From General Tire to the BRIC: The Demise and Rebirth of a Waco Manufacturing Facility

General Tire & Rubber Company's Waco, TX, c. 1950
General Tire & Rubber Company’s Waco, TX, main building, with manufacturing spaces behind it, late 1940s or early 1950s. The Waco plant was dedicated on November 13, 1944, and was built in conjunction with the Defense Plant Corporation for wartime production. The first tires constructed there were for the U.S. Army and Navy. Thomas E. Turner, Sr. papers #2200, box 12, folder 5.

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

General Tire & Rubber Co. came to Waco in late 1944, the company’s second plant after its Akron, Ohio, headquarters. The plant was originally constructed to supply equipment for the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, and by January 1945, production began. According to William O’Neal, General Tire’s president, the new Waco location (off Business 77, near Orchard Lane) was established on acknowledging that “the war has dissipated the old idea that all manufacturing had to be done in the north, that the south could hope to be no more than an agricultural area.” O’Neal was guided in his decision to bring the company to this area by Congressman W.R. Poage of Texas.

General Tire and Rubber, Co., Waco, TX, 1960s
This image shows the main front of the General Tire and Rubber Plant, Waco, TX, mid- to late-1960s. General photo files: Waco–Businesses–Tire And Rubber Companies–General Tire And Rubber Company.

Products coming out of the Waco plant included truck tires for the U.S. Army and Navy, and other rubber-based equipment such as rafts and specialized balloons for wartime use. After the war, once it acquired nearly full control from the U.S. government, the Waco plant began switching from military production to consumer and industrial based products. In November 1945, the first passenger car tire was built and soon after, 2,500 were made daily. By 1954, the plant doubled in size, and 6,000 passenger car, truck, tractor, and farm service tires were being built daily.

General Tire and Rubber, Co., Waco, TX, 1951
When photographer Fred Marlar took this image in 1951, General Tire & Rubber Company’s Waco facility was making more than 1.6 million tires a year. Company managers are shown here inspecting one of their famous bias-ply truck tires on the assembly line. General photo files: Waco–Businesses–Tire And Rubber Companies–General Tire And Rubber Company.

A very large surge in tire production occurred in 1955 when the company received a contract to make original equipment tires. Cars made by General Motors rolled off of the automaker’s assembly lines equipped with tires made in Waco. At the time, some models of General’s tires included the innovative tubeless design called the “Dual 90.” Other domestic automakers used Waco-built General products, and the plant ended up making millions of tires that rolled on American roads—and beyond.

By 1957, due to demand, the Waco plant completed a 40 percent expansion in production capacity. By 1984, after many years of continued success, the size of the plant had grown enormously, with building space covering “49 acres under roof on 139 acres of land.” (In 1944, the original area covered “233,000 square feet of manufacturing space.”)

When the facility in Waco celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1984, reference was made for the next 40-year celebration, but this was not to be. In November 1985, General Tire & Rubber Co. announced the closure of its Waco, Texas, plant, which had a staff of more than 1,400 personnel, an annual payroll of $42 million, and was responsible for $18 million monthly in expenditures into the the area’s economy.

After news of the closure, the number without jobs amounted to nearly 10% of Waco’s manufacturing work force. Following the news, an editorial in the Waco Tribune-Herald stated: “The announced closing of Waco’s General Tire plant leaves a cavernous void in Waco’s economy. It could be compared only to Baylor University pulling up stakes.” The last employees to leave the plant were 130 workers who remained at the General Tire & Rubber mixing facility, making bulk rubber to supply other General plans, until December 1990.

The Waco General Tire & Rubber Co. plant gave livelihoods for thousands of men and women throughout its 41 years in operation. However, sudden and drastic changes in the automobile industry, inability to adapt or replace machinery to keep up with changing tire designs and demands, and competition from imports, all contributed to the demise of what was once Waco’s largest manufacturing facility.

Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), Waco, TX, General Tire & Rubber Company (2)
Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), Waco, TX, General Tire & Rubber Company. Photo by Geoff Hunt for The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

The old General Tire plant in Waco remained mainly in disuse for many years, but the empty facility still had enormous potential. The company’s main building was heavily renovated in 2010 for use by the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC). It now uses more than 300,000 square feet of the facility. Baylor University, Texas State Technical College, and leading industries utilize this space for advanced research in engineering, air science, quantum optics, and more. Students are able to experience some of the latest innovations in these fields and get hands-on experience in their fields of study—helping Waco continue to innovate and train a new generation well into the future.

See more photos in our General Tire & Rubber Co. album on Flickr:

General Tire & Rubber Co., Waco, TX


“Industrial and Agricultural Development.” Annual Report Edition- WACO- The Hub of Texas: Official Publication of Waco Chamber of Commerce Waco, Texas (Waco, TX) Jan. 1944.

“Colorful Ceremony to Mark Dedication Of General Tire Plant Here On November 13th.” WACO-The Hub of Texas: Official Publication of Waco Chamber of Commerce Waco, Texas (Waco, TX) Oct. 1944.

“General Tire Officials, Newspapermen See Texas’ First Tire Plant Dedicated In Waco.” WACO- The Hub of Texas: Official Publication of Waco Chamber of Commerce Waco, Texas (Waco, TX) Nov. 1944.

”General Tire Plant Here Grew Out of War Needs” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Oct. 31, 1948.

“Rubber Plant Employment Five Times 1944 Strength.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Jan. 20, 1954.

“General Tire Completing 40 Percent Expansion, in Waco.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Feb. 10, 1957.

“Poage Recalls Beginning for General Tire Here.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Apr. 9, 1972.

“General Tire Celebrates 40 Proud Years in Waco.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Oct. 14, 1984.

“General Tire Latest in Series of Shutdowns.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Nov. 6, 1985.

“Waco’s Economy Suffers Blowout.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Nov. 6, 1985.

“Tire Plant to Close Division: Monday Last Day for 130 Employees.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Dec. 31, 1990.

“Tire Company was Force in Local Economy for Decades.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Oct. 23, 2009.

Color our (Texas) Collections

DimeNovel2Compiled by Amie Oliver, Brian Simmons, Tiff Sowell, and Amanda Norman

Inspired by the coloring trend and project sponsors New York Academy of Medicine and BioDiversity Heritage Library, The Texas Collection has selected a few pages from our print materials collection for your coloring pleasure. The selections are a good example of the wide range of subjects our collections cover–from botany to dime novels, you will find all manner of Texas topics in our holdings.

Download the coloring pages using the link below, color to your heart’s content, then share your artwork with us on Facebook and/or Twitter, with the hashtag #ColorOurCollections. We look forward to seeing your creativity!

Color our (Texas) Collection!

Seeds botanical

You can see a long list of participating special collections here, if you just can’t get enough coloring pages! Be sure to check out other Baylor participants via the blogs for Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor Libraries Digital Collections.


Celebrating Baylor’s Founders Day

February 3, 1923

Today marks the 171st anniversary of the signing of Baylor University’s charter. On February 1, 1845, Republic of Texas President Anson Jones signed the Act of Congress that established our institution. Happy birthday, Baylor!

From the beginning, Baylor has enjoyed looking back at its history, as evidenced by many publications, features in the Lariat and Round Up, class projects (such as the HESA Baylor history blog—more on that in a future post), and the traditions that help link our past with our present. But in the 1920s, Baylor started to celebrate more officially the anniversary of its founding. By searching in our digitized Lariats and press releases, we highlighted key Founders Day celebrations throughout the twentieth century. Enjoy!

In 1923, we see the first mentions in the Lariat of Founders Day festivities (see above). That year, the university did a radio broadcast of a program featuring speeches by President Samuel Palmer Brooks, Dr. Kenneth Hazen Aynesworth (whose donation that year would found The Texas Collection), and few other Baylor alums and supporters. The broadcast was heard as far away as Kansas! President Brooks touts that Baylor “is a real University now,” having ceased its preparatory program and with Schools in everything from sciences to music to law to medicine. He concluded his portion by reminding alumni that “our object in life is the betterment of mankind.” Read more in the February 3, 1923, Lariat.

February 1, 1939

1939 brings the unveiling of the new Judge R.E.B. Baylor statue. You can read more in a past blog post about the process of funding and selecting the artist for this public art piece. In addition to hosting Judge Baylor’s descendants, the university invited to campus descendants of all of Baylor’s past presidents, along with other dignitaries. The sculptor, Pompeo Coppini, who also was the artist behind the Rufus C. Burleson statue, was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1940, in recognition of his work for Baylor and the state of Texas. Read more in the February 1, 1939, Lariat.

Baylor celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1945, with a year-long theme of “Christian Education: Safeguard of Democracy.” The university rolled out the red carpet, despite the ongoing war: honorary degrees were bestowed, the pillars dedicated to William Tryon and James Huckins (by the Judge Baylor statue) were unveiled, exhibits were on display, and campus tours were offered. A concert by the Baylor Symphony Orchestra wrapped up the Founders Day festivities, featuring the “Centennial Overture” written by Dean Daniel Sternberg especially for the occasion. Read more in the February 1, 1945, Lariat.

January 18, 1958

The tenth anniversary of W.R. White’s presidency was commemorated in conjunction with Founders Day in 1958. In addition to a three-hour program of lectures by “eminent educators” and a student-sponsored party in honor of Dr. and Mrs. White, the university dedicated six of the ten buildings constructed during White’s presidency to date: Allen, Dawson, Collins, and Martin Halls, and Speight-Jenkins Married Students’ Apartments. (Can you tell that housing was an important need during White’s presidency?) But, construction is never done on a college campus: White announced on Founders Day the naming gift that started the Marrs McLean Science Building project. Read more in the January 18, 1958 press release, and the February 4, 1958, Lariat.

In 1966, the Lariat called out the University for the lack of Founders Day celebration! In the 1960s, there were some Founders Day activities, such as the 1964 dedication of Marrs McLean…but sometimes, as the article notes, it was left up to ex-student clubs to celebrate on their own. The relatively new Baylor/Waco Foundation also timed their annual fund drive kickoff to coincide with Founders Day. Read more in the February 3, 1966, Lariat.

February 10, 1970

The Founders Medal was introduced in 1970, which also marked Baylor’s 125th anniversary. The Founders Medal still is one of Baylor’s highest honors, presented to men and women who have made unusually significant contributions to the life of the University. The first recipients were Mr. and Mrs. Carr P. Collins and Mr. and Mrs. Earl C. Hankamer. (Misters Collins and Hankamer both were longtime Baylor Trustees and supporters.) Read more in the February 10, 1970, Lariat.

In 1986, Baylor celebrated the centennial of the Waco campus. (There is no shortage of significant anniversaries for Baylor to commemorate!) The James Huckins Baylor Founders Day Award (not the Founders Medal, but we’re unsure what the distinction was for this award) was presented to Dr. Guy Newman, a Baylor alumnus who was at the time president emeritus of Howard Payne University. Also part of Founders Week was the debut of the Baylor-Waco Centennial Anthem, “The Lord Reigneth,” composed by Richard M. Willis, professor and composer-in-residence, by the A Cappella Choir. Read more in the February 5, 1986, Lariat.

February 3, 1995

Baylor’s Sesquicentennial year was 1995, a particularly significant anniversary that brought a year’s worth of celebrations. For Founders Week, the Lariat included a special pull-out section on Baylor’s heritage, complete with timeline of important events and articles on various aspects of the University’s history. The sesquicentennial time capsule was buried on Founders Day, with submissions invited from seniors wanting to leave their mark. The capsule will be opened in 2045. Read more in the February 3, 1995, Lariat.

The Founders Medal now is conferred at Homecoming, along with Baylor’s other Meritorious Achievement Awards, but the University does work to highlight February 1 through events and social media posts. If you’re itching to learn more about Baylor’s history, poke around this blog, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube pages, as well as the digital collections for the University Archives and for The Texas Collection. You’re sure to gain some fascinating Baylor trivia!

Texas over Time: Texas Christian University, Waco campus fire–before and after

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 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.

TCUDid you know that Texas Christian University was in Waco for about 15 years? Images can be found in the general photo files (Waco–TCU)

  • Founded in 1873 by Addison and Randolph Clark, and formerly known as Add-Ran College, TCU was originally located at Thorp Spring (Hood County). In 1890, the university obtained new ownership by the Disciples of Christ.
  • When the Waco Female College closed, the Christian Church of Waco promised to give TCU the building if they relocated their school to Waco, along with $5,000 and fifteen acres of land. They relocated in December 1895.
  • In 1902, the school’s second president, E.V. Zollars was elected. Almost immediately, there was a vote to change the name of the school to Texas Christian University, with the AddRan name used for the AddRan College of Arts and Sciences.
  • On March 22, 1910, a fire destroyed the main building of the college, which was used for academic purposes as well as for dormitory space. Students living on the top floor had to abandon all their belongings. Wacoans offered their homes to house the displaced students, and Baylor offered its classrooms, libraries, laboratories, etc.,
  • By May 1910, the school’s leadership decided to move to Fort Worth. Waco, McKinney, Gainesville, Dallas, and Fort Worth all submitted bids for TCU to help rebuild the school, but Fort Worth’s bid offered the most financial incentive and other support.

Works Cited

Kelley, Dayton. “Texas Christian University.” The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas. Waco: Texian, 1972. 262-63. Print.

Moore, Jerome Aaron. Texas Christian University: A Hundred Years of History. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1974. Print.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant. See these  images in our Flickr set. More information about TCU in Waco can be found on the Waco History app website.


Christmas in the Collections

With Christmas around the corner, we thought we’d take a look at how the holiday comes up in our archival collections. The following is just a small sample of Christmas-related photos, programming, and other documents that can be found at The Texas Collection on the most wonderful time of the year.

George W. Truett and family at Christmas in Waco, c. 1890s
George W. Truett (middle, 2nd row from the back) and family at Christmas in Waco, c. 1890s. Apparently, the challenge of getting a good family Christmas photo is not a new one–hardly anyone is looking at the camera here! BU records: George W. Truett Theological Seminary #BU/298, box 3, folder 15.
Christmas card, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Palmer Brooks to Dorothy Scarborough, c. 1932-1934
Christmas card, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Palmer Brooks to Dorothy Scarborough, c. 1931. Baylor President Brooks extended Yuletide greetings and a taste of Texas home to Baylor alumna and former faculty Scarborough, who was at this point teaching at Columbia University in New York. There are Christmas cards aplenty in Scarborough’s (and other) collections. Dorothy Scarborough papers, Series I, box 13, folder 4.

Waco Caritas staff Christmas party, 1980
Waco Caritas Christmas party, 1980. Caritas staff gather for a photo at a Christmas party. Again, the challenge of the group photo–there’s always someone whose eyes close. [Waco] Caritas records #2891, box 5, folder 15.
Christmas program (piano copy) at Brook Avenue/Bethel Baptist Church, undated
Christmas program (piano copy) at Brook Avenue/Bethel Baptist Church, undated. Finding new and engaging ways to lead a church in its celebration of Christmas always is a challenge for ministers–this piece was found in a folder full of clippings for various Christmas ideas and activities. (Pre-Pinterest, you know.) Telling the Christmas story through Bible verses and beloved carols is a must, though. [Waco] Brook Avenue and Bethel Baptist Church records, box 3, folder 12.

"A Little Child Shall Be the Leader" sermon by Marvin Griffin, 1979 December 16
“A Little Child Shall Be the Leader” sermon by Marvin Griffin on audiocassette, 1979 December 16. Rev. Griffin was preaching at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin at this point in his career. His collection includes hundreds of recordings of his sermons and radio broadcasts.

New Year's greetings, 1900, from Chas. L. Sanger & Co. (cotton buyers), Waco, Texas
Happy New Year (and new century!) from Chas. L. Sanger & Co., a cotton buyer/shipper company. Barnard-Lane collection #39, box 5, folder 14.

Texas over Time: Austin Avenue from City Hall, Waco

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 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.

AustinAveOur readers may remember that we did a GIF of Waco’s Austin Avenue awhile back, looking at City Hall. Now, we look the other direction! A few facts about the buildings/businesses you see in this GIF…

  • ALICO Building: Construction for the Amicable (ALICO) Building began in 1910 and after a height competition with the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, it was decided that the building would be 22-stories high. The builders, Sanguinet and Staats of Forth Worth and Roy E. Lane of Waco, wanted the building to have a structure that could sustain disaster, so a steel frame was put into place, and this was proved worthwhile after the 1953 tornado. The Texas State Historical Commission named the ALICO building a historical landmark in 1982.
  • Roosevelt Hotel: Before it became the Roosevelt Hotel, local civic leader Peter McClelland built the McClelland Hotel in 1872. The property was purchased by Conrad Hilton of the international chain, Hilton Hotels and Resorts. The economic downturn of the Great Depression caused Hilton to sell the property in 1934 to local investors, where it finally became known as the Roosevelt Hotel, honoring President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Roosevelt was one of the three buildings in the storm’s path that stood strong during the 1953 Waco tornado. Its steel frame supported the structure but for the businesses that did not survive, the owners relocated to the suburbs and the Roosevelt Hotel was forced to close in 1961. After its life as the Regis Retirement Home, local builder Mike Clark bought the building in 2004 and the space was renovated to accommodate event rentals, restaurants, and offices.
  • W.P. Pipkin Drugs: One of the Southwest’s largest independently owned drugstore chains, the W.P. Pipkin Drug store was successfully run by William Pipkin and then after his death, it was run by his daughter, Pauline Pipkin Garrett. Pipkin was the first drugstore owner to hire women and in a time where opportunities for women were limited, Garrett exceeded these expectations by expanding her father’s business into a thriving enterprise throughout Waco. Pipkin Drugs had seven locations.
  • Sanger Bros./Montgomery Ward: The Sanger Brothers open their shoe store on the square between Austin Avenue and Bankers’ Alley on March 4, 1873. Their store later moved between Fourth and Fifth Street on Austin Avenue. Products the store sold included “dry goods, clothing, boots, shoes, hats, caps, gents’ furnishing goods, carpets, and oil cloths,” per an ad by the Waco Daily Examiner. The business was very successful up until Sam Sanger’s death in 1919. In its final days thousands of dedicated customers were reported to show up for the last sales.


Kyle Baughman and Amanda Sawyer, “Amicable (ALICO) Building,” Waco History, accessed October 9, 2015,

Geoff Hunt, “Pauline Pipkin Garrett,” Waco History, accessed October 9, 2015, ffg

Amanda Sawyer, “Sanger Brothers Department Store,” Waco History, accessed October 9, 2015,

Amanda Sawyer, “Roosevelt Hotel,” Waco History, accessed November 4, 2015,

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant. See these and other images of Austin Avenue in our Flickr set.

Baylor by Decade: 1955, 1975

The Baylor Bulletin (otherwise known as the university catalogue) always gives us great insight into the many changes that have occurred down the years at our university. Join us as we explore “Baylor by Decade,” a periodic series in which we look at the changing campus community.

Baylor University School of Business, IBM 405 Electric Punched Card Accounting Machine, c.1950s (1)
Students gather around the School of Business’ IBM 405 electric punched card accounting machine. That’s some serious machinery! TC photo files-Baylor-Departments-Hankamer School of Business


    • In this decade, the university started charging tuition based on the number of hours taken in a quarter. It cost $9 per quarter hour, and the average total cost of attendance was $265.
    • The library had a collection of approximately 227,000 volumes. (Compare that to the approximately 68,000 volumes twenty years earlier in 1935–that’s a big increase!)
    • The School of Business had an Electronic Tabulator available to accounting majors, an IBM 405 punch card system (see above).
    • The dormitory buildings had many of the latest styles and amenities, including:
        • all were built of stone and brick and were fireproof
        • steam heated
        • partially sound proofed
        • furnished with Venetian blinds, desks, chests, beds, mattresses and chairs.


Architectural sketch of Burleson and Old Main towers to be restored, c. 1975
After the 1953 tornado weakened the structural integrity of the Old Main and Burleson towers, they were removed, and the building remained tower-less until 1976. Pictured in the 1975-1976 catalogue is a rendering of what the renovated complex would look like when the construction was complete in 1976.


  • By this point, the university switched from a quarter system to a semester system. The average total cost of tuition was about $600.
  • Moody Library served as the primary library on campus (having moved out of Carroll Library in 1968). It housed 500,000 volumes, as well as 2,500 magazine and periodical titles.
  • Chapel was now called “University Forum.” Students were required to have three semesters of University Forum to graduate (reduced from four semesters), and they had to attend 75% of all meetings to receive credit.
  • The normal course load for students was 12-18 semester hours. The Bulletin suggests that for students who work three+ hours daily, this should be reduced by one course.

Welcome Home, Bruin: A Symbol of Baylor Spirit (and the Rivalry with TCU)

This summer, The Texas Collection was happy to become the guardians of Bruin the Bear, a nearly 100-year-old piece of Baylor history. Learn about his story in this KWTX piece:

(If you prefer to read the tale, KWTX’s website has the full story. And, you can read the Lariat articles about Bruin’s escapades at TCU in the December 13 (page 3) and December 17, 1917 issues.)

Texas over Time: Waco Suspension Bridge

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 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.

Waco Suspension Bridge

  • Opened to the public on January 7, 1870, the 475-foot structure is one of downtown Waco’s iconic landmarks.
  • At the time of its completion, it was the longest single-span bridge west of the Mississippi.
  • The cables and steelwork were supplied by John Roebling Co., who also helped build the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City during that decade
  • As the only bridge over the Brazos River, it brought much publicity to Waco, helped local economic stimulation and served as a public bridge starting in 1889.
  • During times of high water, the bridge was used greatly for moving cattle herds.
  • In 1914, it went under total reconstruction including a brand new cable system; the roadway is now supported with steel and the towers were remodeled with stucco.
  • In July 1970, it became the first Waco site on the National Register of Historic Sites.


Roger N. Conger, “The Waco Suspension Bridge,” Texana, I (Summer 1963); Minute  Books of the Waco Bridge Company (MS., Waco-McLennan County Library).

“The City of Waco.” Suspension Bridge & Riverwalk, Parks & Recreation. City of Waco Municipal Information, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

Smyrl, Vivian Elizabeth. “Waco Suspension Bridge.” Texas State Historical Association. TSHA, University of Texas, 15 June 2010. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, student archives assistant. Learn more about the history of the suspension bridge in our YouTube video and see these images in our Flickr album.

Texas over Time: Baylor Homecoming parade, 1953

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 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.

Something a little different this month–attend the 1953 Baylor Homecoming parade!

Baylor Homecoming paradeViews from the 700 block of Austin Avenue of the October 31, 1953 parade. A devastating F5 tornado hit just a few blocks from this site on May 11 of the same year.

  • In 2012, Baylor Homecoming was declared by the Smithsonian to be the first collegiate Homecoming celebration. On November 24, 1909, about 60 decorated carriages and cars and about 70 walking groups made their way down Washington Avenue towards Eighth and Austin, then made their way to campus for the football game at Carroll Field. As the Baylor band led the way, organizations from across campus, sports teams, and societies participated in the parade.
  • Although the first Homecoming was a success, it was held sporadically and did not become an annual tradition until the late 1940s.
  • In the second Homecoming in 1915, we start to see a few floats in the parade. In 1960 floats  began to carry themes of Baylor defeating (and otherwise destroying) their opponent for the big football game.
  • The route for the parade has gradually evolved and in recent years has started on Austin Avenue and ended on Fifth Street, in the heart of campus.
  • In addition to the parade, Homecoming features many other activities and traditions, including alumni dinners and reunions, a bonfire in Fountain Mall, the Freshman Mass Meeting, Pigskin Revue, and Friday Night Flashback.
  • For Homecoming 2015, Baylor will dedicate the Rosenbalm Fountain on the new Fifth Street promenade. Students, alumni and faculty will get to experience an over 100-year tradition while making a brand new one in the process.


“Homecoming Parade.” Baylor University. Baylor University, n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

Morris, Conner. “The Great School of Which I Have Dreamed: Homecoming 2014.” Our Daily Bears. SB Nation, 28 Oct. 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

See all of the images in our Flickr set–and there are several more Homecoming albums on our Flickr page, too! GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant.