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,…

Shortly after the 1936 flood waters had receded and cleanup was well under way, disaster struck Waco again. On October 4, the Liberty Building on Austin Avenue and Sixth Street exploded, fatally wounding 65-year-old janitor Warren Moore and causing…

Waco rapidly industrialized in the early decades from its founding. The arrival of the railroad and the building of the Suspension Bridge increased the numbers of travelers through the region, and the city soon became a thriving urban center. In…

For over one hundred years, St. Paul’s has continued to meet the needs of congregants and community members alike from its location at the corner of North Fifth Street and Columbus Avenue. On January 9, 1868, Bishop Alexander Gregg appointed Rev.…

Few major products are as closely identified with the people and environment where they began as Dr Pepper in Waco. Developing from a soft drink invented at a local drugstore to one of the largest and most popular industries in the world, Dr Pepper…

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…

Organized in 1866, New Hope Baptist Church is one of the oldest African American churches in Waco. Noted throughout its history for its excellent church music programs, New Hope is still a vibrant center of worship for Waco’s black community. The end…

After the Amicable Life Insurance Company opened for business on April 2, 1910, the owners began searching for a location to house their new business. The owners of First National Bank, located at Fifth Street and Austin Avenue, also served as…

On May 31, 1851, four charter members established the First Baptist Church of Waco. These members reached out to prominent missionary and Texan Rev. Noah T. Byers, offering him a salary of seventy-five dollars per year to pastor the church. The…

Temple Rodef Sholom has the distinction of being McLennan County’s oldest and largest Jewish congregation.  Jewish permanent settlers made Waco their home in the mid-nineteenth century. For many years no organized congregation existed; however,…

The founding of St. Francis on the Brazos in 1924 marked the return of Franciscan missionaries to central Texas after a century’s absence. At the invitation of Rev. C.E. Byrne, the bishop of Galveston, Spanish Franciscan missionaries settled in Waco…

Built in 1901, the McLennan County Courthouse holds pride of place within Waco as not only a functioning center of justice but also the city’s most impressive civic building. Designed by James Riley Gordon, the renowned architect responsible for…