two city parks, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park on the east side and Indian Spring Park on the west side, you'll find WACO SUSPENSION BRIDGE, once the longest single-span suspension bridge 'west of the Mississippi'.
The cables holding it in place were obtained from John Roebling Company, of Brooklyn Bridge fame. This historic bridge was finished in 1870 and was a main transport route at the time. It's a beauty, for it adorns the Brazos like a silvery tiara.
We parked our car nearby, then investigated Indian Spring Park and the Peace Officers Memorial, where the River Walk begins (pic #2). As the guys peered down from above, I followed the ramp to the walkway edging the Brazos River and came upon a couple perched on a bench feeding some ducks.
After snapping a few pictures, I scrambled back up and we strolled across the bridge, now open to pedestrian traffic only.
Below us the river slowly drifted by, on its shores were the remains of broken branches and pockets of litter. How disapointing to see the trash! Two jetskis whizzed passed and two motorboats splashed by, but other than this, there was no other traffic on the river.
A elevated viewing platform marked Martin Luther King, Jr. park (pic #3), which seemed to be a nicely landscaped area. A River Walk is planned for this side of the river, as well.
Parties and special events can be booked here by calling the City of Waco Parks and Recreation Dept. 254-750-8080.
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.
We arrived at the elegant doors of the Armstrong Browning Library a short time after they closed for the day. How disappointing, for I wanted to delve into the psyche of one of literature's most romantic couple, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
This graceful depository for the 'world's largest collection of Browning material' was conceived by Dr. A.J. Armstrong, who became a great fan of poet, Robert Browning, while still a child.
I found the story behind the Library's conception very interesting. While touring Italy in 1909, Dr. Armstrong made it a point to meet, 'Pen' Browning, son of Robert and Elizabeth. A short stay with Pen fired Armstrong's passion to collect anything related to Robert, Sr.
Two years later Pen died leaving no heir, so the other members of the family had to auction the poet's effects to pay creditors. However, a list was kept on who obtained which item at auction and through the years these materials were traced and purchased whenever possible, for Dr. A's collection.
Dr. Armstrong donated a small batch of Browning's books to Baylor in 1918 and from that point on the collection expanded each year.
In 1943, the school's President offered $100,000 to be applied towards creating a permanent home for the growing collection if Dr. A would match it. He more than matched it and the Armstrong Browning Library was completed on December, 1951 at the cost of $1.75 million dollars.
FYI: Architects Eggers and Higgins of New York designed the main floor, The library was completed with the help of 'artisans and craftsmen under the direction of chief architect and engineer, Wyatt C. Hedrick of Ft. Worth and builder S.B. Swigert Contruction Company of Waco, Texas.'
19th century contemporaries of Browning, Charles Dickens, Matthew Arnold, John Ruskin, George MacDonald and Joseph Milsand are also included in this collection of 19th century literature.
Hours are Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm and Sat. 9am-12 Noon. Admission is free.
"Twenty Years Young"
The Waco Performing Arts Company is celebrating its Twentieth Anniversary this season, and we they are doing in style. Some of the best-loved shows in Broadway history will be coming to Waco this year. boasting a combined 40 Tony Awards as they have delighted audiences all over the workd. Come see some fabulous musicals, a few hilarious comedies, and all the theatrical offerings this year.
You cna check out Family Series in which they will be featuring shows to bring the kids to on a few select weekends.
The Church of St Marys of the Assumption was founded in 1870. The original wooden church was damaged by fire in March 1903, and it was replaced by a brick sanctuary. The building was replaced again in 1956.
A new company was formed in 1891 - the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company. This company later changed its name to Dr Pepper Company. The company then moved from Waco to Dallas in 1923. In 1904, Dr Pepper was launched to almost twenty million people who attended the 1904 World's Fair Exposition in St. Louis. The exposition was the setting for more than one major product debut. Hamburgers and hot dogs were first served on buns at the exposition, and the ice cream cone was introduced. (photo: one of the exhibits).
Dr Pepper is a US typical soda, as the Root Beer. It is difficult to find a can in Europe. The flavor is too sweet even if the taste of cherry is pleasant.
The main attraction of the museum is the automatom telling the story of Dr Pepper beverage.
Numerous items illustrate the story of the soda in general with a focus on Dr Pepper. We saw the well from which the water was extracted at the beginning and delivery trucks (one indoor a second outdoor).
At the end of the visit, we ordered a Dr Pepper at the internal coffee house (no free sample).
A nice small museum, but not a great place.
Price : 5$ (4$ for senior).
We had a 0.50$ coupon.
Texas Rangers, the oldest state law enforcement agency in North America, was started asa civilian militia in the 1820's, to combat raids by the Comanche, Tonkawa and Karankawa Indians and increasing military attacks from Mexico and General Santa Anna. These companies founded by Stephen F. Austin are regarded as the first ancestors of the modern Texas Rangers, though the term "Texas Ranger" did not appear officially in a piece of legislation until 1874.
This museum, right off of I-35 offers an in depth history of the units and displays arms and equipment through its history. What did I find fascinating? They have Bonnie and Clydes guns! Yeehaa!
Also, we saw some of the earliest examples of Colt revolvers, which were popular among the early Rangers. In fact, it was use of this weapon by the Rangers that ultimately built the success of the Colt revolvers. This .36 caliber was used widely in defense of the frontier, and one Ranger, Samuel Walker, helped develop the famed "Walker Colt" revolver. The museum displays numerous pistols, showing the progression of the piece through time.
The museum doesn't just focus on the history of the Rangers, but also the current practices and future plans. It is a patriotic, informative stop for all ages.
Monday thru Sunday 9 am - 5 pm (Last Guest Admitted at 4:30 pm)
Children (6-12): $2.50
Children under 6 free
We cannot miss this museum even I am not a fan of the serie Walker, Ranger of Texas.
The Rangers have been created in 1823 by Stephen Austin in order to protect the population, mainly against indians.
Since this date the missions of the Rangers have evolved and they are now involved within the criminal investigations and in searching the criminals like Bonny and Clide.
A lot of things to read. Several videos.
Price : 5$
Open from Monday to Sunday - 9AM to 5 PM.
I wish to thank the museum which has forgoten to debit my Visa.
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