January 5 2010
We have driven through Waco many times, but this year we took some extra time to tour the area. Founded in 1849 along the Brazos River, Waco is located between Dallas and Austin on Interstate Highway 35. Waco has big city advantages, without big city hassles.
Over 120,000 people call Waco home with over 100,000 more in the surrounding area.
Waco is named after the Huaco Indians, the first inhabitants of this area. The Huacos were a branch of the Wichita’s and were closely related to the Tawakonis. The tribe lived in beehive shaped huts, 20- to 25- feet high, made of poles, buffalo hides and rushes. The Huacos had approximately 400 acres of land under cultivation, planted in corn, beans, pumpkins, melons and peach trees.
In 1837, the Texas Rangers arrived intending to build a fort at Waco Village. Texas Secretary of War William S. Fisher ordered them here to protect the white frontier after a Comanche raid at Ft. Parker near Groesbeck. The Rangers spent three weeks cutting a road through the woods and building a bridge over Cow Bayou. However, it was decided the outpost was too far from any white settlement to offer any protection.
An Indian trading post was established around 1844 on a bluff eight miles south of Waco village on the east side of the Brazos River. A year later, another settlement was established further north by a rugged Scot named Neil McLennan.
In 1848, two years after Texas statehood, General Thomas J. Chambers sold his Mexican grant of land, which surrounded the old Waco Village site, to a group of businessmen from Galveston. In early 1849, surveyor George B. Erath laid out the first streets of Waco. Lots were sold for $5 each, with "farming lots" selling for $2 to $3 each. Among the first buyers was a Texas Ranger, Shapley P. Ross. Captain Ross opened a ferry across the river in 1849 and built the first house in Waco. The City of Waco was incorporated on August 29, 1856.
There are several major schools in Waco, but none more famous than Baylor. In 1886, Baylor University moved to Waco from Independence, Texas and merged with Waco University. Founded in 1845 under the Republic of Texas, Baylor is the oldest continually operated university in Texas.
Waco is a pretty nice town. I did not know until today that Dr Pepper Soda was originally from Texas. In my day it was a great pop that was not available in Ohio. Friends from Tennessee always brought the family a six pack.
Huey, Dewey and Louie are the I35 campground mascots and they get along great with our dogs.
Waco has many historic homes and a few pictures are included. Enjoy
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