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.

Commemerating the Invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1944, USAAF Capt. Walter Davis Gernand, BU Class of 1940

 

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

A graduation picture of Walter Gernand, taken in about 1940.
A graduation picture of Walter Gernand, taken in about 1940. Gernand, (Walter, General Photo Files #3976, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.) 
Walter Gernand is receiving his USAAF, Air Medal, in this image
Walter Gernand is receiving his USAAF, Air Medal, in this image. He was also awarded the prestigious Purple Heart. (Frank Jasek Papers.)

Seventy-six years after the Invasion of Normandy (D-Day), on June 6, 1944, we wish to pay tribute to a young Texan and Baylor graduate (class of 1940), Walter Davis Gernand, who died on a return trip after participating in this historic mission during World War II. Gernand, a former Baylor Bear football player, was from Beaumont, and signed up for service in the U.S. Army Air Forces on May 1, 1941. He received his pilot’s wing’s on December 12, 1941. Soon after, he was flying P-38 Lightnings in the 50th Fighter Squadron. In February of 1944, he transferred to the 8th Reconnaissance Photo Squadron, part of the USAAF’s 325th Photographic Wing.

Gernand had logged many flight-hours by this time, and his skills were much needed in the U.S. and Allies’ fight against Hitler’s Third Reich. His squadron’s intelligence work, as well as that of other similar units, helped with military operations including the U.S. Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. On June 8, 1944, returning from this D-Day mission, Gernand’s photo-reconnaissance aircraft crashed in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire in the south of England. It is believed that mechanical failure caused the mishap. Eyewitnesses stated that he initially tried to land the crippled aircraft in a field with a park nearby but quickly avoided this area after seeing children at play below. His quick decision saved countless lives but proved fatal for Gernand and his crew member as the aircraft slammed into a railroad embankment and exploded on impact, killing him and his USAAF photographer, Sgt. Elbert Lynch.

In doing so, Gernand not only died for his country and cause but also sacrificed his life in trying to avoid these children in the English countryside, the same ones he was fighting for across the English Channel. Gernand and Lynch’s destination was the USAAF’s home at Royal Air Force Watton, in Norfolk, England. Their remains were later interred at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Cambridgeshire, England.

In 1972, the Chiltern Historical Aircraft Preservation Group received news of the crash site in nearby High Wycombe, England. The railroad embankment crash-site was excavated and  unearthed one of the two engines, a propeller fragment, and Gernand’s gold Baylor University ’40, class ring (below). The Preservation Group contacted the University and the ring was presented to Walter Gernand’s mother, Mrs. C.A. Gernand of Beaumont, TX. Mrs. Gernand later returned the ring to Baylor where it was kept on display in the Letterman’s Lounge at Baylor Stadium, in memory of the fallen warrior and former Baylor Bear.

Phot0 of Walter Davis Gernand's Baylor University '40 class ring, found at the crash-site of his de Havilland Mosquito aircraft, where the young pilot and Baylor Alumnus lost his life in 1944.
Walter Davis Gernand’s Baylor University ’40 class ring, found at the crash-site of his de Havilland Mosquito aircraft, where the young pilot and Baylor Alumnus lost his life in 1944. (Gernand, Walter, General Photo Files #3976, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.) 

Works Sourced:

Frank Jasek Papers, Accession #3932, Box #6, Folder #8, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Texas Over Time: Miller Cotton Mills (L.L. Sams Building) at 100 Years, 1920-2020, Waco, Texas

 

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.Continue Reading

Texas Over Time: St. Francis on the Brazos Catholic Church, Waco, Texas

 

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.

Continue Reading

Texas Over Time: The Waco Suspension Bridge at 150 Years, 1870-2020, Waco, Texas.

 

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.Continue Reading

Texas Over Time: The McLennan County Courthouse, Waco, Texas.

 

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” 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.Continue Reading

Texas Over Time: The Hammond Laundry Cleaning Machinery and Supply Company of Waco, Texas

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” 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.Continue Reading

Texas Over Time: Rockets with Roots in McGregor, Texas

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” 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.Continue Reading

Texas Over Time: Waco’s Provident Building-Once the Biggest Office Building in Central Texas and Beyond

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” 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.Continue Reading