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

anderson
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!

From Belgium to “Rough-and-Tumble Waco”: The Academy of the Sacred Heart and The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur

Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX, 1946
An exterior view of the Academy of the Sacred Heart at Washington and Eighth Streets in Waco, Texas. The buildings show the magnificent architecture worthy of such an institution. Photo by Fred Marlar on March 15, 1946.

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

On the corner of Eighth and Washington in Waco, Texas, once stood a Catholic school and convent that taught thousands of students during its years of operation from 1874-1946. This institution was the Academy of the Sacred Heart. It was given this name because the property it stood on was purchased June 12, 1874—the day of the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX, 1946, classroom (7)
Inside one of the classrooms of the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX. Photo taken by Fred Marlar on April 4, 1946.

The academy had its origins in Namur, Belgium, through the Institute of the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. The Cistercian Father Nicholas Joseph Minsart was one of the founders, and after his death, he elected Sister Claire (originally Rosalie Niset) to preside over the community in Belgium. In 1863, the now Mother Claire encouraged a group of Sisters of St. Mary of Namur to come to the United States to assist Catholic immigrant communities.

The Sisters of St. Mary set up their first house in Lockport, New York. Then, in 1873, at the request of Bishop Claude-Marie Dubuis of the Diocese of Galveston, a group of the Sisters were sent to Waco from New York, to start a house and establish a school. This would soon become the Academy of the Sacred Heart.

Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX, 1946, classroom (8)
Inside one of the classrooms of the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX. Photo taken by Fred Marlar on March 15, 1946.

On October 1, 1873, the school opened in a facility at Sixth and Washington Avenue. The first Sisters of St. Mary to begin instructing at the Waco academy were Mother Emelie, Sister Mary Angela, and Sister Stanislaus. Only three students attended that opening day.

Although it had a humble beginning, Dr. Carlos E. Castañeda states in Our Catholic Heritage in Texas that: “The Academy of the Sacred Heart…proved to be a most fruitful mission in Central Texas. Not only did it become a large and flourishing institution, but it led in rapid succession to the establishment of eight more schools in the State…” (The Sisters went on to establish several schools in various cities in north and central Texas.)

The mission initially was devoted to the education of girls, but the Waco academy made exceptions. It was a day school with grades one through twelve. Boys were allowed to attend until the eighth, and ninth through twelfth were reserved for young women. Only girls were allowed boarding privileges.

Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX, 1946, classroom (1)
Inside one of the classrooms of the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX. Photo taken by Fred Marlar on April 12, 1946.

Students from non-Catholic denominations were welcome, too. The 1876 Waco city directory describes it as follows: “…Its course of study is complete and comprehensive, and among its patrons and pupils are the representatives of the various denominations of the city and county. Its conduct and discipline are free from sectarianism…”

But by 1946, student enrolled had dwindled. Only six boarded that year, and this would be the last year of operation for the academy. On May 24 of that year, The Waco News-Tribune reported that “With the singing of the class song by 11 graduating seniors, Sacred Heart Academy…ended… an existence which began in 1873.” After more than 70 years, so ended a chapter in the ministry of a group of Sisters who came from New York “to open a school for young ladies in a rough-and-tumble Waco celebrated for its gun fights.” The photos that accompany this blog post were taken by Waco photographer Fred Marlar in 1946, so they likely knew these would be the final photos of the school in action.

After the academy’s closing, the building and site were sold and slated for demolition. This didn’t happen until July 1951, “when the last brick was carried away.” Consequently, the area at Eighth and Washington, where the academy once stood for decades, was brought down to be turned into a parking lot.

However, the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur are still strong to this day. The order has spread throughout the U.S. and other countries during the 20th century, and still remains strong in the 21st. A recent quote from the Sisters states that: “Our early calling to Christian formation continues at the heart of our ministry.”

This “early calling” that brought them here to Waco in 1873, with their roots in Belgium, led to their passion to influence many in their mission work in faraway lands—even in a “rough-and-tumble Waco” of the 1870s.

Click the image below to see more photos in our Academy of the Sacred Heart album on Flickr:

The Academy of the Sacred Heart Catholic School, Waco, TX

Sources:

Begnaud, Sister St. John, A Little Good: The Sisters of St. Mary in Texas (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, 2011).

“Being Razed” The Waco News-Tribune, May 26, 1951.

Castañeda, Carlos E., Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 1836-1936, The Modern Period, Vol. VII (Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., Austin, TX, 1958).

Kelley, Dayton, editor, The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas (Texian Press, Waco, TX, 1972).

“Sacred Heart Is Closed Up after 73 Years in City” The Waco News-Tribune, May 24, 1946.

“Sisters of St. Mary of Namur,” https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ixs05/, Accessed 27 April 2016.

Sisters of St. Mary of Namur, Eastern Province, USA, http://www.ssmn.us/ourstory.html, Accessed 28 April 2016.

Waco, & McLennan County, Texas, 1876, Reprint-First City Directory of Waco (Waco, Texas: Texian Press, 1966).

Documenting Women’s Service: The Temple Rodef Sholom Sisterhood in Waco

Rodef Sholom Sisterhood yearbooks, 1951-1952, 1972-1973
Each year, the Temple Rodef Sholom Sisterhood published yearbooks that included officer and member lists, event calendars and activities completed that year. Their records at the Texas Collection include yearbooks from the 1950s-1990s. [Waco] Temple Rodef Sholom Sisterhood records, Accession #3159, Box 1, Folder 10 and Box 3, Folder 2.

By Casey Schumacher, Texas Collection graduate assistant and museum studies graduate student

Did you know that The Texas Collection has more than 20 collections documenting the Central Texas Jewish community? We recently completed processing of the Rodef Sholom Sisterhood records, and in honor of Women’s History Month, we thought we would spotlight this organization that has played a major role in the growth of McLennan County’s oldest and largest Jewish congregation.

Waco Rodef Sholom Sisterhood ledger, 1960
The most thorough records in the collection are meeting minutes and ledgers. The Sisterhood kept excellent financial records, which demonstrates their ongoing commitment to financially support the activities of their congregation and its Religious School. [Waco] Temple Rodef Sholom Sisterhood records, #3159, Box 1, Folder 12.

As early as the 1850s, Jewish settlers came to the Waco area but had no organized congregation to celebrate festivals, holy days or worship services. After the International Order of B’nai B’rith established Eureka Lodge No. 198 in 1873, forty families in the Waco area formed the Rodef Sholom congregation and began raising funds for the construction of a synagogue. Usually, when we think of early leaders of Temple Rodef Sholom, we think of Sam Sanger, Isaac A. Goldstein and Louey Migel. However, construction of the synagogue was a congregational effort, and the Jewish women of Waco certainly played their part.

In 1879, the Rodef Sholom Ladies’ Hebrew Society (LHS) decided to host a ball to raise funds for the new synagogue. The ball was a great success and thanks in part to the LHS, the first synagogue was dedicated in 1881. The LHS was not finished with their work, however. They continued to support the growth of the congregation and raise money for congregational events. In 1922, the women of the LHS joined the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods and changed their name to the Temple Rodef Sholom Sisterhood.

The construction of the first temple clearly demonstrates how women played an important role in the early history of Rodef Sholom. The Temple has constructed two other synagogues since the LHS held their ball, and the women of the temple have been consistently involved. Today, the Sisterhood’s primary mission lies in organizing cultural programs for the congregation and supporting the temple’s Religious School. Obviously, the commitment of Rodef Sholom women has not wavered over the years.

Waco Rodef Sholom Sisterhood art exhibition and auction flyer, 1974
Carrying on the mission of the original founders, the Temple Rodef Sholom Sisterhood continues to host community events, including bake sales, freezer sales and cultural programs. This flyer for an art exhibition and auction is one of many advertisements produced by the Sisterhood. [Waco] Temple Rodef Sholom Sisterhood records, #3159, Box 3, Folder 4.
Female leadership at Rodef Sholom reached new heights in 2012 when Laura Schwartz Harari became the temple’s first female rabbi. In addition to a distinguished career in education, Rabbi Harari serves as the President of the Greater Waco Interfaith Conference and is a regular instructor for Baylor University’s Lifelong Learning Program.

The Temple Rodef Sholom Sisterhood records at The Texas Collection consist primarily of the Sisterhood’s membership, financial and publicity records from 1960-1990, although there are records from as early as 1919 and as late as 2005.

From General Tire to the BRIC: The Demise and Rebirth of a Waco Manufacturing Facility

General Tire & Rubber Company's Waco, TX, c. 1950
General Tire & Rubber Company’s Waco, TX, main building, with manufacturing spaces behind it, late 1940s or early 1950s. The Waco plant was dedicated on November 13, 1944, and was built in conjunction with the Defense Plant Corporation for wartime production. The first tires constructed there were for the U.S. Army and Navy. Thomas E. Turner, Sr. papers #2200, box 12, folder 5.

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

General Tire & Rubber Co. came to Waco in late 1944, the company’s second plant after its Akron, Ohio, headquarters. The plant was originally constructed to supply equipment for the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, and by January 1945, production began. According to William O’Neal, General Tire’s president, the new Waco location (off Business 77, near Orchard Lane) was established on acknowledging that “the war has dissipated the old idea that all manufacturing had to be done in the north, that the south could hope to be no more than an agricultural area.” O’Neal was guided in his decision to bring the company to this area by Congressman W.R. Poage of Texas.

General Tire and Rubber, Co., Waco, TX, 1960s
This image shows the main front of the General Tire and Rubber Plant, Waco, TX, mid- to late-1960s. General photo files: Waco–Businesses–Tire And Rubber Companies–General Tire And Rubber Company.

Products coming out of the Waco plant included truck tires for the U.S. Army and Navy, and other rubber-based equipment such as rafts and specialized balloons for wartime use. After the war, once it acquired nearly full control from the U.S. government, the Waco plant began switching from military production to consumer and industrial based products. In November 1945, the first passenger car tire was built and soon after, 2,500 were made daily. By 1954, the plant doubled in size, and 6,000 passenger car, truck, tractor, and farm service tires were being built daily.

General Tire and Rubber, Co., Waco, TX, 1951
When photographer Fred Marlar took this image in 1951, General Tire & Rubber Company’s Waco facility was making more than 1.6 million tires a year. Company managers are shown here inspecting one of their famous bias-ply truck tires on the assembly line. General photo files: Waco–Businesses–Tire And Rubber Companies–General Tire And Rubber Company.

A very large surge in tire production occurred in 1955 when the company received a contract to make original equipment tires. Cars made by General Motors rolled off of the automaker’s assembly lines equipped with tires made in Waco. At the time, some models of General’s tires included the innovative tubeless design called the “Dual 90.” Other domestic automakers used Waco-built General products, and the plant ended up making millions of tires that rolled on American roads—and beyond.

By 1957, due to demand, the Waco plant completed a 40 percent expansion in production capacity. By 1984, after many years of continued success, the size of the plant had grown enormously, with building space covering “49 acres under roof on 139 acres of land.” (In 1944, the original area covered “233,000 square feet of manufacturing space.”)

When the facility in Waco celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1984, reference was made for the next 40-year celebration, but this was not to be. In November 1985, General Tire & Rubber Co. announced the closure of its Waco, Texas, plant, which had a staff of more than 1,400 personnel, an annual payroll of $42 million, and was responsible for $18 million monthly in expenditures into the the area’s economy.

After news of the closure, the number without jobs amounted to nearly 10% of Waco’s manufacturing work force. Following the news, an editorial in the Waco Tribune-Herald stated: “The announced closing of Waco’s General Tire plant leaves a cavernous void in Waco’s economy. It could be compared only to Baylor University pulling up stakes.” The last employees to leave the plant were 130 workers who remained at the General Tire & Rubber mixing facility, making bulk rubber to supply other General plans, until December 1990.

The Waco General Tire & Rubber Co. plant gave livelihoods for thousands of men and women throughout its 41 years in operation. However, sudden and drastic changes in the automobile industry, inability to adapt or replace machinery to keep up with changing tire designs and demands, and competition from imports, all contributed to the demise of what was once Waco’s largest manufacturing facility.

Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), Waco, TX, General Tire & Rubber Company (2)
Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), Waco, TX, General Tire & Rubber Company. Photo by Geoff Hunt for The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

The old General Tire plant in Waco remained mainly in disuse for many years, but the empty facility still had enormous potential. The company’s main building was heavily renovated in 2010 for use by the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC). It now uses more than 300,000 square feet of the facility. Baylor University, Texas State Technical College, and leading industries utilize this space for advanced research in engineering, air science, quantum optics, and more. Students are able to experience some of the latest innovations in these fields and get hands-on experience in their fields of study—helping Waco continue to innovate and train a new generation well into the future.

See more photos in our General Tire & Rubber Co. album on Flickr:

General Tire & Rubber Co., Waco, TX

Sources:

“Industrial and Agricultural Development.” Annual Report Edition- WACO- The Hub of Texas: Official Publication of Waco Chamber of Commerce Waco, Texas (Waco, TX) Jan. 1944.

“Colorful Ceremony to Mark Dedication Of General Tire Plant Here On November 13th.” WACO-The Hub of Texas: Official Publication of Waco Chamber of Commerce Waco, Texas (Waco, TX) Oct. 1944.

“General Tire Officials, Newspapermen See Texas’ First Tire Plant Dedicated In Waco.” WACO- The Hub of Texas: Official Publication of Waco Chamber of Commerce Waco, Texas (Waco, TX) Nov. 1944.

”General Tire Plant Here Grew Out of War Needs” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Oct. 31, 1948.

“Rubber Plant Employment Five Times 1944 Strength.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Jan. 20, 1954.

“General Tire Completing 40 Percent Expansion, in Waco.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Feb. 10, 1957.

“Poage Recalls Beginning for General Tire Here.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Apr. 9, 1972.

“General Tire Celebrates 40 Proud Years in Waco.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Oct. 14, 1984.

“General Tire Latest in Series of Shutdowns.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Nov. 6, 1985.

“Waco’s Economy Suffers Blowout.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Nov. 6, 1985.

“Tire Plant to Close Division: Monday Last Day for 130 Employees.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Dec. 31, 1990.

“Tire Company was Force in Local Economy for Decades.” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX), Oct. 23, 2009.

Texas over Time: Texas Christian University, Waco campus fire–before and after

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.

TCUDid you know that Texas Christian University was in Waco for about 15 years? Images can be found in the general photo files (Waco–TCU)

  • Founded in 1873 by Addison and Randolph Clark, and formerly known as Add-Ran College, TCU was originally located at Thorp Spring (Hood County). In 1890, the university obtained new ownership by the Disciples of Christ.
  • When the Waco Female College closed, the Christian Church of Waco promised to give TCU the building if they relocated their school to Waco, along with $5,000 and fifteen acres of land. They relocated in December 1895.
  • In 1902, the school’s second president, E.V. Zollars was elected. Almost immediately, there was a vote to change the name of the school to Texas Christian University, with the AddRan name used for the AddRan College of Arts and Sciences.
  • On March 22, 1910, a fire destroyed the main building of the college, which was used for academic purposes as well as for dormitory space. Students living on the top floor had to abandon all their belongings. Wacoans offered their homes to house the displaced students, and Baylor offered its classrooms, libraries, laboratories, etc.,
  • By May 1910, the school’s leadership decided to move to Fort Worth. Waco, McKinney, Gainesville, Dallas, and Fort Worth all submitted bids for TCU to help rebuild the school, but Fort Worth’s bid offered the most financial incentive and other support.

Works Cited

Kelley, Dayton. “Texas Christian University.” The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas. Waco: Texian, 1972. 262-63. Print.

Moore, Jerome Aaron. Texas Christian University: A Hundred Years of History. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1974. Print.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant. See these  images in our Flickr set. More information about TCU in Waco can be found on the Waco History app website.

 

Texas over Time: Austin Avenue from City Hall, 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.

AustinAveOur readers may remember that we did a GIF of Waco’s Austin Avenue awhile back, looking at City Hall. Now, we look the other direction! A few facts about the buildings/businesses you see in this GIF…

  • ALICO Building: Construction for the Amicable (ALICO) Building began in 1910 and after a height competition with the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, it was decided that the building would be 22-stories high. The builders, Sanguinet and Staats of Forth Worth and Roy E. Lane of Waco, wanted the building to have a structure that could sustain disaster, so a steel frame was put into place, and this was proved worthwhile after the 1953 tornado. The Texas State Historical Commission named the ALICO building a historical landmark in 1982.
  • Roosevelt Hotel: Before it became the Roosevelt Hotel, local civic leader Peter McClelland built the McClelland Hotel in 1872. The property was purchased by Conrad Hilton of the international chain, Hilton Hotels and Resorts. The economic downturn of the Great Depression caused Hilton to sell the property in 1934 to local investors, where it finally became known as the Roosevelt Hotel, honoring President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Roosevelt was one of the three buildings in the storm’s path that stood strong during the 1953 Waco tornado. Its steel frame supported the structure but for the businesses that did not survive, the owners relocated to the suburbs and the Roosevelt Hotel was forced to close in 1961. After its life as the Regis Retirement Home, local builder Mike Clark bought the building in 2004 and the space was renovated to accommodate event rentals, restaurants, and offices.
  • W.P. Pipkin Drugs: One of the Southwest’s largest independently owned drugstore chains, the W.P. Pipkin Drug store was successfully run by William Pipkin and then after his death, it was run by his daughter, Pauline Pipkin Garrett. Pipkin was the first drugstore owner to hire women and in a time where opportunities for women were limited, Garrett exceeded these expectations by expanding her father’s business into a thriving enterprise throughout Waco. Pipkin Drugs had seven locations.
  • Sanger Bros./Montgomery Ward: The Sanger Brothers open their shoe store on the square between Austin Avenue and Bankers’ Alley on March 4, 1873. Their store later moved between Fourth and Fifth Street on Austin Avenue. Products the store sold included “dry goods, clothing, boots, shoes, hats, caps, gents’ furnishing goods, carpets, and oil cloths,” per an ad by the Waco Daily Examiner. The business was very successful up until Sam Sanger’s death in 1919. In its final days thousands of dedicated customers were reported to show up for the last sales.

Bibliography

Kyle Baughman and Amanda Sawyer, “Amicable (ALICO) Building,” Waco History, accessed October 9, 2015, http://wacohistory.org/items/show/23.

Geoff Hunt, “Pauline Pipkin Garrett,” Waco History, accessed October 9, 2015, ffghttp://wacohistory.org/items/show/101.

Amanda Sawyer, “Sanger Brothers Department Store,” Waco History, accessed October 9, 2015, http://wacohistory.org/items/show/85.

Amanda Sawyer, “Roosevelt Hotel,” Waco History, accessed November 4, 2015, http://wacohistory.org/items/show/41.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant. See these and other images of Austin Avenue in our Flickr set.

Texas over Time: Waco Suspension Bridge

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 Suspension Bridge

  • Opened to the public on January 7, 1870, the 475-foot structure is one of downtown Waco’s iconic landmarks.
  • At the time of its completion, it was the longest single-span bridge west of the Mississippi.
  • The cables and steelwork were supplied by John Roebling Co., who also helped build the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City during that decade
  • As the only bridge over the Brazos River, it brought much publicity to Waco, helped local economic stimulation and served as a public bridge starting in 1889.
  • During times of high water, the bridge was used greatly for moving cattle herds.
  • In 1914, it went under total reconstruction including a brand new cable system; the roadway is now supported with steel and the towers were remodeled with stucco.
  • In July 1970, it became the first Waco site on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Sources

Roger N. Conger, “The Waco Suspension Bridge,” Texana, I (Summer 1963); Minute  Books of the Waco Bridge Company (MS., Waco-McLennan County Library).

“The City of Waco.” Suspension Bridge & Riverwalk, Parks & Recreation. City of Waco Municipal Information, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

Smyrl, Vivian Elizabeth. “Waco Suspension Bridge.” Texas State Historical Association. TSHA, University of Texas, 15 June 2010. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, student archives assistant. Learn more about the history of the suspension bridge in our YouTube video and see these images in our Flickr album.

1966: The Year Waco’s ALICO Building Meets Mid-Century Modern

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

Amicable (ALICO) Building, Waco, TX., c. 1926
This Fred Gildersleeve image shows the Amicable Building in about 1926. Waco’s famous Old Corner Drug Store occupied a wing of the street level at the time. This same part of the building is still attached, as can be noticed in the modern image of the structure below. The original design of the front and side facades are evident, as well as the original design of the first few upper floors. General photo files: Waco–Business–Amicable Life Insurance Building (Exterior).

Between 1958 and 1978, Waco underwent major changes through the federally funded Urban Renewal Agency of Waco. Areas impacted included numerous city blocks between LaSalle Avenue and Waco Drive. The project greatly affected the city’s people, businesses, schools, and buildings.

Between 1964 and 1966, the city’s landmark ALICO (American Life Insurance Company) Building received major updates as well. The largest and most significant addition to the structure was the ALICO Inn and its convention facilities. The 22-story ALICO Building, originally known as the Amicable Building, was completed in 1911, and designed by architects Roy E. Lane and Sanguinet & Staats. When built, it was the tallest office building in the southwestern United States. Its location was once in the city’s central business district, and it was a vital part of the city’s economy. To remain that way, it needed to keep pace with the rapidly changing business climate of Waco in the 1950s and ’60s.

The ALICO Center Building, ALICO Inn, Waco, TX, 1966 (6)
This view from 5th Street shows the changes in architecture to the original ALICO office building and adjoining conference center and hotel. Most of the façade still remains, but seeing the 1966 structure helps give an idea of the architects’ original intent with the building’s design. General photo files: Waco–Urban Renewal–Business–Alico Center.

With the closing of the Roosevelt Hotel and its conversion into a retirement facility, more downtown hotels were needed, and the Waco Chamber of Commerce was receptive to ideas like the creation of the ALICO Center. The city wanted to attract conventions and shoppers to the downtown area. The center’s proposal was initiated by 29-year-old architect Jay Frank Powell, owner of Down-Tel Corp., a company specializing in building motels in downtown areas. According to the September 20, 1964, Waco Tribune-Herald, the Waco Chamber, when presented with the ALICO Center plan: “pounced on Powell like a piece of beef dangled before a starving lion.”

The ALICO Center Building, ALICO Inn, Waco, TX, 1966 (8)
A passing image of the ALICO Inn and Conference Center soon after construction in about 1966. The view from Austin Avenue was far different from what had been there before the addition. General photo files: Waco–Urban Renewal–Business–Alico Center.

When completed in 1966, the ALICO Center Inn contained 115 rooms for overnight guests, a second-floor meeting room that would seat 250 in a banquet or 1,000 to 1,200 people auditorium-style. It was described as a “downtown motor hotel with convention facilities, a motor bank and a five-story parking garage.” The ALICO Center was designed to match its changing surroundings, including part of Austin Avenue’s closure to make it into a pedestrian mall, another part of the Waco Urban Renewal Agency’s planning. [Check out our blog post on that subject.]

At the 1964 ALICO Center groundbreaking ceremony, the president of the Amicable Life Insurance Company, Franklin Smith, stated, “it will be not only a step toward completion of ALICO Center, but mark the beginning of a new atmosphere and a new enthusiasm in downtown Waco.” Additionally, Waco’s then mayor, Roger Conger, compared the event “to the historic groundbreaking for the Amicable Building more than 50 years ago.”

The ALICO Center Building, Hilton Inn, Waco, TX, Sep. 1971 (2)
The lower façade of the main ALICO Building fits in well with the recently dedicated Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall, as seen here in 1971. In order to attract more shoppers who would park and walk, vehicular traffic was not allowed on certain parts of Austin Avenue. General photo files: Waco–Urban Renewal–Business–Alico Center.

The end result, completed in 1966, changed the design of the original 1911 ALICO Building, with the new hotel, convention center, parking garage, and motor bank, joined directly to it. As a result, the ALICO Center’s additions took up nearly the entire 400 block of Austin Avenue—stretching much of the complex back to Washington Avenue. Overall, it was impressive and imposing—different in every aspect of what that side of the 400 block of Austin Avenue looked like before. The entire redesign of the 1966 ALICO Center seemed well balanced in appearance—and represented the mid-century modern architectural style frequently seen during the period.

However, the ALICO Center as it appeared in 1966 is no longer. The hotel and convention center were demolished in about 1998, and the space is now used as a parking lot. The main vintage 1911 building and parking garage complex remain, and retain most of the later modifications. This includes much of the 1966 addition’s facade at street level, wrapping around Austin Avenue, the parking garage along 5th Street, and back to the Washington Avenue side of the complex.

The ALICO Building, 425 Austin Avenue, Waco, TX, 2015 (3)
What’s noticeable in this 2015 image of the ALICO Building is the lack of the hotel and convention center. The structure once joining the main building took up a large portion of the 400 block of Austin Avenue and extended back to Washington. The 5-story parking garage and section built for the motor bank are still present. The hotel and convention complex was demolished in about 1998 and is now a parking lot. Photo taken by Texas Collection staff.

In spring 2016, it will be fifty years since the ALICO Center opened for operations. The main building is now 104 years old. The structure has, and remains successful and its exterior is a mixture of old and “new.” Most importantly, it continues to be Waco’s most prominent downtown landmark.

Occupiers of the Inn and Conference Center at 411 Austin Avenue, according to Waco Polk City Directories include:

*ALICO Inn: 1966-1970
*Hilton Inn: 1970-1971
*Waco Plaza Motel: 1972-1978
*Brazos Inn: 1979-1982
*Rodeway Inn: 1983-1984
*Brazos Inn: 1985-1991
*Brittney Hotel: 1992-1994
*Vacant: 1995-1997
*Mark Domangue and Associates Security Brokers: 1998
*Building demolished around this time period-disappears from the records: 1999

See more images of the different looks of the ALICO building over time in our Flickr set.


Created with flickr slideshow.

 

Sources

“Architect Will Reach Goal In Building of ALICO Center,” The Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX.), Sep. 20, 1964.

“New Era Seen as Work Begins on Huge Motel,” The Waco News-Tribune (Waco, TX.), Dec. 8, 1964.

“ALICO Keeps Pace with Time,” The Baylor Lariat (Waco, TX.), Feb 26, 1966.

“Charles Hunton-Hilton Inn Manager,” The Waco Citizen (Waco, TX.), Nov. 20, 1969.

“Conventions at Brazos,” The Waco Citizen (Waco, TX.), Mar. 10, 1981.

“Rodeway Now Brazos Inn,” The Waco Citizen (Waco, TX.), Feb. 19, 1985.