TEXAS OVER TIME: The Professional Building (Waco ISD Administration Building), 501 Franklin 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.


       The Waco Independent School District’s Administration Building located at 501 Franklin Avenue was once known as the Professional Building. The 10-story structure was completed in 1929 by Texas-based C.L. Shaw Construction at a cost of $450,000. It was built for the Medical Arts Investment Company of Dallas who designed similar buildings aimed at housing medical professionals and law firms. Upon completion, residents included 25 doctors, 10 dentists, 15 lawyers, and other professionals including advertising agents. One of the lawyers who resided in the building was Leon Jaworski, of Scott and Jaworski Attorneys at Law. Jaworski, originally from Waco, rose to fame in the legal profession and during his career was a special prosecutor in the Watergate Trial. Additionally, the well-known Waco physician, Howard R. Dudgeon, was one of the many doctors who had practices in the building. Other occupants of the structure catered to these professionals such as the Central Shoe Hospital that was owned and operated by Sam Piazza. In addition, the first floor of the newly built structure in 1929 included Canon Drug Company, a barber shop, a tailor, and a tire shop. 

       The Professional Building originally got its water supply from a naturally occurring spring through an artesian well. Waco was once known as “Geyser City” due to the abundant supply of natural spring water in the area around the Brazos River and downtown. Many businesses and buildings took advantage of this and got their water supply from this source. According to the Waco News-Tribune of January 6, 1929: “Water from an artesian well supplies the [Professional] building, furnishing 240 gallons per minute for an estimated need of 135 gallons at the utmost….a surge tank of 100,000 gallon capacity is provided as a reservoir. The water is forced to the top of the building and is supplied through pipes by gravity.”  In fact, on this same site, prior to the construction of the Professional Building, stood the Crystal Palace Pool whose water supply came directly from these artesian wells. Unfortunately, overuse caused this natural water source to run dry for Waco businesses many years ago and it is no longer their sole water provider as it once was. See “Geyser City, Waco…Crystal Palace Pool,” for more information.     

       The structure survived the May 11, 1953, tornado that hit downtown Waco. It appears to have held up well having mostly blown-out windows as its main damage (see image below). However, the building’s neighboring structures, the five-story R.T. Dennis Building, and the Padgitt Building were completely destroyed having many casualties included among the 114 souls who perished that day. Structures contained within the 400 blocks of Austin and Franklin Avenues were hit especially hard by the this tornado. The Professional Building and its occupants at 501 Franklin Avenue were fortunate to have survived this storm. See “The Waco Tornado of 1953: A selection of Lesser Known Images…”, for further detail. 

       Throughout the years the Professional Building has changed ownership several times and has been referred to by many different names. In 1935, Waco Professional Building Inc. took ownership of the structure from the Medical Arts Investment Company of Dallas. In 1950, it was sold to Richard Gill of San Antonio, TX. It was later owned and occupied by several financial institutions and bore their names as well; examples include Citizen’s Tower [Citizen’s National Bank], Republic Bank Tower, and NCNB Texas Tower. In the late 1960’s, the Professional Building’s architectural designed changed during Waco’s Urban Renewal Program and under the ownership of Citizens National Bank. This involved the addition of the metal rooftop cladding, the update to the windows, and changes to the street level facade. This also included the 5th Street walkover to The Citizens Motor Ramp structure that was once part of CNB at 501 Franklin. The old motor ramp structure at the 400 block of Franklin Avenue is now the City of Waco Water Department and part of the Dr. Mae Jackson Development Center. 

After many years of residents, including but not limited to those in the medical, legal, and financial professions, the Professional Building now serves as a fitting structure for the Waco I.S.D as their administration building. The school district bought the building in June of 1992. In 2011, the structure received $2.7 million worth of renovations including asbestos abatement and the addition of the distinctive “WACO ISD” sign to the roof. Indeed, the old Professional Building is now just as significant as ever in providing work space to those entrusted to the education of our next generation of professionals.  


Left: Postcard of the Professional Building, circa 1929. Wilton Lanning Papers, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. Right: Professional Building by Fred Marlar, circa 1948. Waco-Businesses-Professional Building, General Photo File, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.


Street-level crop of Professional Building at 501 Austin Avenue, circa 1948 (full size version in above Fred Marlar image). The scene shows William’s Drugs, the Professional Building’s first floor occupant at the time. To the left is Kendrick Tire Company who resided at the location from 1929-2007, and was the building’s longest occupant. Piazza Brothers Shoe Service is seen at the far right. Waco-Businesses-Professional Building, General Photo File, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.


The “Then” picture in the image sequence above shows the Professional Building in 1929, as it once was on 501 Franklin Avenue, Waco, Texas, by photographer Fred Gildersleeve. Source: Waco-Businesses-Professional Building, General Photo File, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. The “Now’ image is of a similar view of the same but altered structure (now the WISD Administration Building) and taken in May 2021, by GH.


 

The First Occupants: Professional Building Directory from the Waco News-Tribune of January 6, 1929.

This photograph of the Professional Building was taken soon after the devastating May 11, 1953, tornado that hit downtown Waco. The structure held up well, however, blown-out windows can be seen in the image. This building’s neighboring structures, the five-story R.T. Dennis building, and the Padgitt Building were completely destroyed with many casualties among the 114 souls, total, who perished that day. Structures contained within the 400 blocks of Austin and Franklin Avenues were hit especially hard by the tornado. The Professional Building and the occupants at 501 Franklin Avenue were fortunate to have survived the storm. Waco-Businesses-Professional Building, General Photo File, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

 

These images of the Professional Building were taken in 1968 by the Urban Renewal Agency of Waco just before renovation. Both images also show Kendrick Tire Company, which was located in the adjoining space next to the building from 1929 to 2007. Waco-Businesses-Professional Building, General Photo File, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

 

 

The building that now houses the City of Waco Water Department was once was home to The Citizens Motor Ramp, part of The Citizens National Bank of Waco. This structure still has the walkover above 5th Street that was originally built to connect the two bank buildings. Waco-Businesses-Professional Building, General Photo File, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

This news clipping from the Waco Tribune-Herald of August 30, 1969, shows renovation work being done including the addition of the Citizen’s National Bank sign. The distinctive metal cladding at the building’s rooftop can also be seen and this was newly installed in this 1969 photo. It is believed that the update to the windows, street level facade, and 5th Street walkover to the Motor Bank were also done during this period. These modifications altered the original architectural design of the structure as they were intended to help turn it into a modern looking commercial building while protecting it from the environment.  

Works Sourced:

“Professional Building Marks Step in Waco Progress,” Waco News-Tribune of January 6, 1929.

“San Antonio Man Buys Professional Building in Waco,” Waco Tribune-Herald, May 21, 1951.

Waco Tribune-Herald, August 30, 1969.

“Waco ISD Seeks TIF Funds for Administration Building Upgrades,” Waco Tribune-Herald, June 29, 2011.

Mike Copeland: Kendrick Tire Closes…” Waco Tribune-Herald, April 6, 2014.

 

 

 

TEXAS OVER TIME: The Praetorian Building, 601 Franklin 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.


                                                                                                 Waco’s Praetorian Building

Waco’s Praetorian Building at 601 Franklin Avenue, is one of the city’s most distinctive structures. The building was originally built for the Waco Chapter of the Modern Order of Praetorians, a fraternal life insurance company originally founded in 1898, in Dallas, by Charles Gardner. Its construction was completed in 1915, in the Chicago Style of architectural design. It has 7-stories and was designed by the firm of C.W. Bulger and Company and was constructed by Hughes O’Rourke Construction of Dallas. The building is made of reinforced concrete and the exterior base has gray granite and terra cotta on its facades. The structure has stood the test of time, and this includes surviving the catastrophic 1953 Waco tornado, and remaining mostly unaltered during the later changes the downtown area saw during Urban Renewal. 

The Praetorian Life Insurance Company’s headquarters was in Dallas, and that city’s Praetorian Building was 15-stories tall and completed in 1909. At the time, the Dallas structure was the tallest building in Texas, and considered to be the first skyscraper in the Southwestern U.S. This undoubtedly led many to pay attention to what Waco’s Praetorian Building would look like. However, according to a May 23, 1913, Waco Morning News article regarding the building’s design, it states: “The city will always have reason to be proud of its Amicable [Alico Building] but none, we think, will suggest it is likely Waco will ever need another building of that height.” The article also states that it is a design that “Waco needs and wants.” At the time, this was referred to as a “medium-height” structure, and it seemed fitting for the Waco skyline of 1915. Beginning in the early 1910’s, and at the time of the Praetorian’s construction, Waco was already well-known in the state’s insurance industry having home offices for: Texas Fidelity & Bonding Co., Amicable Life Insurance Co., First Texas State Insurance Co., Southern Union Life Insurance Co., and Texas Life Insurance Co. Consequently, Waco was referred to as “The Insurance City of Texas.” The selection of Waco for another Praetorian Building seemed obvious, and this company succeeded well in building a structure much smaller in size but just as impressive as its Dallas counterpart.  

When built, the Waco Praetorian’s main occupant was the insurance company that bears its name, and on the first floor for many years was the First Bank and Trust. Additionally, in its earlier days, the upper floors served as main offices for some of the local railroad companies. As the Praetorian Life Insurance Company changed their mission and ownership over the years, the Praetorian Building did as well. The building later came to be known under several different names and occupants such as Service Mutual Building, 1934; Southwestern Building, 1956 (Praetorian’s sold the building this year); Veteran Administration, 1962-1965; Franklin Tower; and was vacant from 1973-1989, and in 1989, it was bought and renamed Williams Tower. However, One of the most important moments in the history of the Praetorian Building happened the fall of 1984, when the National Register of Historic Places (U.S. National Park Service) added it to their listing. The building was nominated to the register by Binnie Hoffman of the Austin, TX., architectural firm of Bell, Klein, and Hoffman who recognized its potential and well-preserved state. In the same year, Waco Heritage and History Magazine, Vol. 15, No. 2, published their original nomination letter which states: “The only differences shown on the building’s exterior in historic photographs [compared to 1984] are a flag pole centered on the main (southeastern) parapet, an ox-bow, arched canopy suspended by an iron bracket over the entrance on the east side, and a full-length canopy suspended from iron rods at the ground-floor northeastern facade.” The Waco Heritage and History article also states: “The later Waco Praetorian Building, while based on Chicago School organization and detailing, also had a regional flair in its Mission parapet. It remains one of the few high-rise structures in downtown Waco and is one of only two Chicago Style structures in the city. The Dallas Praetorian was severely altered in 1961, leaving its Waco counterpart as the most significant intact structure associated with that institution.” Indeed, this article helps to sum up just how well-preserved the building was into the 1980’s, and its need for recognition and preservation on a national level. This information is even more relevant today.  

In 1996, the original Waco Praetorian Building’s name was restored. By the early 2010’s, the building was on its way once again to becoming a well-utilized structure where many could call home or their place of work. While the Dallas Praetorian Building was deconstructed in 2013, a restoration of the Waco Praetorian began that same year. As a result, several floors were converted into loft apartments, also known as The Praetorian, the first floor into retail or business use, and space was even made for an art studio and gallery. In 2021, we are thankful for those who helped preserve the building over the years as it now stands prominently as one downtown Waco’s few remaining original high-rise structures.


The Praetorian Building, Waco, TX., Postcards, circa 1915, from the General Postcard Collection, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

The “Then” picture in the image sequence above shows the Praetorian Building in 1926, as it once was on 601 Franklin Avenue, Waco, Texas, by photographer Whayne Farmer. Source: Waco-Praetorian Building, General Photo File, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. The “Now’ image is of a similar view of the structure and taken in May 2021, by GH.


A news clipping regarding the Praetorian from the Waco Morning News, May 11, 1916.

 

This image was taken in 1986 by Carlos Menchu when the structure was vacant. Noticeable is the “Regional Office, Veteran’s Administration,” painted on its side. Source: Waco-Praetorian Building, General Photo File, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Works Sourced:

“Lofty ambitions: Praetorian Building in downtown Waco entering 2nd century,” Waco Tribune-Herald, May 12, 2012. https://wacotrib.com/news/local/lofty-ambitions-praetorian-building-in-downtown-waco-entering-2nd-century/article_74127614-b77d-52ba-8f49-aedd3515bd89.html. Accessed 5 May 2021. 

Praetorian Building Honored with National Register Listing.” Waco Heritage and History Magazine, Vol. 15, No. 2, Winter 1984. https://digitalcollections-baylor.quartexcollections.com/Documents/Detail/waco-heritage-and-history-vol.-15-no.-2-winter-1984/1530652?item=1530667. Accessed 5 May 2021.  

“The Praetorian’s Building,” Waco Morning News, May 23, 1913.

“Praetorian Building One Handsome Waco Structure,” Waco Morning News, May 11, 1916. 

Sawyer, Amanda. “The Praetorian,” https://wacohistory.org/items/show/106. Accessed 5 May 2021. 


 

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.

 

 

TEXAS OVER TIME: Then and Now Views of Downtown Waco, TX., from the Alico Building, 1940s-1950s.

 

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.


Waco’s Alico Building has been known to photographers as a “22-story tripod” since its completion in 1911. Setting up a camera on top of the 22-story building gives a spectacular view of the city’s downtown and into East Waco looking over the Brazos River. To help demonstrate this, we have selected a few photographs taken from several vantage points from the Alico’s roof-top from the 1940’s and early 1950’s. These were taken before the 1953 Waco tornado and other changes permanently altered the city’s skyline. The first image is a “slider” which shows a “Then and Now” view of Waco City Hall and the old City Square. The following images are “Then and Now” still photos. We hope you enjoy this selection of photos and views of old Waco in this installment of “Texas Over Time” from The Texas Collection at Baylor University.


The “Then” image is looking towards Waco City Hall and the City Square from the top of the Alico Building, 1952. Photographer Fred Marlar, Fred Marlar papers, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. The “Now” image is from a similar view from Google Earth, 2021. 


1940s: The first “Then” photograph was taken from the top of the Alico Building looking southwest. From right to left is Austin Avenue, Franklin Avenue, Mary Street, Jackson Street, Webster Avenue, and Clay Avenue. The Praetorian Building at 601 Franklin Avenue is noticeable in the lower left. Photographer unknown. Wilton Lanning Papers #4039, Box 7 Folder 11, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. The second “Now” image is from Google Earth, 2021.

1940s: The first “Then” photograph was taken from the top of the Alico Building looking west up Washington Avenue. Notice the Grand Karem Shrine and the old Waco High School buildings. Photographer unknown. Wilton Lanning Papers #4039, Box 7 Folder 11, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. The second “Now” image is from Google Earth, 2021.

1940s: The first “Then” photograph was taken from the top of the Alico Building looking down on 5th Street and Washington Avenue. Notice the McLennan County Courthouse and the old jail on the lower right. Photographer unknown. Wilton Lanning Papers #4039, Box 7 Folder 11, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. The second “Now” image is from Google Earth, 2021.

1940s: The first “Then” photograph was taken from the top of the Alico Building looking south, down 5th Street. What is now the WISD building (Professional Building) is seen on the lower right, old Padgitt’s Building on the lower left, the Dr Pepper Bottling Plant (current Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Inst., 300 S. 5th St.) on mid-left, and the First Baptist Church (500 Webster). This area took a hard hit in the 1953 tornado with many of these building either destroyed or damaged. Photographer unknown. Wilton Lanning Papers #4039, Box 7 Folder 11, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. The second “Now” image is from Google Earth, 2021.

 

 

 

TEXAS OVER TIME: The Sanger Brothers Department Store and Christmas Event, 321 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.


Waco was once home to Sanger Brother’s Department Store, the city’s largest and most prestigious retail establishment. Outside of the store’s building on 321 Austin Avenue the business hosted Christmas events such as the one held in December 1913, when Santa Clause arrived via a Southern Traction Company railway car accompanied by the Alessandro Band. Santa’s arrival was sponsored by the railway company and Sanger Brothers, bringing in crowds of people numbering in the hundreds. It was a yearly tradition that filled the streets of downtown Waco with citizens trying to catch a glimpse of Jolly Old Saint Nicholas and listen to the band playing Christmas music.  

Waco’s Sanger Brothers Department Sore was founded by Sam Sanger and first opened for business on March 4, 1873. Sanger arrived in the U.S. from Germany in 1866, moving to Cincinnati, where he served as a Rabbi. He was then a teacher in Philadelphia from 1869 to 1872. He then went into the retail industry in 1872, opening a shoe store in New York City. Four of Sanger’s brothers, Isaac, Lehman, Philip, and Alexander, had also emigrated from Germany to the U.S., and were already in Texas when Sam Sanger arrived in the state. Sam Sangers’ brothers had opened dry goods stores in McKinney, Decatur, Weatherford, Bryan, Calvert, Hearne, Kosse, Bremond, Groesbeck, Corsicana, and Dallas, before brother Sam’s arrival. The McKinney store was the first and opened by Isaac Sanger in 1857. Sam Sanger merged the Bryan store to form the one in Waco. Sam Sanger died on December 18, 1919. His son, Asher Sanger, took over the business until 1926, when it was sold to a St. Louis based company. On March 15, 1931, the Waco branch of the Sanger Brother’s Department Store chain went out of business after 58 years. 

Sanger Brothers continued to operate stores in North Texas, and the company remained successful for decades after the Waco store’s closure. In 1961, Sanger Brothers joined with A. Harris and Co., to become Sanger-Harris. Many Sanger-Harris stores were located in shopping malls as anchor stores such as the ones at Valley View Mall in Dallas and Six Flags Mall in Arlington, TX. Sanger-Harris also operated stores in Ft. Worth, Mesquite, Irving, Plano, and Tyler. One former Sanger-Harris building was even modified to serve as the headquarters for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit System (DART). Sanger-Harris merged with Foley’s Department Stores in 1987, and in 2005, the once venerable firm merged with Macy’s


The “Then” in December 1913 photograph shows a Southern Traction Company railway car that has just transported Santa Claus and the Alessandro Band to Waco, from Dallas. The location is outside of the famous Sanger Brothers’ Department Store, once located at 321 Austin Avenue, Waco, TX. Santa Claus came to this store yearly at Christmas time and the event drew hundreds of onlookers. The “Now” image is of the same location in 2020, image by G.H. “Then” image is from: “Gildersleeve : Waco’s Photographer. Waco, Texas: 1845 Books, 2019. Print.”


A similar view to the above but taken in 1914. Santa Claus, accompanied by soldiers, stands in front of the large gathering. The slider or zoom feature shows a close-up of what the crowd came to see. “Then” image is from: “Gildersleeve : Waco’s Photographer. Waco, Texas: 1845 Books, 2019. Print.”

 


The Sanger building once stood at 321 Austin Avenue, as seen in this 1914 Fred Gildersleeve image. It was formerly the McClelland Hotel, and was also home to the Old Corner Drug Store, birthplace of Dr Pepper. Montgomery Ward occupied the building for many years until it moved to Lake Air Mall. The building, having survived the Waco Tornado of 1953, was demolished during Urban Renewal in about 1964. The site is now a parking lot and is also home to the memorial statue for the 1953 Waco Tornado. Image source: Gildersleeve : Waco’s Photographer. Waco, Texas: 1845 Books, 2019. Print.

Works Sourced:

Amanda Sawyer, “Sanger Brothers Department Store,” Waco History, accessed December 10, 2020, https://wacohistory.org/items/show/85.

Anderson, Jennifer. “Sanger Brothers in Dallas,” City of Dallas Office of Historic Preservation, accessed December 10, 2020, https://cityofdallaspreservation.wordpress.com/2018/11/08/sanger-brothers-in-dallas/

Gildersleeve, Fred A., Geoff Hunt, and John S. Wilson. Gildersleeve : Waco’s Photographer . Waco, Texas: 1845 Books, 2019. Print.

“The Story of Sanger Brothers, Pioneer Retail Store of Texas,” The Southwest Jewish Chronicle (Oklahoma City, Ok.), September 1, 1950.

“Sanger-Harris,” The Department Store Museum, http://www.thedepartmentstoremuseum.org/2010/05/sanger-harris-dallas-texas.html

TEXAS OVER TIME: The Behrens Drug Company, 219 South Fourth Street, 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.


Located on 219 South Fourth Street, Waco, Texas, the Behrens Lofts now occupies what was once known as the Behrens Drug Company building. The structure was completed in 1913, and was headquarters for the Behrens Drug Company. Earlier locations for the company were Fourth and Washington (1891-1896) and Third and Mary Streets (1896-1914), Waco. The company was founded by Dr. Herman Behrens. According to the Waco-News Tribune, April 19, 1925, Dr. Behrens was born in Seehide, Germany, on February 20, 1852. He moved to the U.S. as a child with his parents, and came to Paris, Texas, in 1874, to begin work in the drug industry. He came to Waco in 1878, to continue this trade and helped operate a firm called Behrens and Moser. After operating this company for a few years, he returned to Germany but came back to Waco again to help form another drug company called Behrens and Castles. In 1891, The Behrens Drug Company was incorporated. On December 17, 1905, Dr. Behrens died. However, Dr. W.R. Clifton soon became the company’s president and held this position for many years and the company achieved great success despite its founders’ passing.

 As a wholesale company, the firm sold “drugs, beauty products, talking machines, cigars, sundries, soda fountains, store fixtures, and more, to smaller business. Additionally, it even manufactured medicines in-house for a short time in the 1920’s. In the Waco-News Tribune, April 30, 1922, the company ambitiously states: “there is not an article in the drug dictionary which the Behrens Drug Company does not handle.” Another product sold was called Mrs. McCormick’s Beauty Cream, “popularized by the Behrens Drug Company from the hands of its originator, a Waco woman, who years ago sold it from house to house…” In 1925, Behrens Drug Company employed 68 people, and supplied goods across the state. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, Behrens expanded to include locations in both Lubbock and Tyler, Texas. The Clifton family continued the presidency of this company with Albert C. Clifton, and the company’s last president, William Lacy Clifton serving until the Behrens company was bought out by Cardinal Health in 1994. 


The “Then in circa 1920” picture in the image sequence below shows: the Behrens Drug Company building, located at 219 South Fourth Street, Waco, Texas. Photographer, Fred Gildersleeve, General Photo File, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. Same view of building but now Behrens Lofts in 2020 by GH.


Behrens Drug Company building, circa 1920, Photographer, Whayne Farmer, Waco Chamber of Commerce News, July-September 1926, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

 

The Behrens Drug Company at previous location from 1896-1914, at Third and Mary Streets, Waco. General Photo File, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Works Sourced:

“Behrens Drug Company Rounds Out 40 Years of Service in Waco,” The Waco-News Tribune, April 19, 1925.

“Waco Has It,” The Waco-News Tribune, April 30, 1922.

Waco Chamber of Commerce News, July-September 1926, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

TEXAS OVER TIME: The Texas Telephone Company Exchange Building, 119 North 9th Street, 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.


Located on 119 North 9th Street, Waco, Texas, is the old Texas Telephone Company Exchange Building. It was completed in 1916, and was headquarters for the Texas Telephone Company through 1927. The company was incorporated on September 24, 1914, and its president was J.B. Earle. It was an independent, Waco based entity that began after merging with five smaller telephone systems located across Central (Lorena, Mart, McGregor, Moody, Waco, and West), South, and East Texas. Some of the companies the T.T.C. merged with include the Brazos Valley Telegraph and Telephone Co., and the South Texas Telephone Company. The 1914 merger proved to be very successful, and resulted in the Texas Telephone Company serving 34 towns in Texas, spreading north to the Oklahoma border, and south to the Gulf. According to the Waco Chamber of Commerce News, January 1920, the Texas Telephone Company “has an investment of 5 million dollars ($64.9 million in 2020) in telephone properties in Waco and a number of other cities and towns in Central Texas, is managed by Waco men; and many of its stockholders and bondholders are citizens of Waco and Central Texas, and it occupies, as its general offices in Waco, one of the most modern telephone exchange buildings of the size in the country.”

The construction of Waco’s Texas Telephone Company Exchange Building at North 9th Street grew out of a 1916 merger when this company bought out the Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone Company of Waco. This consolidated Waco’s two telephone systems and more space was needed for them to operate. In regards to the recent construction of the building, the Waco Chamber of Commerce News, January 1920, reported: “The company at that time erected a very complete and modern telephone building, installing new equipment throughout, and practically rebuilding the entire plant [telephone system] in this city.” Further, by 1920, the Texas Telephone Company employed approximately 700 people, including those in Waco, and beyond. However, even with such a successful start, the local company would soon merge with an even bigger telephone entity. The Waco-based Texas Telephone Company was bought out on December 31, 1927, by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. The North 9th Street building was then used by Bell until a larger one was constructed in 1948, and located next door on 824 Washington Avenue. Today, the old T.T.C. building and the Southwestern Bell building are both used by the McLennan County Archives for their operations and records storage.


The “Then in 1916” picture in the image sequence below shows: the Texas Telephone Company Exchange Building, located at 119 North 9th Street, Waco, Texas. Photographer, unknown, Waco Chamber of Commerce News, January 1920, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. Same view in 2020 by GH.


The “Then in 1916” picture in the image sequence below shows: the Texas Telephone Company Exchange Building, located at 119 North 9th Street, Waco, Texas. Photographer, E.C. Blomeyer, E.C. Blomeyer Photographic collection #3886, tx-phoarch-blomeyer_3886-wctsa-758.2.tif, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. Same view in 2020 by GH.


The “Then in 1916” picture in the image sequence below shows: Moving into The Texas Telephone Company headquarters, located at 119 North 9th Street, Waco, Texas. Photographer, E.C. Blomeyer, E.C. Blomeyer Photographic collection #3886, tx-phoarch-blomeyer_3886-wctsa-497.2.tif, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. Same view in 2020 by GH.


 

The Texas Telephone Company Building, located at 119 North 9th Street, Waco, Texas. This image was taken from the roof-top of the structure which had a rest area for employees. The Amicable (Alico) Building is seen in the distance. Photographer, E.C. Blomeyer, E.C. Blomeyer Photographic collection #3886, tx-phoarch-blomeyer_3886-wctsa-785.1.tif, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

 

The Texas Telephone Company Building, located at 119 North 9th Street, Waco, Texas. This image was taken from the roof-top of the structure which had a rest area for employees. Photographer, E.C. Blomeyer, E.C. Blomeyer Photographic collection #3886, tx-phoarch-blomeyer_3886-wctsa-796.1.tif, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

 

From humble beginnings: The Texas Telephone Company merged with the Brazos Valley Telephone and Telegraph Company in the 1910s. Shown is one of their buildings in nearby Oglesby, Texas. This picture is dated August 8, 1917. Photographer, E.C. Blomeyer, E.C. Blomeyer Photographic collection #3886, tx-phoarch-blomeyer_3886-wctsa-756.2.tif., The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

 

Works Sourced:

E.C. Blomeyer Photographic collection #3886, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

“Texas Telephone Co., Waco, Texas.” “Standard Corporation Service, Daily Revised” (May 1-December 31, 1914): 260. Accessed September 28, 2020.

“Waco Chamber of Commerce News.,” January 1920, Volume 1 Number 9, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

United States Department of the Interior National Park Service. National Register of Historic Places RegistrationWaco Downtown Historic District. Available at: https://www.thc.texas.gov/public/upload/preserve/survey/highway/Waco%20Downtown%20Historic%20District%20Waco.pdf

 

TEXAS OVER TIME: Waco, TX., the Home of Dr Pepper and the old Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Co. (Dr Pepper Museum)

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.


                 From the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company to the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute, Waco, TX

Dr Pepper, America’s oldest major soft drink, has its origins in Waco, Texas. It all started in 1885 when pharmacist Charles Alderton discovered what would become the famous brand at the Old Corner Drug Store, once part of the McClelland Hotel, located on 321 Austin Avenue. To help interpret the story of this famous beverage, Waco is very fortunate to have the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute. It is housed in what was originally the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company. This old bottling plant was the first facility to produce the soft drink when soda fountain production of Dr Pepper wasn’t sufficient enough to keep up with demand. The structure, located on the corner of Fifth and Mary Streets, Waco, Texas, was built in 1906 and designed by architect Milton Scott. Its brick walls measure 18-inches in thickness and are supported by a solid timber foundation. On May 11, 1953, this was tested when an F5 tornado gashed through the side of the main structure causing considerable damage (see our earlier Texas Over Time post highlighting this). After operations moved to bigger spaces and corporate functions moved to Dallas, the old building sat unused for many years until May 11, 1991, when it officially became the wonderful museum complex it is today. It has since taught countless individuals the story of Dr Pepper, the soft drink industry, and the concepts of business and free-enterprise. The following photographs attempt to tell some of this amazing story by taking us back in time over 100 years and up to the rich legacy Waco’s very own soft drink brand has left us with today.

 

The “Then” picture in the image sequence below shows: Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company, Fifth and Mary Streets, Waco, TX, circa 1912. The “Now” picture shows the building as the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute. “Then” picture is by Fred Gildersleeve and digitized from the original 8×10 glass plate negative. Gildersleeve-Conger collection, The Texas Collection, Baylor University. August 2020. “Now” image of same location by GH.

 


 

The main picture in the image sequence below shows: Waco, TX, circa 1912 – Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company and early delivery vehicles. The following images in the sequence are close-up’s/crops of the same picture. This area shows what is now part of the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute. This part of the structure faces the Kellum-Rotan Building, which is also part of the current museum complex. Fred Gildersleeve photograph digitized from the original 8×10 inch glass plate negative (hence the fine detail). Gildersleeve-Conger collection, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

 


 

Same view in August 2020, as above main image of the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute’s outdoor area. Photo by GH, August 2020.

 

 

A sign on the wall of the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute’s Kellum-Rotan Building, part of the complex. Notice how close Magnolia Market at the Silos is! Photo by GH, August 2020.

 

 

 

                                                                         

TEXAS OVER TIME: 600 Elm Street, Samuel H. Clinton Grocer and Hardware Building at 140 Years Old

 

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.


“Then:” The old Samuel H. Clinton Grocer and Hardware store building on 600-602 Elm Street, Waco, TX., unknown photographer, circa 1900. General Photo File-Businesses-S. H. Clinton; “Now:” recent photo of same structure by G.H., 2020. 


600 Elm Street, S.H. Clinton Grocer and Hardware Building

Sometimes an old structure doesn’t have to be designated as a state landmark or have to have been the site of a famous event to be considered “historic.” What does seem to help is when a structure survives intact and maintains most of its original design for well over a century. On 600 Elm Street, Waco, TX, one such example exists. The building on this site was built in 1880, and in the early 1900’s, was owned by Samuel H. Clinton. Clinton was a supplier of groceries, farm and feed implements, wagons, buggies, tents, harnesses, and cotton. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, the large structure served as a furniture store. Its sturdy two-story design allowed for multiple uses and this seems to be why it still stands after 140 years. Given the age, this makes it one of the city’s oldest surviving buildings built for commercial use. In fact, the Waco Suspension Bridge was just 10 years old when the old structure at 600 Elm was completed! Elm Street is in a direct path to Waco’s famous old bridge and it was the longest of its kind west of the Mississippi River back in 1870. Having a business in this location was desirable and a very wise investment at the time. Waco is fortunate to have such historic structures such as this one on 600 Elm Street, and this Texas Over Time hopes to take the reader back through the years to help demonstrate this.

“Then:” 600-602 and adjoining structures on Elm Street during a flood, unknown photographer, circa 1900. General Scrapbook collection, Box 3; “Now:” recent photo of same location by G.H., 2020. 

 

Looking up Elm Street from the Brazos River side, 1979, by Myron Wood (cropped); the two-story 600-602 building has “Home Furniture” painted on its side. Next door to its right, the structure at 604-606, that’s seen in the above image as a saloon and Central Hardware, was still standing at this time but not in 2020; Sanger-Wood Photographic collection, Baylor University, The Texas Collection.
Looking up Elm Street from the Brazos River side (same view as above); 600-602 building is where the car is passing, 2020, by GH. Notice some buildings have been taken down since the above 1979 image was taken.

 

Texas Over Time: Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Co. to Magnolia Market at the Silos in 2020

 

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.


Magnolia Market at the Silos on Sixth Street and Webster, Waco, TX., Fred Gildersleeve image, 1920. General Photo Files-Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company; recent photo of same by G.H., 2020. Note: the Silos Baking Co. building on the corner is one of the original structures.  


BRAZOS VALLEY COTTON OIL CO. TO MAGNOLIA MARKET AT THE SILOS IN 2020

Cotton was once Waco’s biggest industry. The rich soil in and around McLennan County, with its Blackland Prairie’s, facilitates the growth of this once abundant local crop. The city had multiple cotton mills, yards, and a railroad system to transport the crop across the country. Cotton by-products such as oil from the seeds were also manufactured in the city. Cottonseed oil is used in industrial and culinary applications (cooking oils) and was in very high demand in the first half of the 20th century. In 1910, to help meet this demand, Waco businessman J.T. Davis started the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company–now the present day site Magnolia Market at the Silos.

Vast storage and processing facilities were needed for production and the company occupied the entire block within Webster, Jackson, Sixth, and Seventh streets in Waco. At times, it employed up to 75 workers. In 1949-1950, after several devastating fires and storage mishaps in their buildings, the company built two large 120-foot-tall storage silos. Although ownership changed, B.V.C.O.C. remained in operation into the mid-1960’s. After this time, the facility was used for storage by JPM Feeds. However, It remained unoccupied for years and saw little use until the property was purchased by Waco’s Chip and Joanna Gaines in 2014. It soon became one of Texas’ biggest tourist attractions and Magnolia Market at the Silos still attract thousands of visitors to this site. Through The Texas Collection’s photographic archive, see how this old Waco manufacturing facility evolved and has changed over time into 2020!

Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company throughout the decades and Magnolia Market at the Silos in 2020. “The company occupied the entire block within Webster, Jackson, Sixth, and Seventh streets in Waco, TX.” General Photo Files: Waco Aerials (cropped), Google Earth 2020. 


Works Sourced:

“Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Firm Sold,” The Waco Tribune-Herald, July 13, 1958.

Burke, Anabel. “Magnolia Market at the Silos”Waco History. Retrieved 2020-06-11.

“Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Mill | Waco History”Waco History. Retrieved 2020-06-11.