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: Waco’s Elite Café-the 1952 Renovation and Magnolia Table, Today

 

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 Elite Café-the 1952 Renovation and Magnolia Table, Today

In about 1920, Waco’s Elite Café began under the operation of brothers Vic, George, and Mike Colias. They were so successful at this original location at 608 Austin Avenue that they decided to open another in 1941, at Waco’s Traffic Circle. This second location proved profitable and led to more “expansion and modernization” making for some significant updates in the year 1952, when the Elite’s first major upgrades were made. To help publicize this, commercial photographer Fred Marlar was hired. The Texas Collection has his original 4×5-inch film negatives of this work and a look back to these pictures and a glimpse of present-day Magnolia Table may help highlight some of these early changes made to this very popular restaurant on Waco’s Traffic Circle.

 

In 1952, the Elite on the Circle received refreshed exterior paint, a new building wing, and a “new glassed in vestibule…so that patrons can wait for their cars out of the weather.” Additionally, The kitchen received major upgrades as well leading Vic Colias to claim: “nothing was spared to make it the finest of its kind in the Southwest.” This included: “ceramic tile wainscoting that adds color and facilitates cleaning. The floor was rebuilt to permit daily steam hosing and scrubbing. The kitchen is arranged so that each bit of food travels in the orderly progression from the time it arrives at the back door to until it is served at the diner.”

 

The newly remodeled kitchen as photographed by Fred Marlar in 1952. Fred Marlar collection #2980, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

To add emphases to the 1952 expansion and modernization of the Elite, the Colias brothers reminded the public of some of their first business “firsts” and some some now must-have needs for central Texas. This included “mechanical refrigeration for perishable foods,” which they introduced in 1921. Additionally, they claimed among the first “refrigerated air-conditioning in 1935,” in their Waco, Austin Avenue restaurant. Once these environmental comforts were firmly in place in the Colias brothers’ restaurants, more attention could be given to style and decor. In 1952, updates to the 11 year-old Elite on the Circle included new booths that were a “neutral shade of plastic which blends with the color scheme.” Further, a new wing was added to the building and was referred to as the “banquet room.” It was advertised as having “wall-to-wall carpeting in a subdued shade of green,” and “gleaming white tablecloths on the new tables that contrast with the rich grey tones of the walls.” This lead the Colias brother’s to state: “the appearance of this dining area exemplifies the name Elite.”

The “all-new and comfortable booths” as photographed by Fred Marlar in 1952. Fred Marlar collection #2980, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
The newly constructed “banquet room” as photographed by Fred Marlar in 1952. Fred Marlar collection #2980, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
A look inside the Elite’s freezer as photographed by Fred Marlar in 1952. Fred Marlar collection #2980, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Check out this Flickr Set for more pictures of Waco’s Elite Café on the Traffic Circle

Works cited:

“Waco’s Restaurant Elite.” The Waco News-Tribune. May 23, 1952.

 

 

 

Texas Over Time: Paul Quinn College-Waco Campus

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.

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator


Paul Quinn College-Former Waco Campus

The Rapaport Academy Public School and Doris Miller YMCA locations at 1020 Elm Avenue, Waco, TX., are housed on grounds and buildings that were once home to Paul Quinn College. This African American institution was originally started in Austin, TX., in 1872, as the Connectional High School and Institute for Negro Youth. When the school moved to Waco in 1877 on 8th and Mary Streets, it was known as Waco College and taught trades such as blacksmithing, carpentry, and tanning to newly freed slaves. It became Paul Quinn College in 1881 named after Bishop William Paul Quinn, the fourth Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. It was then relocated to Elm Avenue in east Waco on 20 acres of land that was once part of the Garrison Plantation. By 1979, the operating budget of the college was 2.5 million dollars and operated on funding by the A.M.E. Church, United Negro College Fund, federal funding, and private donations. In 1990, Paul Quinn College moved to Dallas, TX., where it is still in operation. The institution is the oldest liberal arts college for African Americans in the state of Texas. While the previously mentioned institutions house many of the former Quinn campus buildings, William Decker Johnson Hall (below) has remained vacant since the college’s move to Dallas.Continue Reading

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.Continue Reading

Research Ready: January 2019

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!Continue Reading

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Ready: July 2018

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!Continue Reading

Texas over Time: Camp MacArthur

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.

• Named after Lt. Gen. Arthur MacArthur, the camp was opened July 18th, 1917, to train men demobilized from service on the Mexican border at the end of World War I. It was in service for less than three years when it was abandoned on May 15, 1919.
• As well as a demobilization facility, Camp MacArthur served as an officer’s training school and an infantry replacement training camp.
• Located in northwest Waco, local businessmen helped to create a 10,700-acre complex from cotton fields and blackland farms.
• The estimated cost was five million dollars and included a base hospital, administration offices, tent housing for troops, and other military personnel buildings.
• The first commander was Major General James Parker who formed the 32nd U.S. Infantry Division later known as “Les Terribles” for their “successful, tenacious attacks” on enemy troops in Langres, France.
• The camp’s capacity could occupy over 45,000 troops but never exceeded 28,000 troops at a time.
• After the establishment of Camp MacArthur, the large influx of soldiers helped stimulate Waco’s economy until the Great Depression. The military presence also heavily influenced Waco’s Cotton Palace Exposition with an exhibit of a “bullet-ridden German biplane.”

Works Cited
• Kelley, Dayton. “Camp MacArthur.” The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas. Waco, TX: Texian, 1972. 47. Print.
• Amanda Sawyer, “Camp MacArthur,” Waco History, accessed July 6, 2016, http://wacohistory.org/items/show/48.
• Stanton, John. “Camp MacArthur.” FortWiki. MediaWiki, 7 Feb. 2015. Web. 07 July 2016.
• Handbook of Texas Online, Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, “Camp MacArthur,” accessed July 07, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qcc27.

See the still images in our Flickr set.

Research Ready: December 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!

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

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Nan Allene Anderson’s photo album depicts life as a Baylor student pre-1910, such as this image of students working in the chemistry lab. (Nan Allene Anderson papers, 1906-1923, undated, Accession #2267, The Texas Collection, Baylor University).
  • Nan Allene Anderson papers, 1906-1923, undated (#2267): This collection includes a photo album that documents the Baylor University campus pre-1910, including photographs of sports, Burleson Quadrangle, and other images of campus and student life. Also included are two commencement addresses.
  • Emmanuel Henderson Civil War diary, 1862 (#3964): This collections contains documentation of a Confederate soldier through a small leather bound journal. Henderson served as a private in the 14th Texas Calvary in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
  • Helton family papers, 1866-1998 (#4004): The Helton family collection contains correspondence, items from World War I, and other materials about the family as they lived near Clifton, Texas and as various family members went off to war.
  • Thomas Mitchell Bartley Jr. photo album, circa 1920s (#3914): This photo album shows the voyage of Thomas Mitchell Bartley Jr., who sailed the western Pacific Ocean in 1929. He was a crew member on a cargo vessel and took pictures in the Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Hawaii, and the Panama Canal.
  • J.L. Walker papers, 1861-1949 (#4): The J.L. Walker papers provide a glimpse into the life of a Texas Baptist preacher, who was deeply interested in religious and secular history. Walker wrote extensively and the collection contains many of his writings on Texas history, Baptist history, and sermons. The collection is especially useful for researchers looking for background information on R.C. Buckner and the Waco Regional Baptist Association.
  • Emma Louise McDonald Harrison papers, 1947-1990 (#1607): Emma Louise McDonald Harrison was a local Waco woman and the first African American woman to serve on the Waco Independent School District. She was well-known in the community for her contributions to organizations concerned with civic improvement, education, health, medicine, and youth. Her collection includes photographs, clippings, correspondence, and other collected materials.
  • Lawrence Westbrook papers, 1933-1971 (#331): The Lawrence Westbrook papers provide a picture of life as a Works Progress and New Deal administrator during the 1930s and 1940s. His papers hold literary productions, most notably Westbrook’s The Boondogglers, which reflects on his work and the work of other members of the Works Progress Administration.

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

westAyer, I. Winslow. Life in the Wilds of America: and Wonders of the West in and beyond the Bounds of Civilization. Grand Rapids: The Central Publishing Company, 1880. Print.

In 1880, the American West was still a largely mysterious place. Ayer believed that Americans, many of whom travel abroad and have extensive knowledge of other countries, should have knowledge about the West. This volume, which also serves as a travel guide, describes many areas of the frontier. Click here to view in BearCat!

 

 

 

Jackson, foundationAndrew Webster. A Sure Foundation. Houston: [1940]. Print.

This expansive 644-page volume contains biographical sketches and photos of African-American Texans. The author’s intent was that the people highlighted would “serve as an inspiration” for readers because he believed that studying the successful lives of others could help build a solid foundation for one’s life. Click here to view in BearCat!

nativeDunn, James Erle. Indian Territory: a Pre Commonwealth. Commonwealth Publishing Company, 1904. Print.

Published three years before Oklahoma became a state, this volume provides a brief history of the Five Civilized Tribes and also provides information about the resources, government, schools, customs, etc. of the Indian Territory. Also included are a number of images of Native Americans, including Quanah Parker, as well as photos of buildings, homes, and farm lands. Click here to view in BearCat!

Research Ready: September 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 material acquisitions. These resources are primed for research and are just a sampling of the many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!

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

Brazos Queen in front of The Brazos Landing Restaurant, Waco, TX
The Brazos Queen is seen parking in front of The Brazos Landing Restaurant on the Brazos River, Waco, Texas. While the Brazos Queen is no longer in service, this establishment is now Buzzard Billy’s. Myron Wood’s photography is very artistic and the contrast in this image makes it quite striking. Myron Wood photographic collection, #3873, Box 1, Folder 13.

  • Myron Wood photographic collection, 1979-1981 (#3873): Have you ever wondered what Waco looked like decades prior? The Myron Wood photographic collections contains photographs of Waco, mainly downtown, and smaller towns in and around McLennan County.
  • Jewish Federation of Waco and Central Texas, 1927-2006 (#2894): The Jewish Federation of Waco and Central Texas collection documents this organization’s extensive good works, including assistance to Jewish families immigrating to Central Texas, support to the Lone Soldier Center in Jerusalem, emergency relief in Ukraine, and assistance to Israeli soldiers. Materials include minutes, financial ledgers, and administrative files.
  • Esther and Martha Leuschner papers, 1912-1987 (#2593): Documents the lives of two sisters: one a mathematics teacher at Waco High School, and the other sister, an employee in Baylor’s registrar’s office.  The correspondence, photographs, clippings, and collected materials provide insight into the lives of the Leuschner sisters, who were well-remembered for opening their home to Baylor students for recreation and entertainment.
  • Nina B. Glass papers, 1935-1965 (#1322): Materials include correspondence, programs, and notes about the personal and educational activities of a female pioneer in Texas education. Glass is credited with the founding of the first elementary school library in the United States.

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

  Weslaco: End of the Rainbow. Weslaco: Weslaco Chamber of Commerce, 1927. Print.

Weslaco: End of the Rainbow. Weslaco: Weslaco Chamber of Commerce, 1927. Print

This beautiful promotional highlights Weslaco, located in the Rio Grande Valley. Filled with photographs showing the richness of agriculture, from citrus fruits to cabbage, Weslaco: End of the Rainbow, also provides information about the dairy industry, water, and sporting opportunities. Click here to view in BearCat!

 

Montgomery, Cora. TexasMontgomery, Cora. Texas and Her Presidents. New York: E. Winchester, New World Press, 1845. Print. and Her Presidents. New York: E. Winchester, New World Press, 1845. Print.

Located at only eight libraries in the world, this exceedingly rare 1845 volume highlights President Mirabeau B. Lamar and President Sam Houston. Also included is an extensive account of several other leaders of the Republic of Texas. Click here to view in BearCat!
Wyatt, Kenneth. The Texicans. Amarillo: Trafton & Autry Printers, 1988. Print.
Wyatt, Kenneth. The Texicans. Amarillo: Trafton & Autry Printers, 1988. Print.

Bound in steerhide and leather, this oversized volume, containing 50 color plates, features Texas-centric artwork by renowned artist Kenneth Wyatt. Click here to view in BearCat!