Jeffie Obrea Allen Conner was born in 1895 on her family’s farm in Harrison Switch, Texas. She was the oldest of three children born to Meddie Lilian and Jeff D. Allen. Harrison Switch, later known as Harrison, was a small African American…

Rebecca Pines Shelton Sparks, often referred to as Mother Sparks, was a laywoman from Missouri who moved to Texas with her family before the Civil War. Sparks married a Confederate veteran of the Texas Calvary and a Texas Ranger, Thaddeus Pinckney…

On the corner of Eighth Street and Washington Avenue once stood a Catholic school and convent that taught thousands of students during its years of operation from 1874 to 1946. The Academy of the Sacred Heart received its name partially because the…

Texas Christian University called various Texas cities—including Waco—home for many years before settling permanently in Fort Worth. The university traces its origins to a small private school operated out of a brick church structure in Fort…

A forerunner of Baylor University, Waco University served as one of the earliest and most influential institutions of higher learning following the founding of Waco Village in 1849. When Waco incorporated in 1856, Baptists already held a significant…

Waco Female College served as an influential institution of higher learning for women in the nineteenth century. The consolidation of two other female educational institutions, Waco Female Seminary and Waco Female Academy, led to the formation of…

For many years, Sanger Avenue Elementary School stood as the most familiar landmark of the Sanger Heights neighborhood. Located in the “Silk Stocking District,” Sanger Avenue Elementary acquired a reputation as one of the premier educational…

For over a century, Baylor University has served as one of the various educational institutions contributing to Waco’s reputation as the “Athens on the Brazos.” Constructed to house the university’s administration, Pat Neff Hall came to serve…

Tidwell Bible Building stands as a physical memorial not only to the formation of Baylor’s modern Department of Religion, but also as a symbol of the university’s dedication to Christian ideals. Prior to 1910, Baylor’s Bible Department offered…

Paul Quinn College is the oldest historically black college in Texas. Though it is no longer located in Waco, it remains an important part of the city’s history as the “Athens on the Brazos.” In 1872 the African Methodist Episcopalian Church…

The plans for F. L. Carroll Chapel and Library were announced in 1901, following substantial gifts to Baylor University from F. L. Carroll for the Chapel and Library and from G. W. Carroll for the Science Hall. While the Science Hall is separate…

Waco native Vivienne Lucille Malone-Mayes possessed a sharp mind with a resilient spirit to match. In an age where few women, let alone women of color, went on to become prominent figures in higher education, Malone-Mayes made her mark as an…

This important archaeological find containing the remains of twenty-five Columbian mammoths lies just on the outskirts of the city of Waco. Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin discovered the site in 1978 while hiking along the banks of the Brazos searching…

Old Waco High School is the oldest of several extant buildings to have housed Waco High School. Initially the school met in two small buildings in downtown Waco during the 1880s, and for many years was the only public school west of the Brazos. The…

In the late nineteenth century, Waco became known as the “Athens of Texas” due to the several colleges and classical schools, eight newspapers, and scores of well-known politicians and writers located there. Despite this reputation for quality…

In 1875, Professor Alexander James Moore of Paul Quinn College, concerned at the lack of quality education for African American children in Waco, began teaching small groups of young children out of his home. Though Reconstruction Legislature of 1870…