Historic Homes

Tour curated by: Baylor University Institute for Oral History & The Texas Collection

Since Ann Pamela Cunningham rallied the help of women throughout America to save George Washington’s Mount Vernon from ruin and neglect in the mid-nineteenth century, Americans set about preserving historic homes in their own backyards as windows the nation’s past and bearers of cultural heritage. Waco took part in this fervor and today boasts a number of historic residences. From private residences to homes adapted for business use to four house museums kept and preserved by Historic Waco Foundation, each of these homes preserves the city’s past in a unique way.

This tour highlights some of Waco’s historic houses and invites you to explore the past through the daily life of some of Waco’s former residents.

Locations for Tour

The Rotan-Dossett House is one of several preserved homes in Waco built by prominent figures of McLennan County. Though not a pioneer of the area, Edward Rotan was a major economic figure—a classic nineteenth-century capitalist. He came to McLennan…

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…

Built when fewer than seven hundred citizens lived in Waco Village proper, the Earle-Napier-Kinnard House has truly been a witness to history.   In 1856, Thomas Harrison and John Baylis Earle purchased a double log cabin on five acres for $1,000.…

The history of Fort House is as much a narrative about a nineteenth-century family home as it is local twentieth century efforts to preserve the landmarks of Waco’s prosperous past. The man behind one of Waco’s more distinctive homes was not a…

On the east bank of the Brazos River stands East Terrace House, a residence with a past that is as remarkable as its Italianate style of architecture. Future industrialist John Wesley Mann moved to Waco in 1858 from Lebanon, Tennessee. He raised…

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…

Near the turn of the twentieth century, a booming cotton industry was quickly establishing Waco as one of the major urban centers of the South, encouraging many residents to more readily invest and spend their money locally. In 1890, local stone…