Wacocityseat of McLennan county, north-central TexasU. Waco lies along the Brazos Riversome miles km south of Dallas. It was founded in on the site of a Waco Hueco Indian village near a Texas Ranger fort in a farming and plantation area.
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Support the Handbook today. No thank you, I am not interested in ing. Waco is in central McLennan County about seventy miles south of Dallas near the confluence of the Brazos and Bosque rivers.
The city's transportation links include Interstate Highway 35, U. Louis Southwestern Railway. The city is built on the site of an ancient agricultural village of Waco Indians. About a group of Cherokee Indians moved into the area and drove the Wacos from the village. Fort Fisher, a Texas Rangers outpost and the first White settlement in the area, was established inbut was abandoned after only a few months.
About waco history
A log smithy was erected at the present site of East Waco in by Jesse Sutton, a blacksmith. In Gen. Thomas J. Chambers sold a two-league grant of land, including the old Waco village site, to John S. Sydnor of Galveston.
Sydnor struck a deal with land agent Jacob De Cordova to divide the property and dispose of it at a dollar an acre. George B. Erathwho had first visited the area as one of the rangers stationed at the old outpost, was one of De Cordova's surveyors, and he urged that the new townsite be placed at the former Indian village. In the tract was sold to Nathaniel A. On March 1,Erath laid out the first block of the new town and divided it into ed lots that were sold for five dollars each, with "farming lots" selling for two to three dollars each.
The property owners had earlier chosen Lamartine as the name of the new town, but Erath was successful in persuading them to call it Waco Village. When McLennan County was organized inWaco Village was selected as the county seat after De Cordova and his partners in the Waco townsite donated free lots in the town for public purposes.
The first courthouse was built later that year. De Cordova induced a of important citizens to move to the new townsite, including Capt. Shapley P. Rossa ranger and Indian fighter, who established and operated a ferry across the Brazos. Ross also owned the town's first hotel and served as its first postmaster, frequently carrying the letters around inside his beaver hat. Inwhen the town was growing rapidly, Robert Lambdin began publishing the Waco Erathe town's first newspaper. Thomas Alexander, Rev. John M. McChord, and Rev. Taylor in May The following year Waco Village was incorporated as the town of Waco, and a new county courthouse was built that year.
The town continued to grow as cotton culture spread along the Brazos, and by there were people living there.
Situated in the midst of a flourishing plantation economy, many of the town's most prominent citizens sympathized with the Southern secessionist cause during the Civil War. Seventeen companies of Confederate soldiers were raised from Waco and the surrounding countryside, and six Confederate generals were from the town. Soldiers from the area participated in a of the great battles of the war, including the fight at Gettysburg. The Confederacy produced cotton cloth in Waco at Barron's Mill, part of the Waco Manufacturing Company, but the war enervated the local economy as the area's manpower was drained by the Confederate military.
Postwar emancipation of the many slaves in the area caused additional dislocations and led to conflicts and animosities in Waco during the era of Reconstruction. Manning, the Freedmen's Bureau agent ased to the town, complained in that a local grand jury refused to indict a White man accused of killing a freedman. Later that year Manning's Black ward was castrated by two local physicians and a White accomplice; when one of the doctors was arrested, the local populace became so agitated that soldiers were detached to guard the jail.
Local citizens complained when the federal government confiscated the Waco Manufacturing Company, which the government claimed had been a Confederate enterprise during the war.
The town's peace was also marred by a race riot during the late s. Waco's economy recovered rapidly in the years just after the Civil War. After the town was on a spur of the Chisholm Trail used by cattlemen to drive steers to market, and cattlemen and their employees often stopped in the town to buy supplies and for recreation. By betweenandcattle had been driven through the town. Waco's economy especially began to boom afterwhen the Waco Bridge Company opened a suspension bridge spanning the Brazos. Upon completion of the bridge, Waco was quickly reincorporated as the "City of Waco.
The town had many saloons and gaming houses during the s, attracting cowhands, drifters, and others who helped earn the town the nickname of "Six Shooter Junction.
When two other railro, the St. Louis and Southwestern and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas lines, built into Waco in the early s, the city became the hub of a transportation network linking the area's cotton farmers and nascent industries with factories and consumers across Texas and the nation. By there were about 12, people living in Waco, and an estimated 50, bales of cotton,pounds of wool, andpounds of hides were being shipped through the city annually.
Industries in the city that year included a cotton factory producing yarns and socks, a woolens factory, two cottonseed oil mills, and two planing mills. By the s Waco had become one of the most important cotton markets in the south, and many cotton agents had moved into offices around the town square. Inaccording to one estimate, farmers from surrounding cotton fields took about 40, bales of cotton into Waco by wagon, and another 80, bales were shipped to the city by rail from small towns without their own compresses.
By Waco's Kirksey Woolen Mills was among the largest in the south, and the city had ice plants, grain elevators, flour mills, foundries, boiler plants, and bottling works. During the late nineteenth century artesian wells were drilled, two natatoriums were built, and the city was widely advertised as a health resort. By the city had factories and six banks and was continuing to expand; about 1, new houses were built that year. Waco's population grew from 3, in to 7, by ; by there were 20, people living in the city, making it the sixth largest population center in Texas.
Even as Waco became an increasingly important commercial center, during the late nineteenth century the city also attracted a of educational institutions and in some circles was known as the "Athens of Texas. Mary of Namur in Other private or sectarian schools, including Waco Academy, Waco Select School, and Leland Seminary, were also operating in the city at that time.
Waco Female College was first established in ; it closed its doors inbut by Add-Ran College occupied the buildings.
Add-Ran became Texas Christian University in The city's first gas plant began operation in the s, and by streetcars pulled by mules ran regular routes through the town. In some of the mule-drawn cars were replaced by electric cars operated by the Waco Railway and Electric Light company; by the Citizen Railway company was operating twenty electric trolleys on city streets. In the early s the town began to build a system of city parks, often with land donated by private citizens.
A street-paving program began in In the city's elaborate Cotton Palace was built, and its Fall Exposition soon became one of the most popular fairs in the south; in an estimatedpeople visited the site. An electric interurban railway opened in connected the city with Dallas. By Waco had grown to about 35, residents and was becoming an important center of the state's insurance industry.
The Amicable Insurance Building, a twenty-two-story structure completed inwas deliberately deed to be the tallest building in Texas at the time. During World War I Waco was selected as the site for Camp MacArthur, an infantry training base covering more than 10, acres of what is now the northwestern part of the city.
The 35, troops ased to the camp between and virtually doubled Waco's population for the duration of the war, and the city's economy boomed as its hotels were filled with soldiers' families.
Encouraged by the United States Army's attempts to eliminate temptations for the soldiers, the city's ministers and others waged an anti-prostitution campaign inand the "Reservation" was shut down. Between and the racial composition of the city changed as rural Blacks moved to Waco in search of better jobs and educational opportunities. By the s a Black middle class had begun to appear in the city. Perhaps partially in response to this development, Waco became a center of Ku Klux Klan activity and influence during the s.
Lynchings had occurred in Waco in, andand on at least one occasion the Black victim was publicly burned in the town square; in the s mobs of White citizens hanged or burned other Blacks as well. In more than 2, Klansmen paraded through the city, and the organization boycotted businesses of people unsympathetic with its agenda.
Many of Waco's business and political leaders at least implicitly supported the Klan during this period, and one member claimed that the Klan "controlled every office in the city of Waco" during the s. By Waco had grown to a population of 53, but the onset of the Great Depression undercut the city's momentum. As prices for cotton and other agricultural products fell and farmers reduced their spending, businesses in Waco were forced to lay off employees. Ultimately, many businesses closed their doors and unemployment rose. The Cotton Palace fair, long a symbol and source of the city's prosperity, was shut down.
Federal New Deal programs helped to create employment opportunities and infused money into the city. During the depression Waco also became a distribution center for the government's surplus commodities program.
The s saw the demise of the city's electric trolleys, which were replaced by buses in an attempt to keep up with a "progressive" trend being established in other cities around the country. Waco's population grew slightly during the s, and by there were 55, people living there. World War II revived demand for cotton and cotton products, and Waco's economy was invigorated by the construction of war plants and military bases in or around the city. Mattress and canvas industries grew in the city, and by Waco was the armed forces' leading manufacturer of cots, tents, mattresses and barracks bags.
The area's new defense industries opened many new employment opportunities for local residents, especially women; according to one estimate, in about three out of five workers in Waco's nine defense plants were women. A housing shortage was created as workers and military families moved into Waco by the thousands. In November the War Manpower Commission estimated that only four apartments were vacant in Waco and that high housing prices were causing hardships for the area's poorer residents.