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.

Historic Preservation at The Texas Collection

May is Historic Preservation Month. To learn more about the history of National Historic Preservation Month check out this National Park Service web page: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/historicpreservation/national-historic-preservation-act.htm.

When people think of historic preservation, the first thought is generally of large, grandiose buildings in need of repair. Historic preservation encompasses not only architecture, but culture, religion, archaeology, place, people, and other related topics. It can be achieved through a variety of methods such as repairing historic buildings, reenactments, historic dance and music, and digitizing fragile and/or popular material that cannot withstand excessive handling.

The Texas Collection provides historic preservation through archival and print materials. In doing so, access and education are provided to a larger audience, two of the primary purposes for this type of work. Read on as our staff shares projects they have worked with and tips to keep in mind for your own preservation needs.

Paul Fisher, Assistant Director and Processing Archivist:

Many Texans and Texas groups have supported historic preservation through the years. Several of our collections document these activities, such as the Adina E. De Zavala papers. De Zavala was a noted historic preservation figure in San Antonio in the early 1900s.

Baylor University was founded in Independence, Texas. Texas Collection staff works with various partners in Independence to operate two historic sites as well as a visitor center. Visitors learn about early Texas history, historic preservation efforts, and the history of higher education in Texas.

Sylvia Hernandez, Archivist

The Ima Joy Chodorow Gandler Texas Jewish collection is one of twenty-four collections at The Texas Collection documenting the Jewish Community in Waco. Even with all the information provided, there are still gaps, mainly with the photographs.

*Pro Tip* Label photographs with names, dates, and events depicted.

Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator:

Image of Gildersleeve glass negative with ruined emulsionIn the early 1970s, Roger N. Conger donated Fred Gildersleeve’s film archive to The Texas Collection which included approximately 1,100 glass, 8×10 negatives. They had been stored in a backyard shed for decades and were damaged by the extreme heat of Texas summers. Since then, we have carefully gone through each one of Gildersleeve’s negatives, placed them in acid-free, archival folders and boxes, and have stored them on heavy-duty shelving in a climate-controlled environment. This ensures proper long-term preservation so future generations can enjoy this rich collection as much as we do!

The glass negative in the picture demonstrates this damage where a portion of the silver-gelatin emulsion layer heated up and chemically bonded with another glass negative stacked above it. Despite this, the image is still a valuable part of the collection, as much of the picture is still intact. (Waco Old Corner Drug Store, c. 1911. Gildersleeve-Conger collection, The Texas Collection, Baylor University).

Amie Oliver, Associate Director and Librarian/Curator of Print Materials

Do not use nails to bind a book. Several years ago, we had an annual that we could not open because the binding was too tight. We sent it to the campus preservation specialist who discovered nails, which had rusted, had been used to rebind the item. He carefully removed the nails, and because the spine was destroyed, created an acid-free phase box to house the annual.

*Pro Tip* Protect materials (books, photos, documents, etc.) by keeping them cool, dark, and dry. Sunlight can irreversibly fade items and heat can cause them to degrade quickly while moisture invites mold.

Brian Simmons, Coordinator for User and Access Services:

A common preservation issue that occurs is the use of adhesive tape to repair damaged books or documents. Often, I have come across items that have been repaired with cellophane tape decades ago. The repaired area is usually discolored and the piece of tape itself has fallen off. While tape might fix the problem in the short term, over time the adhesive can cause permanent damage.

*Pro Tip* Storing damaged items in an acid free box or folder is recommended. An acid free container will keep all parts of cherished heirlooms together without incurring further damage.

Benna Vaughan, Manuscripts Archivist:

The Texas Collection is home to the Marvin Griffin materials, a prominent African American pastor and activist. The collection contains an extensive amount of audio-visual materials: three compact discs, seven video tapes, 48 reel-to-reel tapes, and approximately 1,571 audio cassettes. In order to preserve these materials to provide access in a digital format, The Texas Collection is working with Digitization and Digital Preservation.

 

Research Ready: April 2020

April Finding Aids

By Sylvia Hernandez, Archivist

Every month The Texas Collection posts recently published finding aids for you to use. If you have any questions or would like to use these materials, please let us know and we would be happy to assist!

Edmond Hardy Jones II and Susan Jane Willis Jones papers (#3720) consist primarily of letters from Edmond to Susan while he served in the 64th Georgia Infantry regiment in Florida, Georgia, and Virginia during the American Civil War.

William H. Pierce papers (#537) are comprised of one letter written in 1862 and describes Pierce’s experience as a Confederate soldier in a training camp near San Antonio.

John Merriman McGhee papers (#374) contain four handwritten and typed transcripts of letters he wrote home as part of the 16th Alabama Infantry during the American Civil War.

Museum Association of Waco records (#586) contains correspondence, financial and legal documents, minutes, and event information generated by the association, as it supports member organizations through marketing, educating, and financing initiatives.

Research Ready: March 2020

March’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Assistant Director and Processing Archivist

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

Research Ready: October 2019

September’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Assistant Director and Processing Archivist

Mary McCaulay Maxwell's Rooom at Baylor, 1908
Mary McCaulay Maxwell was a student at Baylor University in 1908. In her scrapbook, preserved at The Texas Collection, she saved photographs, notes, clippings, and more about her time at Baylor. Pictured here is her room, probably in Georgia Burleson Hall. You’ll find this item in the Mary McCauley Maxwell papers, Accession #2080, box 1, folder 1, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Mary McCaulay Maxwell and Friends, 1908
Mary McCaulay Maxwell and several of her Baylor friends lost no time in exploring their new hometown of Waco, Texas, while in college. Here they look to be exploring a windmill near Waco. You’ll find this item in the Mary McCauley Maxwell papers, Accession #2080, box 1, folder 1, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

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