Beginning in 1945, the sounds of big bands, the blues, and rock blended on the dance floor of East Waco’s Walker’s Auditorium. Continually looking for ways to serve his community, African American entrepreneur Herbert Walker founded the club. Prior…

On a hot Atlanta evening in July 1988, Ann Richards emerged from deep in the heart of Texas to address the Democratic National Convention as the keynote speaker. The Texas treasurer’s rousing and pointed speech—sprinkled with her characteristic…

Founded in 1951, the Word label helped spark the multimillion-dollar genre of Christian Contemporary Music (CCM). And it was sportscaster and ministry student Jarrell McCracken who gave it a voice. McCracken was working in radio to finance his…

The Hammond Laundry Cleaning Machinery and Supply Company of Waco, Texas, began in East Waco on Elm Street in 1911 when Texas native William Hammond decided to try his hand at the laundry business. By midcentury, the Waco company boasted operations…

Since 1942, scientists, engineers, and production workers have been at work in McGregor, Texas, helping win wars, achieve spaceflights, and work towards lunar missions. In its early years, the McGregor facility was home to Bluebonnet Ordnance Plant,…

While chiropractic therapy might now seem like a widely accepted treatment for physical ailments, the practice was hotly contested from the time of its emergence in 1895 until the middle of the twentieth century. Waco chiropractor Charles Lemly, who…

In the 1960s and 1970s, the taste of pizza and the sound of Dixieland jazz went hand in hand for Wacoans who frequented Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. Shakey’s, the nation’s first franchise pizza chain, would become famous for pioneering a winning…

During the 1950s and 1960s, Rev. Marvin C. Griffin strove to bring the Christian gospel to bear upon the civil rights struggle in Waco. As minister of New Hope Baptist Church from 1951 to 1969, Reverend Griffin preached a message of spiritual…

R. T. Dennis and Co. helped furnish the homes of Central Texas for nearly seventy years. Known for its exceptional quality furnishings, R. T. Dennis thrived in downtown Waco and served as the premier home décor destination. Unfortunately, the R. T.…

Owens-Illinois Inc., one of the largest glass bottle manufacturers in the world, originally came out of the famous Glass Capital of the World—Toledo, Ohio—in 1903. With its success came expansion, and the company opened a plant in Waco, Texas, on…

Mission Waco has been a cornerstone of the Waco community for decades. Even before the official creation of Mission Waco, founders Jimmy and Janet Dorrell worked hard to make a difference in the impoverished neighborhood of North Waco. After…

The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) stands as one of the most infamous secret societies in American history. The white robes and pointed masks symbolize prejudice, terror, and fear to Americans nationwide. Waco itself, and the greater McLennan County area,…

Eddie Bernice Johnson is a champion of minority and women’s rights representing Texas in the United States House of Representatives. Not only that, she fights to support the sciences and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, medicine)…

Elvis Presley is a name that hardly needs explanation. The king of rock-and roll stands as a cultural icon to this day, but few people know of his connection to Waco and Central Texas. In 1958, at the ripe age of twenty-two, Elvis joined the United…

James Andrew Harris shook the science world in 1969 for two reasons. First, he co-discovered elements 104 and 105 on the periodic table, a massive accomplishment. Second, he was the first African American in history to discover an element. James…

Waco and baseball went hand in glove for over five decades. The famous Katy Park (pinned on map below) was home to multiple minor league teams starting in 1899, one of the most famous being the Waco Pirates. The Pirates brought in two championship…

Settlers of the Texas Frontier were undeniably an eclectic bunch, and the founders of Waco were no exception. One of the main organizers of the new city was a Jewish, Jamaican-born Spaniard named Jacob de Cordova. De Cordova was not only…

For close to a century, passengers flying into Waco have been treated to aerial views of the Brazos River weaving its way through downtown and the sunlight glistening off the towers of Baylor University. Waco today is served by the modern Waco…

“The King of Western Swing,” the “living root of country music.” Henry William “Hank” Thompson became a western swing and country music star right from his hometown of Waco. Hank was born in Waco on September 3, 1925 to German-Czech immigrant…

Over the past forty years, Kitok Restaurant has gone from a humble diner to a local institution, known for its blend of American and Korean fare. But when it first opened in 1975, owner Kitok Moore stuck to diner classics and hesitated calling her…