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…

Believed to have curative qualities, water from Waco’s artesian wells were popular during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Locals considered the discovery of the artesian water in 1889 one of the most important events in Waco up…

At the corner of Clifton Street and Elm Avenue is Jasper’s Bar-B-Que, Waco’s oldest-operating barbecue restaurant. Although East Waco has undergone many changes, Jasper’s has never changed locations and remains a place where residents today can…

Julius “Jules” Bledsoe’s extraordinary musical talent transcended racial discrimination of the nineteenth century and established him as a pioneer in American music. Bledsoe was born on December 29, 1897, to Henry and Jessie Bledsoe in Waco.…

One of the most infamous publicity stunts of all time, "The Crash at Crush," took place about 3 miles south of West, Texas, featuring two locomotives of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company (known as M-K-T or "Katy") intentionally set on a…

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…

In 1930, Harry Burmeister opened Harry B’s at 1925 Speight Avenue. Burmeister, a former Baylor student and founding member of the Noze Brothers society, developed the small restaurant, soon making it a local favorite. The original restaurant…

In 1948, brothers-in-law Jack Schaevitz and Lou Stein opened a small mobile food cart at James Connally Air Force Base. The two became so successful selling burgers and frozen custard to military men that they opened a small restaurant on the Waco…

In the early 1950s, McLennan County voters approved a $1.2 million bond towards the construction of a new agricultural and entertainment venue. Contractors Farnsworth and Chambers of Houston, Texas, worked alongside local architect Harris H. Roberts…

For over a century, the Hippodrome Theatre has stood as a downtown home for ever-changing forms of entertainment.The venue emerged in the early twentieth century through advocates for a downtown theater banding together. A group of local businessmen,…

Lake Waco is a reservoir and artificial lake which serves a variety of functions for the city of Waco. The dam was built in 1929 in order to control flooding of the Bosque River and to provide the city with a reliable water source. In 1961, a modern…

For over a century, the Baylor University Homecoming Parade has played an important role in the relationship between the institution, its alumni, and the greater Waco community. The tradition began in the fall of 1909, when Baylor alumni received a…

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…

One of the largest municipal parks in Texas, Cameron Park has provided Wacoans with ready access to natural beauty and recreational activities for over one hundred years. Though it is hard to imagine Waco without the 416-acre Cameron Park, the city…

When Stephen F. Austin led the first Anglo-American settlers into Texas including areas along the Brazos River, they brought with them their strong agricultural tradition based on cotton-growing. From the period of annexation until well into the…