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: 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

Texas Over Time: “The Roosevelt Tower, 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.

Continue Reading

Texas over Time: Texarkana, Texas

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.

Texarkana, Texas

•At the junction of Interstate 30 and U.S. highways 59, 67, 71 and 82 lies the town of Texarkana, Texas.

•The name Texarkana is coined for its location on the Texas

•Arkansas border and proximity to Louisiana.

•There is no certainty where the exact name came from but there were a few theories told over time:

The name’s origin belongs to a steamboat that voyaged the Red River in the late 1800s.

That a man named Swindle in Red Land, Bossier Parish, Louisiana who manufactured a drink called “Texarkana Bitters”
inspired the town’s name.

Or that Col. Gus Knobel, an Iron Mountain surveyor, coined the name while building the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and
Southern Railroad.

•The site that Texarkana lies on is the same site the Caddo Indian village was located. The Great Southwest Trail passed by this village for hundreds of years to the Mississippi River country and back.

•The city’s history and beginning development thrived because of its position on the Texas Arkansas border.

•Plots of land were first sold on Dec. 8, 1873 by the builders of the Texas and Pacific Railroad. The first plot was bought by J.W. Davis.

•State line Avenue separates the north and southbound lanes of this arterial road with the Texas side to the west and Arkansas’ side to the east.

•Bowie County, Texas remains a dry county resulting in several liquor stores lining the Arkansas side of midtown State Line Avenue.

•The city is considered one entity but has two municipalities, including two mayors and two sets of councilmen and city officials.

•There are agreements for joint fire departments, respective state inspections and recreational programs.

•In an eerie light, Texarkana is home to the unsolved

Texarkana Moonlight Murders of spring 1946. The town was sent into a state of panic that summer because of the still unidentified “Phantom Slayer.” The Texas Rangers kept watch over the inhabitants of Texarkana until they quietly and slowly left as so did the Phantom.

Works Cited

Handbook of Texas Online, “Texarkana, TX,” accessed July 18, 2016,

http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hdt02.

Newton, Michael. The Texarkana Moonlight Murders: The Unsolved Case of the 1946 Phantom Killer. Jefferson: McFarland &, 2013. Print.

See the still images in our Flickr set.

Text and GIF by Haley Rodriguez

Research Ready: December 2015

By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials, and Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

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

Here are December’s finding aids:

Dr. E.S. James and Dr. James E. Wood Jr., 1968
E.S. James, noted editor of the Baptist Standard for twelve years, presents his personal papers to James E. Wood Jr., director at the time of what is now Baylor University’s J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies. Dr. Wood was also a noted Baptist leader, who led the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs for eight years. The Texas Collection recently acquired these papers of Dr. James mentioned in this photograph. James E. Wood Jr. papers 3969, Box 5, Folder 10.
C.O. Leuschner Cotton Crop Ledger
Charles Otto Leuschner is one of two probable men for which the town of Otto, Texas, was named. His business affairs included cotton, oil, cattle and real estate in Central Texas. This ledger shows the details of his cotton crop and sales. Leuschner Family papers, Accession 3361, Box 1, Folder 12, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Here are December’s featured print materials:

San Leon: Destined to Become the Greatest Resort City in America. Houston: Western Land Corp., 1910. Print.
San Leon: Destined to Become the Greatest Resort City in America. Houston: Western Land Corp., 1910. Print. Located in Galveston County, San Leon is called the “bright spot of Texas” in this promotional volume. Highlighting San Leon’s prime location, public improvements, sporting, and environment, this rare volume, one of only two known in existence, entices people to come, build, and invest in this raw land that is prime for development.
Red Book of Dallas. Dallas: Holland Brothers Publishing, Co., 1895. Print
Red Book of Dallas. Dallas: Holland Brothers Publishing, Co., 1895. Print. Filled with the names and addresses of upper-class families, many specifying which day they receive visitors, this volume is the must-have social registry for 1895 Dallas. Also included is information on proper etiquette when calling on families, membership directories for exclusive clubs, a shopping directory, and ads for local businesses.

Red Book of Dallas. Dallas: Holland Brothers Publishing, Co., 1895. Print (2)
The first several pages from the Red Book of Dallas. The volume begins by describing how proper introductions should be done among the ladies and gentlemen of Dallas in 1895.
Monroe, James. Message from the President of the United States, Transmitting, in Pursuance of a Resolution of the House of Representatives, of the 20th Instant, Information, not heretofore Communicated, Relating to the Occupation of Amelia Island. March 26, 1818. Read, and Ordered to Lie upon the Table. Washington: E. de Krafft, 1818. Print.
Monroe, James. Message from the President of the United States…Relating to the Occupation of Amelia Island. March 26, 1818. Read, and Ordered to Lie upon the Table. Washington: E. de Krafft, 1818. Print. Listed in Thomas W. Streeter’s Bibliography of Texas, 1795-1845, this volume primarily concerns Florida’s Amelia Island. However, contained within is also information about Galveston, including a letter to the Minister Plenipotentiary of the Mexican Republic from Luis Aury concerning his plans to “abandon the establishment at Galveston” and a statement by Vincente Pazos declaring Galveston “the established port of the Mexican Republic.”

Research Ready: November 2015

By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials, and Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

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

Here are November’s finding aids:

Nazi Germany deportation letter, 1937
When Otto and Hilde left Germany in 1938, they brought a few pieces of Nazi German history with them, including this 1937 deportation letter from the Geheime Staatspolizei or Secret State Police of the Nazi German government. These were sent to German Jews and many of those who did not leave voluntarily eventually perished in concentration camps. Otto and Hilde Rosenfeld Levy papers 3251, Box 1, Folder 2.

Here are November’s featured print materials:

The Republic of Mexico in 1876 by Antonio García Cubas
García Cubas, Antonio. The Republic of Mexico in 1876. Mexico: La Enseñanza Print. Office, 1876. Print. Exploring social life, customs, habits, and vocations of 19th century Mexican people, The Republic of Mexico in 1876 contains a wealth of information. A unique aspect of this volume is the beautiful, full-color illustrations.

Illustrations from The Republic of Mexico in 1876 by Antonio García Cubas
A sampling of the beautiful, full-color illustrations from The Republic of Mexico in 1876.

 

Golden Jubilee Souvenir of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word
Golden Jubilee Souvenir of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, 1869-1919. San Antonio: The Congregation, 1919. Print. This volume explores the history of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, which originated in Lyons, France, in 1627, and was later in Galveston before coming to San Antonio in 1869. Produced to mark the 50 year anniversary of the congregation in San Antonio, this rare work, one of only two known copies in existence, contains many photographs of the far-reaching work of the Sisters of Charity.

West Texas Square Dances by Jimmy Clossin and Carl Hertzogare dance
Clossin, Jimmy and Carl Hertzog. West Texas Square Dances. El Paso: Carl Hertzog, 1948. Print. Filled with dance illustrations, West Texas Square Dances provides detailed descriptions for anyone wishing to learn a variety of square dance calls, including “Spinning Wheel,” “Texas Star,” and “Zig Zag Through and Around the Ring.” In the inscription, Carl Hertzog writes that only 50 copies were bound in cloth, making this edition rare.

Research Ready: September 2015

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here are September’s finding aids:

Cotton Palace Pageant dress design
Dr. James W. Swain designed numerous dresses for the Waco Cotton Palace Pageant between the 1970s and the 1990s. Each of the dresses made, such as the one featured here, were custom designed for each participant and took into account their height, weight, hair color, and complexion. Waco Cotton Palace Pageant, Incorporated records #2579, box 52, folder 4.

            • Diana R. Garland papers, 1911-2013, (#3955): These papers include personal records, letters, and curriculum from Garland’s positions at the Carver School of Church Social Work and the Baylor School of Social Work.
              • Luther-Dienst family papers, 1887-1931, (#3243): The collection includes personal and printed items sent primarily to Alex Dienst from John Hill Luther. A scrapbook from Annie Lou Pollard, a Baylor college student in 1925, is also included.
Diana Garland letter of support
Diana Garland received many letters of support like this one when news broke of the Carver School’s dissolution at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dr. Garland’s forced resignation. Diana R. Garland papers #3955, box 5, folder 4.

Research Ready: August 2015

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here are August’s finding aids:

Baylor Round Table Anniversary Dinner invitation
The Baylor Round Table celebrated its 40th birthday in 1944 with a dinner in Catherine Alexander Hall. The invitations of this era often were beautifully handmade, and the menus for the organization’s older events are a bit of a curiosity to us today. Highlights from the menu for this dinner included: half grapefruit, broiled chicken with gravy, baked potato, whole tomato salad, rolls, cake, ice cream, and coffee. BU records: Baylor Round Table #BU/39, box 16, folder 15.
    • Thomas E. Turner, Sr. papers 1814-2007, undated (#2200): These papers include information on issues, people, and events in Central Texas during the career of Thomas E. Turner, Sr. as a newspaperman for the Dallas Morning News, Central Texas Bureau, and as a Baylor administrator. Materials primarily cover current events from the 1940s-1980s.
    • William A. Mueller papers, 1871-1995, undated (#3959): Materials include the reading and lecture notes, sermons, and teaching materials from the long and productive career of a German-American Baptist seminary professor of theology, philosophy, church history, and German intellectual history.
Baylor Female College, Independence, Texas-October 1969 (1)
This photo, contained in the Baylor University General Photo collection, shows Tommy Turner standing between the remaining columns of the female dormitory at the site of Baylor University in Independence, Texas. You can find more photographs like this on Central Texas and Baylor University in the Thomas E. Turner, Sr. papers 1814-2007, undated (#2200).

Research Ready: June 2015

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here are June’s finding aids:

Harding Black photograph, circa 1990
This circa 1990 photograph of Harding Black features the noted ceramics expert in his San Antonio studio with one of his sculptural pieces. The photograph was taken by Baylor University Ceramicist-in-Residence, Professor Paul McCoy. Harding Black’s greatest contribution to the ceramics community was his glaze research, which included extensive work to recreate ancient Chinese glazes from the Song and Tang dynasties. Harding Black collection #3911, box 11, folder 7.

 

  • Harding Black collection, 1910-2014, (#3911): The Harding Black collection contains material on the life, legacy, and career of noted ceramic expert Harding Black. Harding Black’s greatest contribution to the ceramics community was his glaze research, which included extensive work to recreate ancient Chinese glazes from the Song and Tang dynasties.

You can view more of Harding Black’s ceramic art here or learn more about Harding Black here.