Texas Over Time: Waco’s Elite Café-the 1952 Renovation and Magnolia Table, Today

 

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

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

Waco’s Elite Café-the 1952 Renovation and Magnolia Table, Today

In about 1920, Waco’s Elite Café began under the operation of brothers Vic, George, and Mike Colias. They were so successful at this original location at 608 Austin Avenue that they decided to open another in 1941, at Waco’s Traffic Circle. This second location proved profitable and led to more “expansion and modernization” making for some significant updates in the year 1952, when the Elite’s first major upgrades were made. To help publicize this, commercial photographer Fred Marlar was hired. The Texas Collection has his original 4×5-inch film negatives of this work and a look back to these pictures and a glimpse of present-day Magnolia Table may help highlight some of these early changes made to this very popular restaurant on Waco’s Traffic Circle.

 

In 1952, the Elite on the Circle received refreshed exterior paint, a new building wing, and a “new glassed in vestibule…so that patrons can wait for their cars out of the weather.” Additionally, The kitchen received major upgrades as well leading Vic Colias to claim: “nothing was spared to make it the finest of its kind in the Southwest.” This included: “ceramic tile wainscoting that adds color and facilitates cleaning. The floor was rebuilt to permit daily steam hosing and scrubbing. The kitchen is arranged so that each bit of food travels in the orderly progression from the time it arrives at the back door to until it is served at the diner.”

 

The newly remodeled kitchen as photographed by Fred Marlar in 1952. Fred Marlar collection #2980, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

To add emphases to the 1952 expansion and modernization of the Elite, the Colias brothers reminded the public of some of their first business “firsts” and some some now must-have needs for central Texas. This included “mechanical refrigeration for perishable foods,” which they introduced in 1921. Additionally, they claimed among the first “refrigerated air-conditioning in 1935,” in their Waco, Austin Avenue restaurant. Once these environmental comforts were firmly in place in the Colias brothers’ restaurants, more attention could be given to style and decor. In 1952, updates to the 11 year-old Elite on the Circle included new booths that were a “neutral shade of plastic which blends with the color scheme.” Further, a new wing was added to the building and was referred to as the “banquet room.” It was advertised as having “wall-to-wall carpeting in a subdued shade of green,” and “gleaming white tablecloths on the new tables that contrast with the rich grey tones of the walls.” This lead the Colias brother’s to state: “the appearance of this dining area exemplifies the name Elite.”

The “all-new and comfortable booths” as photographed by Fred Marlar in 1952. Fred Marlar collection #2980, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
The newly constructed “banquet room” as photographed by Fred Marlar in 1952. Fred Marlar collection #2980, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
A look inside the Elite’s freezer as photographed by Fred Marlar in 1952. Fred Marlar collection #2980, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Check out this Flickr Set for more pictures of Waco’s Elite Café on the Traffic Circle

Works cited:

“Waco’s Restaurant Elite.” The Waco News-Tribune. May 23, 1952.

 

 

 

Sharing Student Scholarship: Religion at Baylor University, 1890-1910

Our Sharing Student Scholarship blog posts showcase original scholarship written by Baylor students who conducted research using primary source materials in The Texas Collection. This post is the the third of five in a series of blog posts written by graduate and PhD students from the Fall 2018 Foundations & History of Higher Education Leadership course. 

by Sean Strehlow, Trenton Holloway, Maddie Whitmore, and Tori Guilford

Rufus C. Burleson: Cultivating the Baptist Way at Baylor

Rufus C. Burleson

President Rufus C. Burleson first served as president of Baylor University at Independence from the years 1851-1861. After Baylor University at Independence merged with Waco University, Burleson again took on the role of president. He served in this role until 1897. Burleson’s dedication to his own Baptist faith helped define and distinguish Baylor University’s Baptist identity. Following his death in 1901, Baylor University erected a monument in Burleson’s honor. Burleson’s students, it is said, “have carried his noble lessons around the globe” (Ritchie, 1901, pp. 4). As teachers, preachers, legislators, physicians, bankers, and lawyers, Burleson’s former students became worldwide leaders. His undeniable faith in God is evidenced by his commitment to Christian education. At the time of this memorial being planted, the Baylor faculty sought to continue his great legacy. The faculty committed themselves to prayer and the perpetuation of Burleson’s vision for Christian education (Ritchie, 1901, pp. 5). Chief among the faculty was B.H. Carroll, First Baptist’s magnanimous preacher, and one of the most influential denominational leaders among Southern Baptists. His sermons never failed to convict the hearts of his congregants (Ray, 1927, pp. 149-150). Burleson was both friend, and mentor to Carroll.

B. H. Carroll

From the very beginning, Baylor has been steeped in Baptist tradition. Baylor’s Baptist ties could be seen most clearly in their Chapel services. These services, held once a day, served as an opportunity for students, faculty and staff alike to come together and sing songs, pray, and hear biblical teaching. In the 1890’s, these services were held at 9:00a.m. on weekdays and at 4:00p.m. on Sundays. Students’ attendance at these services was mandatory and strictly enforced, and absences could earn a student anywhere from two to ten demerits. Chapel speakers were most often University professors who would speak on a topic of their choosing. B.H. Carroll gave his first address to the students in 1886, and quickly became a regular speaker at Chapel services (Carroll, 1923, pp. 409). He was admired by students like Jessie Brown, a student between 1888-1891, who recorded fond reflections of his sermons in letters written to her sister at home (Brown, 1890, pp. 233). Despite the strict attendance policy, many students really enjoyed the Chapel services. These Chapel “exercises,” as Jewell Leggett refers to them in her diary, helped students to grow in their faith by teaching them spiritual discipline.Continue Reading

Research Ready: April 2019

Each month, we post an update to notify our readers about the latest archival collections to be processed and some highlights of our print material acquisitions. These resources are primed for research and are just a sampling of the many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!Continue Reading

Collins Hall through the Ages

by Emily Starr, Summer 2018 Intern

My grandmother was one of the first groups of women to live in Collins Hall, my mom lived and met some of her best college friends there, and I visited my sister in her fourth floor Collins room her freshman year. I moved into Room 154 of Collins Hall in August three years ago, and I’ll never forget my time there. All of these Collins connections made me particularly excited when I came across the original blueprints of Collins Hall during my time as an intern at The Texas Collection.

Ruth Collins Hall was completed in 1957 as an all-female residence hall. While not a lot has changed as far as the building itself, ways of life within the halls of Collins have drastically changed. At its completion, Collins was outfitted with multiple living spaces on the first floor that reflect student life at Baylor in the 1950s.

Upon entering the lobby, there are three living rooms, a study room, and entrance to the dining room. The living rooms were typically formal settings, where women could receive male callers, who first checked into the front desk—and only during visiting hours. The dining room was also a formal space, and dinners were held family style, where one student per week was assigned to serve the others’ plates before she served herself. After dinner, you may find the women of Collins roaming the halls in each other’s rooms, but only until their early curfew, when they were required to have their lights out.Continue Reading

Texas Over Time: Baylor University’s Old Main and Burleson Hall

Format Image

 

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

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

Baylor University’s Main building (1887) and Burleson Hall (1888) were the first two structures built when the institution moved from Independence, TX. Along with Carroll Library (home of The Texas Collection) and Carroll Science Building, both completed in the early 1900’s, these four structures form the Rufus Burleson Quadrangle. This was what comprised the university at one time. Then the institution grew across Fifth Street and behind these structures and well beyond including across the Brazos River. The photographs shown here show some of the changes over time that these buildings have withstood. Although modified and updated, they still stand proudly to this day and are the centerpieces of Baylor University.Continue Reading

Sharing Student Scholarship: Finances at Baylor University, 1890-1910

Our Sharing Student Scholarship blog posts showcase original scholarship written by Baylor students who conducted research using primary source materials in The Texas Collection. This post is the the third of five in a series of blog posts written by graduate and PhD students from the Fall 2018 Foundations & History of Higher Education Leadership course. 

by Scott Alexander, Andrew Eastwood, Preston Templeman, and Mariah Duncan

Throughout the history of higher education, finances and funding have been necessary to animate and realize the mission of an institution. Finances can make or break an institution; therefore, strong leadership has always been important in making sure that the funds of an institution are being used to support both present function and foundation for the future. Funding comes from both internal and external sources to build endowments, provide student scholarships, pay institutional debts, make capital improvements, and supply for curricular and co-curricular resources. As industrialists built personal wealth during the 1890s and 1900s, the prevailing concept of the “Protestant work ethic” encouraged philanthropic stewardship of that wealth[1]. Higher education institutions capitalized on this ethic through targeted fundraising efforts[2].Continue Reading

Research Ready: March 2019

Each month, we post an update to notify our readers about the latest archival collections to be processed and some highlights of our print material acquisitions. These resources are primed for research and are just a sampling of the many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!Continue Reading

Texas Collection Teaching Fellows

The Teaching Fellows Program is offered each year to full-time Baylor faculty members and graduate teaching assistants through the Baylor University Libraries. This program supports research in one of Baylor’s six special libraries/collections, including The Texas Collection! Fellows spend time in these special libraries/collections over the summer with the expectation of implementing special collections in their courses that academic year. If you missed the Academy for Teaching and Learning (ATL) session, “Teaching with Special Collections,” here is a brief overview of The Texas Collection’s Summer 2018 Teaching Fellows.

Dr. T. Laine Scales

Dr. Scales is a Professor of Higher Education as well as Social Work and serves the Baylor Graduate School as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Professional Development. In 2016, she was named as a Baylor University Master Teacher. Dr. Scales spent time this past summer looking through several early collections in the University Archives to be implemented in her Foundations & History of Higher Education Administration graduate level course in the School of Education. Students in this class were assigned to one of five themes: Access, Curriculum, Finance, Students, and Religion. Through these themes, they researched Baylor’s history from 1890-1910 and a particular topic that fit with their assigned theme. Students were able to connect what they were learning in class about the history of higher education on a national level with history on a local level while gaining valuable research skills within the archives. Students were required to complete individual papers using materials from the archives as well as group blog posts, which The Texas Collection has been posting throughout this semester (see our “Sharing Student Scholarship” series).Continue Reading

Sharing Student Scholarship: Access at Baylor University, 1900-1910

Our Sharing Student Scholarship blog posts showcase original scholarship written by Baylor students who conducted research using primary source materials in The Texas Collection. This post is the second of five in a series of blog posts written by graduate and PhD students from the Fall 2018 Foundations & History of Higher Education Leadership course. 

by Rachel Jones, Rachel Ticknor, Rachel Henson, Jillian Haag, and Lela Lam

Following its merger with Waco University in 1886, Baylor University set forth a series of initiatives that were progressive in terms of extending college access to various student groups-specifically to women and transfer students. These initiatives included Baylor’s promotion of coeducation and the university’s establishment of formal articulation agreements with Texas high schools and other Baptist colleges. Because of these efforts, a Baylor education had become more accessible to a wider network of students. However, despite these progressive strides, some students (mainly female students) still faced inequality and a lack of access to certain resources/activities once they actually matriculated on campus.

With the establishment of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT)’s Education Commission in 1897, Baylor focused on leveraging the Commission’s existing partnerships in order to create formal articulation agreements with the other correlated Baptist colleges. Under these agreements, students that completed a standardized two-year curriculum and graduated from the affiliated colleges could transfer to Baylor, without an entrance examination, in order to complete their four-year degree. Baylor utilized a similar model in order to establish formal articulation agreements with a variety of high schools. These two initiatives collectively increased access for, and enrollment of, students who graduated from the affiliated high schools and colleges.

Despite their successes, it is possible that some of Baylor’s most groundbreaking initiatives were inherently exclusionary towards students who did not belong to/identify with the parameters that had been established (e.g. students who did not attend the affiliated high schools or colleges). Moreover, Baylor did not ensure that all students would receive equal levels of access to campus resources and programs once they actually enrolled at Baylor, which resulted in a sense of tension among the university community.

Group photo of The R.C.B. Literary Society, 1908. Found in the 1908 edition of The Baylor Round-Up. Courtesy of The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

This tension is perhaps most evident in the experiences documented by Baylor’s female students and faculty members between 1900 and 1910. Although Baylor had taken a rather progressive stance on coeducation and allowed men and women to meet in the classroom and in the chapel together, women still faced unfair treatment in terms of housing policies and educational, financial, and extracurricular opportunities. Two examples of this treatment are evident when one takes a closer look at the student literary societies and faculty job opportunities.

Photo of Dr. Lula Pace, 1908. Lula Pace was the first female professor at Baylor to hold a doctoral degree, and served as the chair of the Department of Botany and Geology. Found in the 1908 edition of The Baylor Round-Up. Courtesy of The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

As with most topics regarding student access during this time, the issue of women’s participation in literary societies was complex. There was collaboration and partnership between the male and female societies, but this did not always result in equality for their respective members. Though there were a number of benefits that came from women’s membership in literary societies, it is evident that when compared to their male counterparts, female students who chose to participate in such societies faced marginalization. This marginalization is especially evident when one considers the limited opportunity for scholarships.

In a similar vein, female faculty members at Baylor also experienced inequality. Although Baylor had taken a progressive stance on hiring more female faculty members, women comprised less than half of the faculty, were paid less than their male counterparts, and were generally considered lower-level “instructors” rather than full professors. In addition, Baylor rarely hired married female faculty members, notwithstanding that the majority of male faculty were married. All of these examples confirm that Baylor female faculty members faced inequality that was similar to what Baylor female students faced.

As progressive as Baylor was in 1900 to 1910, it was still a far cry from the experience that Baylor women have today. Finally, as Baylor continues to extend access to a variety of students, the university should build intentional partnerships whilst remaining mindful of any possibilities of exclusion.

Texas Over Time: Paul Quinn College-Waco Campus

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

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator


Paul Quinn College-Former Waco Campus

The Rapaport Academy Public School and Doris Miller YMCA locations at 1020 Elm Avenue, Waco, TX., are housed on grounds and buildings that were once home to Paul Quinn College. This African American institution was originally started in Austin, TX., in 1872, as the Connectional High School and Institute for Negro Youth. When the school moved to Waco in 1877 on 8th and Mary Streets, it was known as Waco College and taught trades such as blacksmithing, carpentry, and tanning to newly freed slaves. It became Paul Quinn College in 1881 named after Bishop William Paul Quinn, the fourth Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. It was then relocated to Elm Avenue in east Waco on 20 acres of land that was once part of the Garrison Plantation. By 1979, the operating budget of the college was 2.5 million dollars and operated on funding by the A.M.E. Church, United Negro College Fund, federal funding, and private donations. In 1990, Paul Quinn College moved to Dallas, TX., where it is still in operation. The institution is the oldest liberal arts college for African Americans in the state of Texas. While the previously mentioned institutions house many of the former Quinn campus buildings, William Decker Johnson Hall (below) has remained vacant since the college’s move to Dallas.Continue Reading