Texas Over Time: Waco’s Alico Building-Architecture and a Changing City

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

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

Waco’s Alico Building

The 22-story ALICO Building, also known as the American-Amicable Life Insurance Company Building, was completed in 1911, and designed by architects Roy E. Lane and Sanguinet & Staats. When completed, it was the tallest office building in the southwestern United States. Additionally, its location at 5th and Austin Avenue was once part of the city’s central business district and the building was a vital part of the city’s economy. It even survived a catastrophic and deadly F5 tornado in 1953.

To remain economically viable, it needed to keep pace with the rapidly changing business climate of Waco in the 1960s. For example, structures such as Lake Air Mall were being developed in West Waco and others around Valley Mills Drive. Consequently, the city’s landmark ALICO Building received major exterior updates. The lower street-level façade and the recently constructed Alico Center and parking garage were all given a mid-century inspired design element. In 1964, Waco’s then mayor, Roger Conger, compared the groundbreaking to these facilities and modifications to “the historic groundbreaking for the Amicable building more than fifty years ago [1909].”

The closing down of a section of Austin Avenue to create the Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall in the late 1960s also put the tall building and facilities at the front and center of one of the city’s many Urban Renewal Projects. However, this pedestrian mall project was short-lived and the street opened to traffic again in the mid-1980s. Adjoining structures with matching Alico Center façades were eventually pulled down. As a result, the building and its parking garage now stand as a lone reminder to this time when mid-century inspired architectural styling met a much older and traditionally designed skyscraper.

 

This Meta Slider shows the Alico Building in about 1926 and a recently taken image. Waco’s famous Old Corner Drug Store once occupied a portion of the building’s ground floor. The original design of the front and side facades are evident as well as the original design of the first few upper floors. Older image taken by Fred Gildersleeve (Waco Amicable Life Insurance Company records), The Texas Collection, Baylor University; and a recent picture by GH.

 

This Meta Slider shows a circa 1960 image by Windy Drum, (Waco Amicable Life Insurance Company records), The Texas Collection, Baylor University; and a recent picture taken by GH.

 

The structure’s upper floors remain virtually unchanged with the exception of the large red ALICO signs on both sides. On another side below the flag and above top windows, the letters A L I C O are placed. Recent photo taken by GH.

 

Texas Over Time: Waco Shakespeare Club Monument: “Immortal Be His Name”

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

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

Waco Shakespeare Club Monument, Waco, TX

Along University-Parks Drive near the entrance to Waco’s Cameron Park Zoo lies an easily overlooked memorial that pays tribute to William Shakespeare (1564-1616), perhaps one of the most well-known and acclaimed writers in the English language. How and why is it there? In 1916, on the three hundredth anniversary of his death, the Waco Shakespere Club had it constructed and designed by Paul G. Silber, Sr. According to the Waco Shakespeare Club record’s at The Texas Collection, Baylor University, the organization began in the late 1890s at the Waco home of Kate Harrison Friend and her mother, Arimenta Harrison Friend, “conducting a private school guaranteeing their pupils thoroughness for higher grades.” Here, Kate Friend “…organized a class in the study of Shakespere for the single young ladies of the elite of Waco. Here so much profit and enjoyment was experienced, that on request, a class for young matrons was formed.” Thus officially forming the club in 1899.

Kate Friend also had the distinction of being internationally known as a Shakespeare scholar and authored several works on the subject. In 1900, she won a Shakespeare Association of America competition receiving a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom, Shakespeare’s place of birth. Waco’s Shakespeare memorial still stands as a reminder of the Englishman and “Miss Kate,” founder and director of the Waco Shakespeare Club, editor of Artesia, and animal rights advocate who loved his literary works and helped leave this lasting tribute to the betterment of her community.

Below are photos of just after the site’s construction in 1916, by E.C. Blomeyer, from the E.C. Blomeyer photographic collection #3880, and in 2019, by GH:

 

The memorial reads: “Shakspere! [SIC] Daign to lend thy face this romantic nook to grace where untaught nature sports alone since thou and nature are but one…1899-1916.” One side reads: “Immortal Be His Name, Waco Shakespeare Club, 1899-1916.” Photo by GH, 2018.
Women of the Waco Shakespere Club pose near Cameron Park in the 1920s. Waco Shakespeare Club records #745, Box 5, Folder 2.

 

The Founder and director of the Waco Shakespeare Club, Kate Harrison Friend, circa 1900, Kate Harrison Friend papers #202, Box 2 Folder 9

 

Close-up of memorial inscription, 2018, photo by GH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas Over Time: McLendon Hardware and Higginbotham Hardware Company Building, Waco, Tx

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

Higginbotham Hardware/McLendon Hardware Building, Waco, TXContinue Reading

Texas Over Time: “The Raleigh Building, Waco, TX”

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

The Raleigh Building, Waco, TXContinue Reading

Texas over Time: Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute, Waco, TX

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

Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute, Waco, TX

*Dr Pepper, America’s oldest major soft drink brand, had its origins in Waco, Texas.

*The Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute is housed in what was originally the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company. It would later become the first facility to produce the soft drink.

*This structure, located on the corner of 5th and Mary Street, 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.


1951 and 2018 Photos by Fred Marlar and GH, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

*Throughout the 20th century the building’s location on Mary Street allowed Dr Pepper easy access to shipping on the route of the St. Louis Southwestern “Cotton Belt” Railroad.

*On May 11, 1953, the structure was damaged by a large tornado that destroyed a section of the city’s central business district and caused the deaths of 114 people. The side of the building still bears the repair work done to the massive brick walls.


May 1953 and 2018 Photos by Unknown (General Slide collection) and GH, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

*The building served as the Dr Pepper Bottling Company for many years. When operations ceased at that location they moved to west Waco. In the 1980s businessmen Wilton Lanning and W.W. Clements conceived the idea to make it a museum dedicated to the soft drink, its history, and the idea of the free enterprise system. The museum opened to the public on May 11, 1991, the 38th anniversary of the tornado.

*At the time of its opening, it was viewed as a catalyst to revive that part of the downtown area. Its continued growth and success have helped Waco to become one of the state’s top tourist destinations.

Works Cited:

Ellis, Harry E., Dr Pepper-King of Beverages. Dallas, TX: Dr Pepper Co. 1986. Print.

Text and Meta Sliders by GH

Texas over Time: Waco Mammoth National Monument, Waco, TX

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 Mammoth National Monument

*Two explorers, Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin, were searching for fossils along the Bosque River in the spring of 1978 when they accidentally discovered the large femur bone of a Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi).

*Barron and Bufkin took their discovery to Baylor University’s Strecker Museum, now the Mayborn Museum, where researchers identified the fossils and organized a search team.

*The Mammuthus columbi species lived over 65,000 years ago during the Ice Age and roamed anywhere from Southern Canada to Costa Rica.

*Between 1978 and 1990, the remains of 24 Columbian mammoths, a saber toothed cat, giant tortoise, Western camel and American alligator were all excavated.

*The group of fossils were categorized as a “nursery herd.”

*Jon Bongino, a Baylor graduate student in Geology first believed that all the animals found at the Waco Mammoth Site died in one single catastrophic event. After further investigation of the soil layers, it was determined that three events took place in a short period of time at the site.

*The animals’ involved were trapped in a steep-sided channel and drowned during a period of rapidly rising flood waters from the Bosque River.

*The excavation process was a tedious process, finished by utilizing trowels, brushes and bamboo scrapers.

*The Columbian mammoths weighed seven to eight tons, they were 12 to 14 feet tall and had tusks as long as 16 feet.

*On July 10, 2015, the site officially became the Waco Mammoth National Monument after the President signed an Executive Order to hand management over to the National Park Service.

See the still images in our Flickr set.

Works Cited:

Hetter, Katia. “Texas Mammoth Herd Site Is a New National Monument.” CNN. Cable News Network, 30 June. Web. 13 July 2016.

“History & Culture.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 13 July 2016.

Barrow, Jill, and Guy Gandy. Mammoths in Waco: Exploring the Mystery. Waco, TX: Mayborn Museum Complex, Baylor U, 2007. Print.

Text and GIF by Haley Rodriguez

Research Ready: November 2016

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

November’s finding aids
By Emily Carolin, Graduate Assistant, and Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

Clitus Jones, American Expeditionary Forces ambulance driver
Clitus Jones stands by his ambulance near the front lines in France. Jones worked as an ambulance driver for the American Expeditionary Forces from 1917 to 1918. (Clitus Jones papers, Box 3, Folder 1, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.)

  • Clitus Jones papers, 1914-1923 (#1879): The Clitus Jones papers  primarily consist of materials related to his experiences in World War I, as an ambulance driver for the American Expeditionary Forces in France. Through correspondence and personal photographs, Jones details his daily life on the front lines and the effects of the war on France and its citizens. If you are interested in learning more about Jones’ life on the front lines during World War I, come visit Moody Memorial Library on the Baylor University campus in mid-January 2017, where selections from Jones’ collection will be featured in an exhibit commemorating the centennial of the United States entering World War I.
  • [Waco] Amicable Life Insurance Company records, circa 1900s-1980s, undated (#3196): Includes photographs and clippings that chronicle the construction of this 22-story building, an icon of Waco since its construction.
  • Eli Clitus and Lilly Sutton Jones papers, 1879-1893 (#2846): The Eli Clitus and Lilly Sutton Jones papers detail the life of a McLennan County farming couple through correspondence, essays, reports, and a diary.
  • William “Bill”Cagle photograph collection, 1950s-1990s, undated (#3857): This collection gives a good look into a U.S. Air Force photographer’s work in the Korean War. The collection also contains images taken by Cagle of the aftermath of the tornado that struck Waco on May 11, 1953.
  • General Scrapbook collection, 1861-1960 (#3991): Contains a variety of scrapbooks with photos from the early 1900s at Baylor University, Civil War Carte de Visite albums, and general photo albums showing many Texas cities and towns and some non-Texas images.
  • [Waco] Daughters of the Republic of Texas: Sterling C. Robertson Chapter records, 1931-1981 (#1961): Documents the activities of the Daughters of the Revolution Sterling C. Robinson chapter records in Waco, Texas. It contains scrapbooks filled with clippings, photographs, and program booklets that detail the activities of the Robinson chapter.
  • George H. Williams papers, 1917-1993 (#3297): The George H. Williams collection contains newspaper and journal articles relating to aeronautics during World War I. Most significantly, however, the collection holds both ground-level and aerial photographs of Waco, Camp MacArthur, Love Field, Rich Field, and Baylor from 1917-1918.

November’s print materials
By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials

Though The Texas Collection is strong in Texas-related holdings, the print collection contains a great number of volumes about other states, particularly the American West. Many of these volumes came to us as part of the Adams-Blakley gift. Enjoy these selections from Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado.

Triggs, J. H. History and Directory of Laramie City, Wyoming Territory. Laramie City: Daily Sentinel Print, 1875. Print.

Triggs, J. H. History and Directory of Laramie City, Wyoming Territory. Laramie City: Daily Sentinel Print, 1875. Print. 

Researchers looking for the names, occupations, and addresses of those who lived in Laramie City in 1875 can find a wealth of information in this volume. Also contained are advertisements for local businesses and information about goods, services, and governance of this newly formed town. Click here to view in BearCat!


Savage, James W. History of the City of Omaha, Nebraska. New York: Munsell & Co., 1894. Print.

 

 

 

Savage, James W. History of the City of Omaha, Nebraska. New York: Munsell & Co., 1894. Print. 

This expansive, 700-page volume provides information about Omaha, Nebraska prior to 1894, and includes military history, medicine, hotels, pioneers, churches, etc. Beautiful engravings of the city’s prominent citizens and leaders are included. Click here to view in BearCat!

Watrous, Ansel. History of Larimer County, Colorado. Fort Collins, CO: Courier Print. & Pub. Co., 1911. Print.

 

 

 

 

Watrous, Ansel. History of Larimer County, Colorado. Fort Collins, CO: Courier Print. & Pub. Co., 1911. Print.

More than half of this volume contains biographical sketches of Larimer County pioneers. The rest is filled with historical, political, agricultural, religious information and more. Many photographs and engravings enhance this volume. Click here to view in BearCat!

 

Texas over Time: Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Mill, 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.

brazos gif

  • Alabama native J. T. Davis established the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Mill on January 29, 1910. The Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Mill purchased thousands of tons of cottonseed and then extracted oil for culinary and industrial purposes. After much success processing cottonseed, Davis acquired another location, the Valley Mills Cotton Oil Company, in 1924.
  • Before the Great Depression, Waco was a hub for growing and distributing cotton and its byproducts worldwide.
  • Even after a fire destroyed the hull house and the mixed feed plant in 1943, production remained steady, and construction of the two silos was completed by 1950.
  • After Central Texas flooding in 1957, the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company was unable to recover and had to sell the company to David C. Blintliff Interests of Houston.
  • Before Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines purchased the property in 2014, the plant was a storage facility for JPM Feeds and then remained vacant throughout the 1990s. It now is the site of Magnolia Market at the Silos, with some of the buildings featured in these photos re-purposed and revitalized.

Sources

Davison, Candace Braun. “Get A Sneak Peek at Chip and Joanna Gaines’ New Bakery.” Delish. Hearst Communications, Inc., 02 Mar. 2016. Web. 26 May 2016.

Amanda Sawyer, “Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Mill,” Waco History, accessed May 26, 2016, http://wacohistory.org/items/show/97.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant. See the still images in our Flickr set.

Texas over Time: Texas Centennial Exposition

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.

TXCentennial-night-views

  • The Texas Centennial Exposition was the official celebration of 100 years of independence for Texas and was quite the extravaganza. The exposition was described as a spectacle where industry met commerce and art met science.
  • There were celebrations all over Texas that begun in 1935, but the official exposition was held in Dallas, Texas, and opened on June 6, 1936.
  • Billed as the first world’s fair held in the Southwest, it commemorated Texas history with fifty buildings, exhibits such as “The Cavalcade of Texas,” and cost $25 million to build.
  • The colored searchlights seen throughout the postcards could be seen for more than fifty miles. The other light channels spread through the exposition illuminate the buildings and reflect on the water of the lagoons and fountains. The porticoes along the esplanade were given special light treatment to accentuate the magnificent murals.
  • Along with the exposition, monuments for more than twenty Texas heroes were erected, and historic buildings across Texas were restored.

Postcard descriptions:

  • C56 – Fountain and Statuary of the Reflection Basin, study in Art. The brilliant coloring with the Flare lighting making for some of the best studies for the Studies
  • C55 – Reflection Basin, Esplanade of State
  • C61 – Texas Hall of State, is typical of the Nation’s Largest Commonwealth. Built of native stone, the $1.2 million structure is 488 feet wide and 258 feet deep.
  • 1009 – United States Government Building, with “The Story of Life,” scientific exhibit, arranged by State and Federal Doctors and Scientists
  • C51 – Transportation Building

Sources

Night Scenes of Texas Centennial Exposition, n.d., The Texas Collection general postcard files, The Texas Collection, Carroll Library, Baylor University, Waco, TX..

Handbook of Texas Online, “Texas Centennial,” accessed April 21, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/lkt01.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant. See these and other Texas Centennial Exposition images in our Flickr set.

 

Texas over Time: Texas State Capitols

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.

TexasStateCapitol

  • Along with Washington-on-the-Brazos and Galveston, Harrisburg served as one of Texas’ temporary capitals. President David G. Burnet convened the provisional government at the John R. Harris home (image 1) in 1836.
  • Columbia was the first capital of an elected government of the Republic of Texas, but that lasted only from October-December 1836. The second capital of the Republic of Texas was in Houston, Texas (1837–1839, 1842). Sam Houston’s executive mansion and Harris County court house is pictured in image 2.
  • The modern-day Capitol in Austin, Texas, was constructed between 1882 and 1888 after there being a few prior buildings. A building commission was implemented, and Elijah E. Myers won the competition for the architecture design. Construction began in 1882, the corner stone was laid March 2, 1885 and it was ready for use in 1888. The building was built entirely of “sunset red” granite from quarries near Marble Falls, Texas.
  • At its initial construction, the capitol had 392 rooms, 924 windows and 404 doors. It is 311 feet tall, beating out the U.S. Capitol (288 feet), just by the height of the “Goddess of Liberty” statue that stands atop the dome.
  • The original zinc Goddess statue weighed almost 3,000 pounds. In 1986, it was taken down and replaced by a lighter aluminum version. The statue is now on display at the Bob Bullock State History Museum.

Image 1: John R. Harris home, Harrisburg, Texas (one of several Texas capitol locations in 1836)

Image 2: Sam Houston’s executive mansion in Houston, and the second capital of the Republic of Texas (1837-1839, 1842)

Image 3: First capitol in Austin (and the only capitol for the Republic of Texas and the State of Texas), 1839–1856

Image 4: Second capitol in Austin, built 1856, burned 1881

Image 5: Third capitol in Austin, completed 1888

Sources

Handbook of Texas Online, William Elton Green, “Capitol,” accessed April 21, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ccc01.

Handbook of Texas Online, John G. Johnson, “Capitals,” accessed May 12, 2016, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mzc01.

“The Goddess of Liberty.” SenateKids. Texas Senate Media Services, 1998. Web. 21 Apr. 2016.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant. See these Texas State Capitol images in our Flickr set.