Waco History’s “Waco Founding: Your Hunt, Your History” Brings Competition, Education to Downtown Waco

The Waco History team poses at the information tent, Waco Downtown Farmers Market, August 28, 2021

On August 28th, launching from the Downtown Farmers’ Market, forty-one teams scoured downtown Waco solving clues and completing challenges that came with the inaugural Waco History Hunt. This edition on Waco’s founding took the 131 participants to the Waco History sites of Waco Indian Village, Fort Fisher, Waco Village, Jacob de Cordova, Chisholm Trail, Waco Examiner, New Hope Baptist Church, and the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Mill.

Along the way, hunters deconstructed history, made land deals, herded “cattle,” hawked newspapers, and sang hymns! Three teams won bountiful baskets full of prizes donated by local businesses. Team Olmstead (Michael, Kim, Caleb, Abigail, and Daniel) were winners of the Grand Prize with Jana Shultz and Team Babies (Luke Sayers, Amber Sayers, Michael Nichols, and Stevie Nichols) each winning in the Most Creative and Most Historical category respectively.

Prize baskets with tons of great swag from local businesses, authors, and others made the hunt even more competitive – and rewarding!

The Waco History Scavenger hunt showed us a side of Waco history that we never knew! From sneaky cemetery dealings to original cartography, we learned a lot and had a ton of fun along the way. As they say, it’s not about the destination but the journey… Amanda S.

The event was the first public programming for the Waco History app and website, created and developed by the Institute for Oral History and Texas Collection at Baylor University.

We had a great time hunting for clues all over downtown, answering questions, and learning about Waco history. I especially liked the fact that my elementary aged boys connected the questions we were asked with the type of assignments they get at school (i.e. “compare and contrast” two things). It was a great way to reinforce the critical thinking and learning they do in school with a fun activity! – Ellen F.


“It was great to see young and old scouring the landscape around downtown Waco learning about their community’s rich history.” Stephen Sloan, Director of the Institute for Oral History at Baylor University

Organizers hope to make events like the scavenger hunt an annual occurrence, and plans for future Waco History events are already in discussion. A big thanks to The Texas Collection and Baylor Libraries Marketing & Communication for their support of this event and the Waco History app. See you next time!

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