From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia "Waco" redirects here. For the siege near Waco, Texas, see Waco siege. For the steamship, see City of Waco. For other uses, see Waco (disambiguation).
|City of Waco|
|— City —|
|Waco welcome sign|
|Nickname(s): Heart of Texas|
|Location in Texas|
|Coordinates: 31°33′5″N 97°9′21″WCoordinates: 31°33′5″N 97°9′21″W|
|- City Council||Mayor Jim Bush |
Wilbert Austin, Sr.
Malcolm Duncan Jr.
|- City Manager||Larry D. Groth, P.E.|
|- City||95.5 sq mi (247.4 km2)|
|- Land||84.2 sq mi (218.1 km2)|
|- Water||11.3 sq mi (29.3 km2) 11.85%|
|Elevation||470 ft (143.3 m)|
|- Density||1,350/sq mi (521.5/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (UTC-6)|
|- Summer (DST)||Central (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1370701|
Prior to the founding of Waco in 1849, a Wichita Native American group known as the "Waco" (Spanish: Hueco or Huaco) lived on the land of present-day downtown Waco. In 1824 Thomas M. Duke explored the area and reported to Stephen F. Austin describing the village: "This town is situated on the West Bank of the River. They have a spring almost as cold as ice itself. All we want is some Brandy and Sugar to have Ice Toddy. They have about 400 acres (1.6 km2) planted in corn, beans, pumpkins, and melons and that tended in good order. I think they cannot raise more than One Hundred Warriors." After Austin aborted the first attempt to destroy their village in 1825, he made a treaty with them. The Waco eventually moved out of the region, settling north near present-day Fort Worth. In 1872 they joined other Wichita tribes on a reservation in Oklahoma. In 1902 the Waco received allotments of land and became official US citizens.
Neil McLennan settled in an area near the South Bosque River in 1838. Jacob De Cordova bought McLennan's property and hired a former Texas Ranger and surveyor named George B. Erath to inspect the area. In 1849, Erath designed the first block of the city. Property owners wanted to name the city Lamartine, but Erath convinced them to name the area Waco Village, in honor of the Native Americans who had lived there. In March 1849, Shapley Ross built the first house in Waco, a double-log cabin, on a bluff overlooking the springs. His daughter Kate soon became the first white child to be born in Waco.
Waco in 1886 In 1866, Waco's leading citizens embarked on an ambitious project to build the first bridge to span the wide Brazos River. They formed the Waco Bridge Company to build the 475-foot (145 m) brick Waco Suspension Bridge, which was called the longest span of any bridge west of the Mississippi River when completed in 1870. The company commissioned a firm owned by John Augustus Roebling in Trenton, New Jersey to supply the cables and steelwork for the bridge, which was a pioneering engineering feat of the era. Roebling's firm began work on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1870. The economic effects of the Waco bridge were immediate and large, attracting cattle runs from the nearby Chisholm Trail and increasing the population of the city, as immigrants now had a safe passage for their horse drawn carriages to cross the river. Since 1971, the bridge has been open only to pedestrian traffic and is in the National Register of Historic Places.
In the late 19th century a red light district called the "Reservation" grew up in Waco and prostitution was regulated by the city. The Reservation was suppressed in the early 20th century. In 1885, the soft drink Dr Pepper was invented in Waco at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store.
In 1873, AddRan College was founded by brothers Addison and Randolph Clark in Fort Worth. The school moved to Waco in 1895, changing its name to Add-Ran Christian University and taking up residence in the empty buildings of Waco Female College. Add-Ran changed its name to Texas Christian University in 1902 and left Waco after the school's main building burned down in 1910. TCU was offered a 50-acre (200,000 m2) campus and $200,000 by the city of Fort Worth to relocate there. In 1845, Baylor University was founded in Independence, Texas, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of Texas. It moved to Waco in 1886 and merged with Waco University, becoming an integral part of the city. The university's Strecker Museum was also the oldest continuously operating museum in the state until it closed in 2003, and the collections were moved to the new Mayborn Museum Complex.
The Dr Pepper Museum is one of Waco's tourist attractions. In the 1890s, William Cowper Brann published the highly successful Iconoclast newspaper in Waco. One of his targets was Baylor University. Brann revealed that Baylor officials had been importing South American children recruited by missionaries and making house-servants out of them. Brann was shot in the back by Tom Davis, a Baylor supporter. Brann then wheeled, drew his pistol, and killed Davis. Brann was helped home by his friends, and died there of his wounds.
In 1894, the first Cotton Palace fair and exhibition center was built to reflect the dominant contribution of the agricultural cotton industry in the region. Since the end of the Civil War, cotton had been cultivated in the Brazos and Bosque valleys, and Waco had become known nationwide as a top producer. Over the next 23 years, the annual exposition would welcome over eight million attendees. The opulent building which housed the month-long exhibition was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1910. In 1931, the exposition fell prey to the Great Depression, and the building was torn down. However, the annual Cotton Palace Pageant continues, hosted in late April in conjunction with the Brazos River Festival.
On September 15, 1896 "The Crash" took place about 15 miles (24 km) north of Waco. "The Crash at Crush" was a publicity stunt done by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad company (known as M-K-T or "Katy"), featuring two locomotives intentionally set to a head-on collision. Meant to be a family fun event with food, games and entertainment, the Crash turned deadly when both boilers exploded simultaneously, sending metal flying in the air. Two people died and six were seriously injured.
In 1916, an African American teenager named Jesse Washington was tortured, mutilated and burned to death in the town square by a mob that seized him from the courthouse, where he had been convicted of murdering a white woman. 15,000 spectators, mostly citizens of Waco, were present. The commonly-named Waco Horror drew international condemnation and became the cause célèbre of the nascent NAACP's anti-lynching campaign. In 2006, the Waco City Council officially condemned the lynching, which took place without opposition from local political or judicial leaders.
In 1923, the Texas Legislature created the Tenth Civil Court of Appeals and placed it in Waco; it is now known as the 10th Court of Appeals.
In 1937, Grover C. Thomsen and R.H. Roark created a soft-drink called "Sun Tang Red Cream Soda". This would later become known as the soft drink Big Red.
On May 5, 1942, Waco Army Air Field opened as a basic pilot training school and on June 10, 1949, the name was changed to Connally Air Force Base in memory of Col. James T. Connally, a local pilot killed in Japan in 1945. The name changed again in 1951 to the James Connally Air Force Base. The base closed in May of 1966 and is now the location of Texas State Technical College, formerly Texas State Technical Institute, since 1965. The airfield is still in operation and was used by Air Force One when former US President George W. Bush visited his Prairie Chapel Ranch, also known as the Western White House, in Crawford, Texas.
Alamo Plaza Courts, Tourist Apartments, Waco circa 1939 On May 11, 1953, a tornado hit downtown Waco, killing 114. As of 2011, it remains the eleventh deadliest tornado in U.S. history and tied for the deadliest in Texas state history. It was the first tornado tracked by radar and helped spur the creation of a nationwide storm surveillance system.
In 1964 the Texas Department of Public Safety designated Waco as the site for the state-designated official museum of the legendary Texas Rangers law enforcement agency founded in 1823. In 1976 it was further designated the official Hall of Fame for the Rangers and renamed the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. Renovations by the Waco government earned this building green status, the first Waco government-led project of its nature. The construction project has also fallen under scrutiny for expanding the building over unmarked human graves.
In 1978, bones were discovered emerging from the mud at the confluence of the Brazos River and the Bosque River. Subsequent excavations revealed that the bones were 68,000 years old and belonged to a species of mammoth. Eventually, the remains of at least 24 mammoths, one camel, and one large cat were found at the site, making it one of the largest findings of its kind. Scholars have puzzled over why such a large herd had been killed all at once. The site is currently being looked at by the National Park Service for possible inclusion into the National Park system. They are conducting a special resource study to be presented to Congress.
On February 28, 1993, there was a shoot out in which six Branch Davidians and four agents of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) died. After 51 days on April 19, 1993 a standoff between FBI agents and Branch Davidians ended in a fire that destroyed their compound located in Mt. Carmel, near Waco. Seventy-four people, including leader David Koresh, died in the blaze.
In 1999, a charter school called the Emma L. Harrison Charter School was closed by the Texas Education Agency; the school was the first school of its kind to have its charter revoked in Texas.
Rock guitarist and outdoorsman Ted Nugent, who is an enthusiastic bowhunter, resides in Waco. He filmed his MTV show "Surviving Nugent" on his ranch in nearby China Spring, Texas.
During the Presidency of US President George W. Bush, Waco was the home to the White House Press Center. The press center provided briefing and office facilities for the press corps whenever Bush visited his "Western White House" in Crawford. The former president's home is an outlying McLennan County community about 20 miles (32 km) west of Waco.
 Geography and climate
Waco is located at 31°33'5" North, 97°9'21" West (31.551516, -97.155930).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 95.5 square miles (247.4 km2). 84.2 square miles (218.1 km2) of it is land and 11.3 square miles (29.3 km2) of it is water. The total area is 11.85% water.
|Rec High °F||88||96||100||101||102||109||109||112||111||101||92||91|
|Norm High °F||57||62.3||70.2||77.6||84.8||92||96.7||96.9||90.1||80.4||67.8||59.1|
|Norm Low °F||35.1||39.3||46.8||54.2||63.3||70.6||74.1||73.5||67||56.7||45.8||37.5|
|Rec Low °F||−5||4||15||27||37||52||60||53||40||25||17||−4|
|Source: Weather By Day|
The census recorded 42,279 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.4% having married couples living together, 16.2% having a female householder with no husband present, and 41.4% as non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone at 65 years of age or older. The average household size was calcultaed as 2.49 and the average family size 3.19.
In the city the population is spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 20.3% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 16.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 28 years. For every 100 females there are 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $26,264, and the median income for a family is $33,919. Males have a median income of $26,902 versus $21,159 for females. The per capita income for the city is $14,584. 26.3% of the population and 19.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 30.9% of those under the age of 18 and 13.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
McLennan County Courthouse The Texas Tenth Court of Appeals is located in the McLennan County Courthouse in Waco.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Waco Parole Office in Waco.
The United States Postal Service operates the Waco Main Post Office along Texas State Highway 6. In addition it operates other post offices throughout Waco.
According to the Waco Chamber of Commerce, the top employers in the city are:
|1||Providence Health Center||2,434|
|3||Waco Independent School District||2,350|
|4||City of Waco||1,729|
|5||Hillcrest Health System||1,350|
|9||Sanderson Farms, Inc.||1,170|
|10||Midway Independent School District||955|
Aerial view of Downtown Waco; Brazos River to the left and campus of Baylor University in the upper right. Waco's 22-story ALICO building
|This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2008)|
Downtown Waco is small compared to many other Texas cities, such as Houston or Dallas, or even San Antonio, Fort Worth, El Paso or Austin. However, each day roughly 17,000 people commute to and from work in downtown. Downtown Waco was built around the Waco Suspension Bridge, which was a crucial crossing of the Brazos River. In May 1953, the worst tornado in Texas history struck downtown Waco killing 114, and injuring hundreds. It caused millions of dollars in damage, and dented Waco's economy for years after. Downtown Waco is home to the ALICO building, which was completed in 1910, and was once the tallest structure in the Southwest. Downtown Waco is now the location of the famous Dr Pepper Museum, where Dr Pepper was invented; it is also the location of the McLennan County Courthouse.
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This post has been edited by Ian Williams: 20 September 2011 - 14:19