Waco's oldest suspension bridge was the
nations largest when it was built back 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 "Cs" 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 Sotos 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 OTexas 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., worlds 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
1880s 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 Lazenbys 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.
Earle - Harrison House and Pape Gardens -
One of states 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 Wacos 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/
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/
Network of 36 spacious municipal parks led by 416 - acre Cameron Park with scenic vistas and miles of quiet walking
paths; one of the states largest natural municipal parks - all in the heart of the
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 -
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; Baseballs Nolan Ryan, just to name a few. Wow! Video features
historic sports events in the tom Landry Theater. Theres 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.