TEXAS OVER TIME: The Liberty Building (One Liberty Place), 601 Austin Avenue, Waco, TX.


By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. 

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” blog series 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.

At 601 Austin Avenue, Waco, Texas, stands the 9-story tall Liberty Building, also known as One Liberty Place. It was completed in 1923, and opened for business in May of that year. Its architect was Birch D. Easterwood and it was originally built as the Liberty National Bank building. The Liberty National Bank was chartered on February 1, 1918, and its first president was J.B. Earle. The Liberty Building was one of several high-rise commercial structures built in downtown Waco in the first two decades of the twentieth century. The much larger Alico Building was completed in 1911, The Raleigh Hotel in 1914, The Praetorian Building in 1915, the Stratton Building in 1921, and the Roosevelt Hotel in 1928. However, while the Liberty Building seems unassuming compared to some of these taller structures, it still holds a prominent place among the city’s surviving business buildings from this period. Indeed, at nearly 100 years old, the Liberty Building has stood the test of time and is still supplying much needed office space to a vibrant downtown Waco of the 2020’s.

The “Then” picture from February 1960 in the image sequence below shows: the Liberty Building, located at 601 Austin Avenue, Waco, Texas. Photographer, Windy Drum, General Photo File, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. The “Now’ is a similar view of the building taken in 2020 by GH.


In the Waco News-Tribune of May 19, 1923, regarding the bank’s grand opening, it states the building is:  “Situated in the heart of the business district, possessing every modern facility and convenience for the conduct of commercial and savings banking, our institution is better equipped from every standpoint to serve not only its present clientele, but also individuals and firms who may need new or additional banking arrangements.” Photograph by Fred Gildersleeve, circa 1923, General Photo File, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Image from the Waco Chamber of Commerce News, of April 1923: The publication states: “This new banking home [Liberty Building] is a valued addition to Waco…it is noted that practically every office in the building has been leased and that there will probably be a waiting list with its final completion.” The publication also states that at the time, it was Waco’s “youngest bank,” however, it had resources in 1923 of three million dollars and that the building “…will rank as one of the largest and most completely equipped in this section of the south.” Photograph by Whayne Farmer, circa 1923.

A full-page advertisement from The Waco News-Tribune, Saturday, May 19, 1923.

An advertisement from The Waco News-Tribune, Wednesday, February 14, 1923.

Works Sourced:

“In Our New Home, The Liberty National Bank Building,” The Waco News-Tribune, May 19, 1923.

Waco Chamber of Commerce News, April 1923, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

United States Department of the Interior National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: “Waco Downtown Historic District.” Accessed March 25, 2021.



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