Armstrong’s Stars: Amy Lowell

“Armstrong’s Stars” is a collaboration between the Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor’s Texas Collection. Once a month we feature a story about a celebrity that Dr. A.J. Armstrong brought to Baylor. These stories highlight an interesting part of Baylor’s history and include collection materials housed in both the Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection. This month’s story was contributed by Ph.D. candidate Jeremy Land.

In 1920 Baylor began preparing for its Diamond Jubilee celebration. Primarily under the direction of Dr. A. Joseph Armstrong, Baylor invited a series of famous literary and cultural figures to travel to Texas and partake in the celebration. Among the first to arrive was the poet Amy Lowell.

By the early ‘20s Amy Lowell had already established herself as one of America’s leading female poets, an innovative writer, a noted critic, and promoter of American verse. Even the Lowell family name had become associated with academic excellence and American letters by the time Ms. Lowell accepted her honorary degree from Baylor (Amy Lowell’s brother was the president of Harvard and her first cousin, James Russell Lowell, was a famous American poet from the nineteenth century). Thus the decision to ask Ms. Lowell to come and speak at Baylor was a natural part of the university’s mission to bolster its presence in the academic world.

Amy Lowell photo (TC)
Before she even arrived, there seemed to be great anticipation and discussion about Ms. Lowell’s coming to Waco. Every aspect of her journey was up for speculation and debate. Even her hotel room, which was reported to cost more than $30 a night, caused quite a shock among the students on campus (“Another Treat in Amy Lowell” 1). Yet the promise of her appearance prompted several student groups to greet her with excitement. Baylor’s Calliopean, at the time the second oldest women’s literary society in Texas, honored Lowell with membership before she even arrived, an honor she was happy to receive (“Calliopeans Honor Famous American Poet” 3; “Calliopean Society Has Long History Behind It” 5).

When Lowell did finally arrive in Waco, she apparently lived up to people’s expectations. She was reported to be equal parts exciting house guest and engaging scholar. In one example of her irrepressible spirit, Lowell encouraged Mrs. Armstrong to speed through Cameron Park as fast as possible, and when Mrs. Armstrong suggested the police might object, Lowell is reported to have replied “Damn the police. I’ll pay the fine” (Douglas 114-115). However when it came time for Ms. Lowell to engage Baylor’s students and their academic pursuits, she was a most gracious and well received visitor. When she was not giving a formal lecture on the nature of modern poetry, she was reported to sit in the open air smoking a cigar and indulging undergraduates and their questions about modern literature.

Perhaps because her visit to Baylor must have been rather colorful, Amy Lowell developed a fondness for central Texas. In a letter to A.J. Armstrong dated April 11, 1924, Lowell claimed her poem “Texas” was inspired by Waco’s lone skyscraper (probably the ALICO building in downtown Waco ) set against the central Texas landscape (Douglas 116). And until her death in 1925, Lowell and Dr. Armstrong continued to write, share ideas, and reminisce about her time in Texas. So impressed was she by Baylor and Dr. Armstrong that even after her death her estate saw to it that Baylor and Dr. Armstrong both were notified of her passing (Death of Amy Lowell is Mourned by Many” 1).

Works Cited

“Another Treat in Amy Lowell.” The Lariat 3 June 1920: 1. Web. 7 Nov. 2014

“Calliopeans Honor Famous American Poet.” The Lariat 6 May 1920: 3. Web. 7 Nov. 2014

“Calliopean Society Has Long History Behind It.” The Lariat 20 May 1920: 5. Web. 7 Nov. 2014

“Death of Amy Lowell is Mourned by Many.” The Lariat 14 May 1925: 1. Web. 7 Nov. 2014

Douglas, Lois Smith. Through Heaven’s Back Door: A Biography of A. Joseph Armstrong.
Waco, TX: Baylor UP, 1951. Print.

Posted in A.J. Armstrong, Amy Lowell, Andrew Joseph Armstrong, Calliopean Literary Society, female poets, Waco | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: Pat Neff Hall, Baylor University, Waco

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph collection. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

Pat Neff Hall construction

 Pat Neff Hall construction, 1939

  • Pat Neff Hall was started in 1938 (with a Masonic cornerstone laying ceremony on December 7, 1938) and completed in 1939. The building was dedicated on Founders Day 1940.
  • President Neff received an offer from the General Educational Board of a $50,000 gift to the university if an administration building was built to free up classroom space.
  • The 46,000 sq. ft. building was built in the American Georgian style, by Waco architectural firm Birch D. Easterwood and Son, at a cost of around $250,000.
  • The original carillon (the Cullen F. Thomas Carillon) was initiated on December 21, 1939, but dedicated at the same time as the hall. The original carillon cost $15,000 and consisted of 25 bells. Chronic mechanical failures eventually led to its replacement by the McLane Carillion, named for the Drayton McLane family of Temple. Cast in France by the prestigious Paccard Bell Foundry, the 48 bell carillon cost $325,000, and was dedicated at Homecoming 1988. Read more about the McLane Carillon and its circuitous route to Baylor.
  • The dome was originally stainless steel, making it the second stainless steel roof in the country, until gold leafing was put on in 2000.
  • The tradition of green lights of Pat Neff after athletic wins was started in 1978.

Source:

Henry, Jay C. Architecture in Texas, 1895-1945. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993. Print

BUSF: Buildings: Pat Neff Hall

BUSF: Buildings: Pat Neff Hall – Cullen F. Thomas Carillon

BUSF: Buildings: Pat Neff Hall – McLane Carillon

Check out our Pat Neff Hall construction Flickr set to see the individual photos (and a few more).

Posted in Baylor University, Cullen F. Thomas chimes, McLane Carillon, Pat Neff, Pat Neff Hall | Leave a comment

Research Ready: October 2014

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here are October’s finding aids:

Female Building at Baylor University, Independence, Texas, circa 1925

One of the earliest known photographs of the Baylor campus at Independence after the school moved to Belton and Waco. This structure, with four iconic columns, was built in 1857. Frank O. Martin Independence papers #3927, box 2 OVZ, folder 1.

 

Map of San Felipe, Texas, 1876

This map shows John Borden’s property in San Felipe, Texas. He and his brothers purchased several hundred acres in the Austin County region during this time. Borden Family Collection #724, box 1, folder 1.

Posted in Baptist universities and colleges, Baylor at Independence, First Baptist Church Robinson, Frontier and pioneer life, Independence, Independence columns, photographic negatives, Republic of Texas, Texas, Texas Baptists, Texas historic buildings, Uncategorized, Washington County Texas | Leave a comment

Baylor Football: A Look at Carroll Field

Exhibit by Sean Todd; post by Benna Vaughan

As the anticipation of the first Homecoming in the new McLane Stadium builds, be sure to visit the Texas Collection in the Carroll Library and check out the new exhibit on Lee Carroll Field: Early Athletic Traditions at Baylor University…where Baylor football began!

Photograph by Fred Gildersleeve of Lee Carroll Field, Baylor University

Photograph by Fred Gildersleeve of Lee Carroll Field, Baylor University, circa 1933

 

 

 

Posted in Baylor athletics, Baylor football, Baylor Homecoming, Carroll Field | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: The Alamo, San Antonio

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph collection. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

Alamo

  • The original mission was built in 1718 as a Spanish mission by Father Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares but was then leveled in 1724 by a hurricane. The mission was moved to the present site and rebuilt in 1744 but collapsed due to structural flaws in 1762. It was rebuilt using the same material but never completed.
  • The building was supposed to have been three stories tall, with bell towers on each side, with a dome as a roof. The four arches to support the dome were completed, but later demolished to fortify for the battle. Protective walls were put around it in 1758 to ward off Native American violence. Secularized in 1793, it became known as simply Pueblo Valero.
  • In 1803, a Spanish cavalry unit (the Second Company of San Carlos de Alamo de Parras) occupied the pueblo, from which the present-day name of “the Alamo” is derived.
  • In 1836, the famous battle occurred, pitting Santa Anna’s 1,500 troops against the between 188-250 Texians in the Alamo. After Santa Anna ended up losing the war two months later, he ordered General Andrade to demolish the fort. He burned down the cannon ramp, long barracks, and most of the Galera.
  • In the years between the fire and the US Army coming, locals would use bricks from the Alamo as building materials, when needed. The humped parapet that is so iconic today was added when the Army remodeled the Alamo for use as a local headquarters.
  • When the Army abandoned the Alamo in 1878, it was given back to the Catholic Church. A businessman named Hugo Grenet almost immediately bought the restored long barrack building for $20,000, which he then converted into a store. The church building was given over to the State of Texas in 1883, who then transferred ownership to the City of San Antonio. The long barracks was sold to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas in 1905. The store that Hugo Grenet had built on top of the site of the old long barracks was demolished in 1911, and the original wall was restored. The Alamo is presently a museum administered by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Texas General Land Office.

Thompson, Frank T. The Alamo: A Cultural History. Dallas, Tex.: Taylor Trade Pub., 2001. Print

Check out our Flickr set to see these and other images of the Alamo, which primarily came from our General-San Antonio-Alamo photo files.

Posted in Alamo, Texas historic buildings, Texas over Time, Texas Revolution | Leave a comment

Armstrong’s Stars: William Butler Yeats

“Armstrong’s Stars” is a collaboration between the Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor’s Texas Collection. Once a month we feature a story about a celebrity that Dr. A.J. Armstrong brought to Baylor. These stories highlight an interesting part of Baylor’s history and include collection materials housed in both the Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection. This month’s story was contributed by Baylor graduate (BA ’14) and Sigma Tau Delta member Rebecca Hans.   

Photograph of William Butler Yeats appearing in the April 8, 1920, issue of The Lariat (The Texas Collection)

Photograph of William Butler Yeats appearing in the April 8, 1920, issue of The Lariat (The Texas Collection)

On April 16, 1920, at five o’clock in the evening, poet William Butler Yeats shared about his life and influences and read his work in front of a packed house of Baylor students, faculty, and community. The evening, part of the university’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, had been eagerly anticipated in four Baylor Lariat articles articulating not only W.B. Yeats’s notability and talent, but also the hard work of Dr. A.J. Armstrong for orchestrating the visit. The Lariat especially emphasized the singularity of the event, urging students not to miss the unique opportunity. The first news regarding the event was an April 1st issue of the Baylor Lariat. The piece announced W.B. Yeats’s lecture and described him as a poet “considered by all competent critics the foremost English man of letters now living.” The lecture would be titled “Friends in my Youth” and was already expected to be “a great day in Baylor history” (“William Butler Yeats” 7). These early Lariat articles advertising Yeats’s appearance are particularly interesting from a modern perspective. In 1920, Yeats had not yet achieved the irrefutable eminence associated with his name today but was instead described as a brilliant poet on the rise. Many of the great works for which Yeats is known today had yet to be written; even “The Second Coming,” one of his most famous works, may have been unknown to the Waco audiences. Regardless, the literary community thought highly of Yeats. He was so respected even in 1920 that the Lariat accurately prophesied that his “name and work will take place in the front rank of the poetry that passes from this generation to posterity” (“W.B Yeats Secured for Friday, 16th” 1). When the official invitation appeared advertising the “First Big Guns of Baylor Diamond Jubilee,” Former President William Howard Taft and the poet William Butler Yeats both shared the advertisement. Although President Taft’s portion was presented in a grander style, Yeats’s portion Yeatswas given equal importance. The invitation emphasized Yeats’s appearance as an important event for anyone interested in “world affairs,” not just a night out for poetry enthusiasts. These instructions were heeded, and long before Yeats took the stage, a varied collection of people paid fifty cents to fill Carroll Chapel to capacity (“William Butler Yeats Delivers Fine Lecture” 1; “Yeats Friday, 5 O’Clock” 2). The poet laureate of Texas, Judd Mortimer Lewis, also came to Waco specifically for the event, and introduced W.B. Yeats to the crowd himself. Yeats began the lecture, “Friends in my Youth,” with details of his childhood, specifically the influence of his father, an artist. The larger part of the talk, however, focused on his mentors and other literary men who had profoundly influenced his growth as a man and poet. Of these influences Yeats mentioned Arthur Symons, Francis Thompson, and William Ernest Henly, and read examples of their work aloud to the Waco audience. To the delight of the crowd, Yeats read aloud from his own work for the concluding half hour, “a treat to lovers of poetry” (“William Butler Yeats Delivers Fine Lecture” 1). Although the bulk of Lariat coverage focused on Yeats himself, the writers did credit Dr. Armstrong’s work bringing influential speakers to the campus: “The policy of Dr. Armstrong in bringing men to Baylor is to get men who have a world-wide reputation” (“W.B Yeats Secured for Friday, 16th” 1). In a letter to the University President, Samuel Palmer Brooks, Dr. Armstrong reflected on the events of the previous year and described in further detail what the Lariat titled “his policy”: My primary purpose is not to make money but to give the students an opportunity to come in contact with world forces and world geniuses. I believe it is one thing they will remember longer than anything else connected with their school days. I consider these attractions all of the highest type and I think my English Department is gaining launch for itself abroad. Today, Baylor University features visits from world-renowned thinkers, writers, and speakers who also share their work and experiences with the university and community. The English Department especially has preserved Dr. A.J. Armstrong’s tradition through events such as the Beall Poetry Festival, an annual event bringing internationally acclaimed poets to Waco. Many modern students can speak with a similar satisfaction as those of 1920, although many may wish they had been present to witness “the biggest literary man that has yet spoken in Carroll Chapel,” as William Butler Yeats shared his story and his art (“W.B Yeats Secured for Friday, 16th” 1).   Works cited: Armstrong, A.J. to Samuel Palmer Brooks, 4 April 1921, Andrew Joseph Armstrong Papers #0449, Box 1, Folder 1, Texas Collection, Baylor University. First Big Guns of Baylor Diamond Jubilee, Invitation. The Texas Collection, Baylor University Libraries, Waco. Print. W.B Yeats Secured for Friday, 16th.” The Lariat 8 Apr. 1920: 1. Web. 3 Oct. 2014. “William Butler Yeats.” The Lariat 1 Apr. 1920: 7. Web. 3 Oct. 2014. “William Butler Yeats Delivers Fine Lecture.” The Lariat 22 Apr. 1920: 1. Web. 3 Oct. 2014. “Yeats Friday, 5 O’Clock.” The Lariat 15 Apr. 1920: 2. Web. 3 Oct. 2014.

Posted in A.J. Armstrong, Armstrong Browning Library, lectures, Samuel Palmer Brooks, The Texas Collection, Waco, William Butler Yeats | Leave a comment

The Rise and Fall of the Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall, Waco, Texas.

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall, Waco, TX (7)

Large tree and shrub-filled planters made of brick and cement once sat in the middle of Austin Avenue to help add to the mall’s unique aesthetics.

Between 1958 and 1978, the Urban Renewal Agency of the City of Waco, along with the federal government, created a master plan to redevelop ten areas of the city between Waco Drive and LaSalle Avenue. By the late 1970’s, efforts by the agency had resulted in the demolition of 1,200 homes and 300 commercial structures. This multi-million dollar effort was to eliminate dilapidated buildings and improve the aesthetics of the city. Affected homeowners and businesses received aid to help improve their properties or were moved completely to more suitable and habitable conditions. Part of the greater plan was known as “Brazos Urban Renewal Area TEX R-104” and covered much of downtown and included what was to become the “Austin Avenue Mall.”

Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall, Waco, TX (2)

Play areas for children were part of the mall’s design as well as cement blocks for seating. Awnings returned on storefronts for pedestrian shelter completion, the mall was heralded as “the beginning of a new era for Downtown Waco.”

The mall’s construction extended from the Ninth to Third Streets blocks of Austin Avenue and closed this portion to vehicular traffic while leaving side streets open. This location allowed the mall to link up with the recently constructed Waco Convention Center. The original planners called for: “a pedestrian mall on Austin Avenue and outlined space for a convention hall on the old City Hall Square.” The Waco City Council had no objections and a federal grant was approved on October 31, 1968 for the project. Construction began in early 1970 and the Austin Avenue mall was formally dedicated on January 16, 1971. After completion, the mall was heralded as “the beginning of a new era for Downtown Waco.”

Details included removing tall curbs to make a seamless surface across the street for pedestrians to access storefronts lining the mall. Large awnings were built to keep “window shoppers” in the shade or sheltered from rain. Fountains, modern lighting, and cement blocks were used for seating and aesthetics. Large planters held trees and plants. The mall also used electric-powered “Free Shopper Trams” that were ahead of their time for the early 1970’s. The Austin Avenue mall got off to a hopeful start with retailers seeing increased sales. One merchant claimed: “Sales are definitely up. We’re getting more people from out of town and a lot of Waco people are coming back downtown to shop because of the inviting atmosphere.”

Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall, Waco, TX (13)

The mall used electric-powered, General Electric, “Free Shopper Trams,” that were ahead of their time for the early 1970’s.

However, the success of Austin Avenue’s transformation proved difficult to sustain as the years went by. As early as 1977, several key businesses moved to other locations throughout the city, diminishing the area’s desirability. These included some of the main attractions such as Goldstein-Miguel, Cox’s, Monnigs, and Bauer McCann. J.C. Penney was soon to follow when it moved to Richland Mall by the late 1970’s.

In May 1977, Jack Denman, president of Downtown Waco, INC., remarked to the Waco City Council, “There is no reason for anyone to be on the mall. It is the most beautiful, tranquil place in town but is functionally useless.” Further, Denman stated, “I receive calls from women who are scared, and have a paranoia about walking on the mall, they feel alone, isolated…”

After several more years of similar sentiments regarding the pedestrian mall project, in 1985, the Waco City Council decided to change it back to a two-way street between Third and Ninth making Austin Avenue fully accessible to vehicular traffic. The existing remnants that made the pedestrian mall unique, such as cement planters, ponds, fountains, and electric trams, were cleared. Indeed, the idea may have been ahead of its time but now makes for an interesting chapter of Waco’s past.

Works Cited:

“20 Years Transform Heart of Our City” Waco Tribune Herald, September 3, 1978.

“Downtown Revitalization Underway; Main St. 2-Way.” The Waco Citizen, August 30, 1985.

“Office of Economic Development, Urban Renewal in Waco” (Waco, Texas), 1989; Subject File: Waco Urban Renewal. Thomas E. Turner Papers, The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

“Parking on Mall Asked.” The Waco Citizen, May 20, 1977.

“Urban Renewal in 1968: An Annual Progress Review” The Waco News-Tribune, March 26, 1969.

“Urban Renewal in 1970: An Annual Progress Review” The Waco News-Tribune, March 24, 1971.

“Urban Renewal in 1971: An Annual Progress Review” The Waco News-Tribune, March 29, 1972.

Posted in Austin Avenue, Urban Renewal, Waco | Leave a comment

Research Ready: September 2014

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here’s the scoop for September:

War hero Audie Murphy greeting fans in Corsicana, Texas, 1945

By 1945, Audie Murphy had received more than thirty-three awards, citations, and decorations for his service in World War II. Here is Murphy in Corsicana, Texas, being greeted by his fans. Audie Leon Murphy papers #363, box 1, folder 10.

  • Cooksey-Robertson Family papers 1858-1981 (#3904): Contains letters from A.J. Cooksey to his family in Montgomery County, Texas, during the American Civil War.
  • Browning W. Ware papers 1928-2002 (#3885): Materials of Texas pastor Browning W. Ware, who led First Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, and wrote “Diary of a Modern Pilgrim” columns in the Austin-American Statesman.
  • [Wharton County] Women’s Missionary Society of the Methodist Church records, 1933-1939 (#3882): Includes a minute book that documents the organization’s activities during the Great Depression.
    Minute book from the Women’s Missionary Society, 1937

    In the summer of 1937, the Women’s Missionary Society hosted a show in which television star Shirley Temple performed. The earnings from this show provided the Society with funds to support their missionary work in Texas and abroad. The exact entry reads: “Mrs. Robert made a motion, and it was seconded, that we give the young people part of the proceeds from the Shirley Temple show.” [Wharton County] Women’s Missionary Society of the Methodist church records #3882, box [218], folder 1.

Posted in American South, Audie Leon Murphy, Austin Texas, Browning Ware, Civil War, Confederate States of America, frontier and pioneer life, Frontier and pioneer life, Research Ready, Texas Baptists, Uncategorized, United States Armed Forces, World War II | Leave a comment

Print Peeks: Captivity Narratives at The Texas Collection

Prepared by Amie Oliver, Librarian/Curator of Print Materials

Stolen Boy

Illustration depicting native children throwing tomahawks at Manuel. Image taken from The Stolen Boy: A Story, Founded on Facts.

The Texas Collection is home to many stories, many featuring depictions of frontier heroes taming the Wild West.  One of the most captivating types of pioneer stories in the collection is captivity narratives, written accounts of those captured by Native Americans. Captivity narratives date to 1682 when Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, written by Massachusetts Puritan Mary Rowlandson who was captured and eventually ransomed, was published. These stories of capture became popular across the U.S. The Texas Collection contains many captivity narratives involving Texas or Texans. It should be noted that while many of these stories are true, some are only based on a grain of truth and are greatly embellished, and some are completely false. Let’s take a look at a few of the captivity narratives in The Texas Collection:

The Stolen Boy: A Story, Founded on Facts: Written by English author Barbara Hofland and published in approximately 1830, this popular captivity narrative recounts the Comanche capture of Manuel del Perez near San Antonio. The volume describes his life among the natives for three years before his eventual escape and reunion with his family.

Nine Years

Herman Lehmann dressed in Comanche war garb. Image taken from Nine Years Among the Indians, 1870-1879.

Nine Years Among the Indians: Herman Lehmann, son of Mason County, Texas, German pioneers, was captured by the Apache when he was 10-years-old. His life with the Apache, and later the Comanche, had a great impact on him. When he was forcibly returned to his family in 1878, he no longer remembered them or the German language. His adjustment to white society was difficult. He considered himself to be native, maintaining contact with the Comanche for the rest of his life.

Boy Captives

Clinton and Jefferson Smith in 1927. Image taken from The Boy Captives.

The Boy Captives: Perhaps one of the best known Texas captivity narratives, this volume recounts the story of Clinton and Jefferson Smith who were captured in 1871 near their home between San Antonio and Boerne at the ages of 11 and 9 by a group of Lipan and Comanche. Rescue attempts to reclaim the children were futile, and the boys remained captive for five years before returning home. Their story was widespread and the Smith brothers later enjoyed fame as frontier celebrities.

The above volumes are but a small sampling of captivity narratives available in the collection. These volumes are ripe for research and provide unique insight into pioneer life.

Sources:

Hofland, Barbara. The Stolen Boy: A Story, Founded on Facts. London: J. Darling for A.K. Newman and Company, 1830. Print.

Lehmann, Herman. Nine Years Among the Indians, 1870-1879. Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co, 1927. Print.

Rowlandson, Mary. Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. Project Gutenberg. Web. 12 April 2014.

Smith, Clinton L. The Boy Captives. Bandera: Frontier Times, 1927. Print.

Posted in Adventure, Barbara Hofland, Clinton Smith, German pioneers, Herman Lehmann, Indian captivities, Jefferson Smith, Manuel del Perez, Mary Rowlandson, People, Print Peeks | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: Bridge Street, Waco

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph collection. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

Bridge Street, Waco

 Photo dates: 1872, 1953, 1967, undated (prior to 1968)

  • Named due to being across First Street from the Waco suspension bridge
  • Earned the nickname “Rat Row” (until the fire) due to the increasingly dilapidated state of the wooden buildings
  • Fire swept through in 1871, destroying all of the wooden frame buildings, which were replaced by stone ones
  • Traditionally the center of the west-Waco minority-owned business community
  • Took a major hit from the 1953 Waco tornado
  • All buildings on street demolished in 1968 as part of Urban Renewal

Sources:

Menchu, Carlos. 162 Years of Waco, 1824-1986: Focus upon Downtown Waco, Texas. Lubbock: Texas Tech U, 1986. Print.

Smith, JB. “From Bridge Street to the Square.” Waco Tribune-Herald 22 Sept. 2005: n. pag. Print.

“Bridge Street: 1849 – 1890.” Baylor University Institute for Oral History. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.baylor.edu/oralhistory/index.php?id=32190>.

“Bridge Street: 1900-1950.” Baylor University Institute for Oral History. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.baylor.edu/oralhistory/index.php?id=32207>.

See the individual photos in our Bridge Street Flickr set.

GIF and factoids by Braxton Ray, archives student assistant

Posted in Bridge Street, Historic Waco, Texas over Time, Waco, Waco suspension bridge, Waco tornado 1953 | Leave a comment