Waco Population - 113,726 Altitude - 427

Waco's oldest suspension bridge was the nations largest when it was built back in 1870

General -Waco's old suspension bridge was the largest in the nation when first built in 1870.

One of Texas’ major cities, Waco is located in a rich agricultural region of the Brazos river Valley. Modern industries thrives, but this city retains much of its flavor of its past when the five "C’s" were its main support: Cattle, Cotton, Corn, Collegians and Culture.

The beautiful large, cold springs on the Brazos river were long popular with the Waco Indians. The first non-natives to see this area were the remnants of De Soto’s band in 1542.

The famous Texas Rangers Fort was established near an Indian village in 1837; the first white settlers came 12 years later.

Great plantations along the Brazos prospered briefly, but Civil War wrecked plantation economy and scattered the population. A Renewed Western movement and the Chisholm Trail through Waco brought another boom to Waco - and frontier wildness that nicknamed the town "Six-shooter Junction".

Today, Waco is known for educational, cultural and recreational facilities. The Heart O’Texas Fair and Rodeo are in the first week in October also: professional rodeo with entertainers, livestock and horse shows, and fine arts exhibits.

Institutions of higher learning are Baylor Univ., McLennan Community College, and Texas State Technical College.

Armstrong-Browning Library -

On campus of Baylor Univ., world’s largest collection of works and memorabilia of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Fifty-four stained glass windows, each depicting a Browning poem, in 18th-Century Italian Renaissance building. Contains numerous Renaissance paintings and bronze sculptures. Open Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. - noon, 2 - 4 p.m.; Sat 9 a.m. - noon. Tel. 254/ 755-3566.

Art Center Waco -

Features rotating exhibits of various stuff including paintings, sculptures, woodcarvings, pottery, and macramé. Beautiful Mediterranean styled building, formerly a private residence, includes courtyard, Loggia and colonnades. Sits on a bluff with magnificent views. Open Tues. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sun. 1 - 5 p.m. 1300 College Dr. Admission. For information, call 254/ 755-3566.

Cameron Park Zoo

A fabulous 51-acre natural habitat zoo near the Brazos river amid pecan, elm, live oak, burr oak, cottonwood, bamboo and mesquite trees. Recreational as well as educational; check out the signboards at viewing points for animal trivia questions. Home for gibbon apes, Sumatran tigers, white rhinos, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, and many other species. Two restaurants: Gibbon Island and African Treetops village. Open daily 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (till 5 p.m. Sat & Sun.) with extended summer hours. 1600 N. 4th St.; take 4th & 5th St. Exit from I-35. Admission. For Information, call 254/ 750-8400.

Dr Pepper Museum -

A fountain drink mixed in the Old Corner Drug Store in the 1880’s was dubbed a "Waco" by early patrons because it could not be found outside the city of Waco. It later acquired the name Dr Pepper. R. S. Lazenby, Waco beverage chemist and patron of the drug store, became interested in the new drink and began extensive research. In 1885, after some two years of testing, blending , and processing, the new flavor was originated and put on sale commercially. So nearly perfect is Lazenby’s original work that the formula has remained basically unchanged for over a hundred years. Museum housed in original 1906 bottling plant, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It features restored operating soda fountain along with other Dr Pepper memorabilia with interactive audio visual displays. Open Mon. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sun. noon - 4 p.m. at 300 South 5th St.. For information call 254/ 757-1024. Admission.

Earle - Harrison House and Pape Gardens -

One of state’s finest antebellum Greek Revival houses, built in 1858 - 59 by Dr. and Mrs. Baylis Wood Earle. Mrs. Earle sold the mansion in 1872 to her brother, General Thomas Harrison, one of Waco’s six confederate generals. The house is constructed of cypress from East Texas and plantation made brick. Detached kitchen is the repository of the governor Pat Neff kitchen collection, which is notable for being the kitchen collection of governor Pat Neff. Guided tours Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. - noon, 1 - 5 p.m.; Sat., Sun. 1 -5 p.m. At 1901 North 5th St. Admission. For information, call 254/ 753-2032.

Historic Homes -

Four gracious southern mansions: Fort House (503 S. 4th St.), East Terrace (open Mon. - Fri. 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., at 100 Mill St.), McCullough House (407 Columbus St.), Earle-Kinnard House (814 S. 4th St.). All houses open Sat. - Sun. 2 - 5 p.m. Special tours during annual Christmas on the Brazos Celebration (first full weekend in Dec.) Fee. Telephone: 254/ 753-5166.

Parks -

Network of 36 spacious municipal parks led by 416 - acre Cameron Park with scenic vistas and miles of quiet walking paths; one of the state’s largest natural municipal parks - all in the heart of the city.

Mayborn Museum Complex -

Indian life and lore, geological, biological, anthropological collections. Open Mon. - Wed. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Thu. 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sun. 1 - 5 p.m.; closed holidays. 1300 S. University Parks Dr. 254-710-1110. Within the Mayborn Musuem Complex is the Gov. Bill & Vara Daniel historic village, turn of the century Texas village with more than 20 buildings, including a hotel, church, saloon, cotton gin, residences and outhouses. Center open Tues. - Fri. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sat., Sun. 1 - 5 p.m.

Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum -

The Texas Rangers Hall of Fame is located in Waco, Texas Built near the site of the original Texas Ranger fort established in 1837.This museum displays commemorative history and the heritage of the famed Texas Rangers.Today, headquarters for the present Company F, Texas Rangers. Famous collection of guns and weapons from the Old West; Indian artifacts and Western art. In 35 acre park along I-35 at University Parks Dr. on Lake Brazos. Museum open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. For information, call 254/ 750-8631. Admission.


Texas Sports Hall of Fame -

Sports memorabilia highlight nationally known Texans for their achievements: golfers Byron Nelson, Lee Trevino, Don January, Babe Didrikson Zaharias; boxer George Foreman; Baseball’s Nolan Ryan, just to name a few. Wow! Video features historic sports events in the tom Landry Theater. There’s also the Texas Baseball hall of Fame, Tennis hall of Fame, and the Texas High School Halls of Fame for football, basketball, and baseball. Open daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 1108 University Parks Dr., next to Fort Fisher Park. For information, call: 254/ 756-1633.

Visitor Information Center -

Details about Waco attractions and events, free maps, directions, literature, accommodations and dining information. Provided daily by Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau at 254/ 750-8696 or 1-800 / WACO-FUN. University Parks Dr. off I-35 (Exit 335B). 24 hour recorded phone message of events, 254/ 752-WACO. Open 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mon. - Sat., 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sun.

Waco Suspension Bridge - Built in 1870 and still in use today as pedestrian crossing of Brazos River, this bridge became the vital avenue over which passed much of the great Western movement including the Chisholm Trail.


Back to the top