During the 1890s, the city of Waco was in a period of financial growth, and citizens were in need of a place to be entertained. Waco was home to several theaters and opera houses; however, local businessmen desired a large auditorium that would bring…

Calle Dos emerged in the early twentieth century as a haven for Mexican immigrants fleeing border violence and rapidly developed into a center of culture and community for Waco’s Hispanic population. Prior to the establishment of Calle Dos, Mexican…

A proudly old-fashioned medicine in retro packaging that features a turn-of-the-twentieth-century tot is not only a vestige of Waco’s drug store past—it is a part of its present as well. The preparation known since 1938 as Percy Medicine was born…

Joining the recently completed Amicable building, the Praetorian building towered over the city in 1915 as one of the first skyscrapers in Central Texas. The building’s unique architecture and distinctive character ensured that it continued to…

The Old Corner Drugstore is the birthplace of Dr Pepper. In 1885, Morrison’s Old Corner Drugstore introduced Dr Pepper to customers who eagerly drank the sweet concoction of twenty-three different flavors.  Located at 329 Austin Avenue on the…

Sanger Brothers department stores were often described as the pioneer retail stores of Texas. Yet these successful mercantile ventures arose from humble beginnings. Between 1852 and 1874, five of the seven Sanger brothers immigrated to America from…

Waco enjoyed an unprecedented level of economic prosperity when cotton was king in the early twentieth century. During this period, Waco’s prominent families commissioned residences that would speak to their affluence and elevated station. The…

Sandtown was a vibrant and predominately Mexican American neighborhood that was active from the turn of the twentieth century to the 1960s. It encompassed the area of downtown Waco between Third Street and the Brazos River, and the seven blocks…

In 1886, Wacoans Isaac A. Goldstein and Louey Migel formed the Goldstein-Migel Company in order to try their hand at retail. The partners opened their first store on the ground floor of a building in the 700 block of Austin Avenue with only two…

Decades before American Idol made stars out of wannabes, Waco had its own hit-maker, Mary Holliday.Holliday (1901-1969), believed to be the first female radio announcer in Texas, broadcast a thirty-minute youth talent show each Saturday for more…

Shortly after the 1936 flood waters had receded and cleanup was well under way, disaster struck Waco again. On October 4, the Liberty Building on Austin Avenue and Sixth Street exploded, fatally wounding 65-year-old janitor Warren Moore and causing…

Waco entered an economic slump in the aftermath of the 1953 Waco tornado, urban renewal in the 1960s, and the Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall in the 1970s and ‘80s. Many businesses either moved or closed their doors permanently during this time. Yet…

Waco rapidly industrialized in the early decades from its founding. The arrival of the railroad and the building of the Suspension Bridge increased the numbers of travelers through the region, and the city soon became a thriving urban center. In…

For over one hundred years, St. Paul’s has continued to meet the needs of congregants and community members alike from its location at the corner of North Fifth Street and Columbus Avenue. On January 9, 1868, Bishop Alexander Gregg appointed Rev.…

City Tire and Battery is a third-generation family-owned establishment started by aspiring entrepreneur George Berry Graves Sr. The business began at Third Street, Washington Avenue, and Franklin Avenue, in the commercial center of downtown Waco in…

Completed in 1970, the Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall opened to high expectations. The City of Waco created the pedestrian mall in an effort to bring consumers back to the downtown district, closing down the street to automobiles and only allowing…

After the Amicable Life Insurance Company opened for business on April 2, 1910, the owners began searching for a location to house their new business. The owners of First National Bank, located at Fifth Street and Austin Avenue, also served as…