McCulloch House

McCulloch House is a historic house museum owned by Historic Waco Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to maintain and preserve the history of Waco. This organization owns three historic house museums in Waco in addition to the McCulloch House: Earle-Napier-Kinnard House, Fort House, and East Terrace House.

Josiah Caldwell, a Waco physician, built what would become McCulloch House for his wife, Maria Caldwell, and their five children in 1866. Originally, the structure was a two-bedroom house with a detached kitchen. 

In 1871, local merchant Champe Carter McCulloch and wife Emma bought the house and began renovations. They worked on the house for eleven years, first building another wing, and eventually expanding the house into a two-story building. The Greek Revival addition was completed in 1872. In enlarging the house, the workers made use of local pink brick.

Mr. McCulloch was a prominent Wacoan, a local merchant who made frequent trips to New York to buy merchandise for local vendors. He also served as mayor of the city for eleven years. The McCullochs raised seven children in the house, but also ensured that the house remained part of the Waco social scene, hosting many dances and parties. It became a part of a series of houses throughout Central Texas that allowed people to travel and experience different cities such as Dallas and Houston. People went on “pilgrimages” to these different houses in order to participate in the dances and parties, getting an idea of what life in those cities might be like. McCulloch House made a significant impact on the city of Waco through the effect these pilgrimages had upon the city’s social life and population.

The 1953 tornado destroyed a large portion of McCulloch House which later had to be completely reconstructed. Some of this damage can still be seen today, such as the portion of stairs that remains slanted. Members of the McCulloch family continued to live in the house until 1971, at which point the heirs donated it to Historic Waco Foundation. McCulloch House has a lively history that is continuously being enhanced by the people who maintain it.

For tours of the McCulloch House, or for more information about Historic Waco Foundation, visit www.historicwaco.org.

Images

Modest Beginnings

Modest Beginnings

The McCulloch House was originally a two-room brick structure with a detached kitchen. Dr. Josiah Caldwell, the official physician of McLennan County, purchased the property for $500 in gold at an 1866 public auction. Caldwell, his wife Maria, and their five children lived in the house from 1866 to 1872. | Source: Image courtesy of the Texas Collection, Baylor University View File Details Page

New Owners

New Owners

Champe Carter McCulloch and his wife Emma purchased the house in 1872 for $5,000 in gold. Mr. McCulloch was a prominent Waco merchant and served as the city's mayor for eleven years. | Source: Image courtesy of Historic Waco Foundation View File Details Page

Hearth and Home

Hearth and Home

For almost one hundred years, the house remained the center of McCulloch family life. All ten of Champe and Emma McCulloch's children were born in the home. The last descendant, a daughter-in-law, lived in the house until 1971. | Source: Image courtesy of Historic Waco Foundation View File Details Page

Hard Times

Hard Times

The McCulloch House experienced a period of sharp decline in the mid-twentieth century. The 1953 tornado badly damaged a large section of the home, and repeated acts of vandalism left the once impressive residence derelict by the early 1970s. | Source: Image courtesy of Historic Waco Foundation View File Details Page

Restored for Posterity

Restored for Posterity

Historic Waco Foundation received the residence as a gift from the McCulloch heirs in 1976. Though the property was in terrible shape, restoration efforts allowed the house to return to its former proud state by 1980. The residence currently serves as a public museum maintained by Historic Waco Foundation. | Source: Image courtesy of Historic Waco Foundation View File Details Page

Audio

Decorating the Home During the Summer Months

Joyce Packard explains how the staff of Historic Waco Foundation decorate the McCulloch home just as it would have been decorated by the family during the summer. | Source: Packard, Joyce and Robert, interviewed by Leslee A. Elliot, March 5, 2007, in Waco, Texas. Baylor University Institute for Oral History, Waco, TX. View the full interview View File Details Page

Importance of the Historic Houses

Joyce Packard explains how important the historic houses are to interpreting Waco's history. | Source: Packard, Joyce and Robert, interviewed by Lois E. Myers, March 5, 2007, in Waco, Texas. Baylor University Institute for Oral History, Waco, TX. View the full interview View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Kyle Ruiz, “McCulloch House,” Waco History, accessed June 22, 2017, http://wacohistory.org/items/show/73.

Related Tours

Tour navigation:  Previous | Tour Info | Next

Share this Story