51 Facts About Waco, Texas To Help You Know The City Better

Anusuya Mukherjee
Oct 23, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Feb 10, 2022
We will learn some fantastic facts about Waco, Texas.

Waco is a pleasant destination to visit in Central Texas.

You may explore the art scene, distinctive retail malls, and an unending array of food options. There are also many outdoor activities available for you and your family.

McLennan County, Texas's county seat is Waco. It is located in the United States. Waco is located midway between Dallas and Austin, along the Brazos River and Interstate 35. It is the state's 22nd most populated city.

The city's population was estimated to be 138,486 in 2020. McLennan County and Falls County make up the Waco metropolitan statistical region. In 2013, Falls County was added to the Waco MSA. The Waco metropolitan area's population was estimated to be 277,005 according to the United States Census Bureau in 2020.

Waco was named after the Wichita tribes, the area's earliest residents. The city started as a Waco village. It wasn't until 1849 that surveyor George B. Erath drew out the city's initial streets that Waco began to take form.

Waco was founded as a city in 1856. By the 1870s, it had become a major commercial center for the state of Texas. This was due to the introduction of many railroad lines.

History of Waco, Texas

The history of Waco is pretty interesting. In this section, we will go through some facts regarding that.

  • Waco is situated on the verge of the Balcones Fault. It is the same geological feature that carved out the Texas Hill Country.
  • For 1000s of years, indigenous people have lived along the Brazos River. The Wichita Indian tribe known as the 'Waco' inhabited the now Waco region.
  • A Methodist missionary delivered the first sermon at Waco Village in 1849. Waco now has over 200 churches representing 40 different religions and beliefs.
  • The people of Waco started an ambitious endeavor in 1866 to construct the first bridge over the vast Brazos River. They founded the Waco Bridge Company in 1870 to construct the 475 ft (144.8 m) Waco Suspension Bridge.
  • The Waco Suspension Bridge required more than 2.7 million bricks produced from Brazos River sand.
  • The Waco got land allotments and became formal US citizens in 1902.
  • Local leaders and doctors founded the Family Practice Center in 1969. It is known as Waco Family Medicine.
  • Waco Family Medicine was created in response to Waco and McLennan County healthcare inequities. Many Waco residents lacked proper medical care before these initiatives.
  • McLennan County, Texas's county seat is Waco. It also has five historic residences, seven recreational sites, and nine arts groups that put on theatrical and musical events and art exhibits.
  • The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame are located in the city.
  • The Waco Mammoth National Monument is a more than 100 acres (40.5 ha) expanse of woodland parkland. It is located along the Bosque River, which is also located in Waco.
  • The Waco Mammoth National Monument is part of the National Parks System. It gives insight into the lives of Columbian mammoth bones unearthed in Waco along the Bosque River.
  • Waco is rich in Texas history, economic opportunity, and a diverse range of cultural experiences. It is also an important center for higher education.
  • Waco has three major universities inside the city borders, including Baylor University, Texas State Technical College, and McLennan Community College.
  • In 1881, Paul Quinn College relocated from Austin to Waco.
  • In 1886, Waco University and Baylor University merged their Waco campuses.
  • Cameron Park, one of Texas' largest and nicest municipal parks, is located in the city. The 416 acres (168.3 ha) park is situated on the Brazos and Bosque rivers in the middle of downtown Waco. It conducts a variety of events, including triathlons, boat races, and more.
  • WACO is the country's only radio station whose call letters spell out the city's name.
  • The sculpture 'The Waco Door' was created by well-known Wacoan Robert Wilson.It weighs more than 6 tons (5.4 m tons) and serves as the ideal entrance to Art Center Waco's sculpture path.
  • For the first time in 50 years, Baylor won the Southwest Conference football title in 1972.
  • The Waco Examiner was Waco's first daily newspaper. It originally appeared in 1867.
  • During the 1880s, Waco was dubbed 'Athens on the Brazos.' This was because it was quickly becoming the educational capital of Texas.
  • The Pacific Hotel was Waco's first hotel to install an elevator. The hotel used to be located on Fourth Street and Franklin Avenue.
  • The Hippodrome Theater first opened in 1914 as a select traveling show theater. It spent most of its existence as 'Hulsey's Hipp.' It was a prominent vaudeville and cinema venue run by E. H. Hulsey.
  • The temperature dropped to 10 degrees below zero during the 1899 storm. Reports say that individuals ice-skated on the Brazos River.
  • The original hotel in Waco was established in 1849 by Shapley Prince Ross. She was one of Waco's founders.
  • The hotel is at the junction of 1st Street and Bridge Street. This is where the Hilton Waco now stands. The log hotel was destroyed by fire in 1871.
  • Waco was the world's biggest inland cotton market in 1890. It received 60,000 bales by wagon and 150,000 bales by train yearly.
  • From 1894 until 1930, the month-long Texas Cotton Palace Exposition took place. It drew over 8 million Texans to Waco.
  • The Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas was founded in 1904. It was made with a $1 gift from each Mason in the state.
  • The 1953 Waco tornado was the worst and most deadly tornado in Texas state history. It killed 114 people and injured over 1,000 more.
  • Waco has produced more Texas governors than any other city in the state. Richard Coke, Sul Ross, Pat Neff, and Ann Richards are among the governors who were born here.

Tourist Attractions In Waco, Texas

The city of Waco is beautiful, and it boasts a number of tourist spots. You can have a fantastic time with your family in this beautiful city. This section will go through facts about Waco's tourist attractions.

  • The first of many mammoth remains were found near Waco in 1978. It is today considered one of the world's most significant paleontological sites.
  • The Waco Mammoth National Monument is the most well-known of the city's attractions. It is the world's first known and discovered Columbian mammoth nursery herd.
  • The Armstrong Browning Library is undoubtedly one of Waco's most fantastic tourist attractions. It was founded to research the works, lives, and legacies of two great English authors. They were Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
  • Today, their poetry and works are considered literary masterpieces. The Armstrong Browning Library has the world's most extensive collection of works by Browning. It is decorated in the Italian Renaissance style, with imperial gold accents and lavish displays of wealth.
  • Spice Village is located in downtown Waco. It is only a few blocks away from the more well-known Magnolia Market.
  • Spice Village has 60 distinct boutiques in a refurbished Waco Hardware Building warehouse. Each store is unique and sells a variety of contemporary and vintage items, including housewares, fashion, gifts, and antiques.
  • Dr. Pepper is the country's oldest significant soft drink syrup. The beverage was initially manufactured and marketed in America in Waco.
  • Dr. Pepper is regarded as the 'national' drink of Texas.
  • The Dr. Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute are one of the must-see tourist sites in Texas. The museum is housed in a former Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building. It first opened its doors to the public in 1991.
  • The firm was the first structure built for the purpose of Dr. Pepper bottling.
  • The Dr. Pepper Museum collects, shows, and interprets a wide range of items linked to Dr. Pepper's legacy and life. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has attractions such as an old-fashioned soda fountain and a souvenir gift shop.
  • Many people consider Magnolia Market at the Silos to be one of the finest locations to visit in Waco. This is because of its celebrity and pop-cultural importance. Chip and Joanna Gaines developed Magnolia Market in the Silos.
  • The Waco Downtown Farmers Market is not to be missed. This farmers market has been supplying fresh fruit and a variety of other items to residents and visitors since 2011. Plants, fresh drinks, gourmet delicacies, handicrafts, and more are among the items available. You'll be serenaded while you shop while listening to live music.
  • The Waco Hippodrome debuted as a vaudeville theater in 1914. It has since grown into a movie theater and a live event venue. It is a hotspot for entertainment in Texas and one of the best locations to go whether you're looking for a show or a movie.
  • The Waco Suspension Bridge spans the Brazos River and is a significant feature in the city. It is one of the reasons the city evolved and became well known. The city has transitioned from a sleepy small village to a booming, busy metropolis.
  • It was unsafe and challenging to cross the river before it was built. Ferries were the only means to get to the other side. The bridge, which was built in 1870, employed about 3 million bricks in its construction.
  • Because the building site was in a distant location, the procedure was arduous and time-consuming. The next town with experienced artisans was almost 200 mi (321.9 km) distant. The nearest railroad was over 100 mi (160.9 km) away.
  • Lake Waco is a recreational area just west of the city. It was created in 1923 by damming the Bosque river.
  • You may hike the isolated paths of the Lake Waco Wetlands or the Lake Waco Dam. You can also go fishing or boating at one of the five parks along the lake's shores.
  • McLane Stadium is the home stadium of the Baylor Bears. It is the only football stadium in the state of Texas.
  • The McLane Stadium provides tours of the grounds. Each tour lasts around 90 minutes and includes stops in the locker rooms, press room, and other comparable areas.
  • The Cameron Park in Waco offers some of the state's most challenging and arduous mountain biking routes.
  • The Brazos river stretches from the Baylor campus to the Zoo. A picturesque river walk runs along the east and west banks of the river for nearly 7 mi (11.3 km). This illuminated multi-use walking and running track crosses under the Waco Suspension Bridge.
  • The tremendous geological contrasts between one side of the Brazos and the other may be seen from the top of Lover's Leap in Cameron Park.
  • The Cameron Park Zoo is a natural-habitat zoo with hundreds of species from throughout the world. It is a popular tourist attraction.
Austin Avenue in Waco acts as a part of Waco's rich heritage.

Famous Food in Waco, Texas

The people of Waco love to eat. This section will look at some food-related facts about this city.

  • Dr. Pepper was created in 1885 in the Old Corner Drug Store in Waco. This was the year before Coca-Cola was created.
  • Waco-based Cargill Foods grows, processes, and sells over 8 million turkeys each year.
  • Waco produces more than 75% of the world's Snickers bars.
  • Chicken Fried Steak is one of the most famous dishes of Waco. German and Austrian immigrants to Texas created this meal from Wiener Schnitzel.
  • Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day was established in 2011. This was to honor the dish's enduring popularity.
  • The pecan pie is the official state dessert of Texas.
  • The brisket is another typical food that the people of Waco love. German and Czech immigrants, many of whom were Jewish, brought their Passover brisket cooking skills to Texas. This is where they quickly became popular.
  • Brisket has become so widely associated with Texas barbecue that it is almost impossible to locate a restaurant serving it anywhere else.
  • The people of Waco love Texas chili. The International Chili Society does not accept beans or other non-vegetarian fillers like rice or pasta in Texas chili. Any other mix of meats, spices, and other components is not allowed.
  • Kolaches are a typical Czech dessert made with fruit preserves and fluffy dough. It was introduced to Central Texas by Czech immigrants in the late 19th century.
  • Klobasniky is the name of a savory pastry loaded with sausage. It was originated by Czech immigrants in Texas. You can now find them in numerous bakeries and doughnut shops throughout Waco.
  • The Tex-Mex is one of the country's oldest regional cuisines. The Chili Queens of San Antonio, a group of ladies who sold food in the city's plazas, were responsible for the dish's enormous appeal. The Tejano, or Mexican-born, home cooking of Texas, is the inspiration for this dish.
  • Since Texas is the nation's leading producer of beef, the people of Waco love hamburgers.
  • In 1919, this East Waco Barbeque Establishment served its first customers. A massive stack of corn chips is topped with chopped brisket, sausage, pinto beans, and cheese in the Waco Tornado. This is their signature food.
  • D's Mediterranean is a fantastic restaurant located in Waco. Their falafel, kebabs, and hummus will keep things light and satisfying.
  • 'Fixer Upper' stars Chip and Joanna Gaines own the Silos Baking Co. This bakery offers delicious sweets that are ideal for snacking on while strolling around.
  • Vitek's is a Waco food institution and is a favorite of both residents and visitors alike. Their specialty is Gut Paks, which is a dish that includes a large mound of smoked pork, Fritos and cheese, beans, pickles, and barbecue sauce.

Main Industry in Waco, Texas

The thriving economy of Waco is fueled by businesses in a variety of industries. Here are some facts regarding the industrial structure of the city.

  • Manufacturing and food and beverage production are two major industry clusters in Waco.
  • Alco Fastening Systems, Allergan, Cargill Foods, Mars Chocolate North America, Pilgrim's Pride, and Sanderson Farms are all major industries in Waco.
  • Advanced manufacturing remains a significant and expanding industrial sector for Greater Waco and the Central Texas area.
  • The Waco MSA accounts for 14% of the local economy. It outperforms both Texas and the United States in terms of manufacturing as a proportion of the total industrial base.
  • The city has businesses in transportation equipment, medicine, and sophisticated food items. The manufacturing company mix of the city is as diversified as the local economy.
  • Texas is the country's third-largest manufacturer of aerospace and aeronautical goods. Aerospace and Defense focus on a variety of transportation, engineering, research, and aerospace goods and components. The manufacturing industry is a unique section of Greater Waco.
  • There are three airports, three institutions providing aviation training, and more than 30 enterprises involved in different aviation and support operations. It is coordinated by the Greater Waco Aviation Alliance. Therefore, Greater Waco provides a unique business environment for aviation.
  • With one to two-day delivery turnaround times being the norm, the success of organizations across all industries is strongly reliant on a well-functioning supply chain.
  • More than 420 distribution facilities with over 6,000 workers and almost 7 million sq ft (0.65 million sq km) are located in Greater Waco.
  • At three local airports, air freight capacity is available. Rail freight is provided by Union Pacific and BNSF, in addition to Interstate 35 (NAFTA Highway) and Foreign Trade Zone Number 246.
  • Most of Waco's local transport is served by the Waco Transit System. This provides weekday bus service to most of the city.
  • Known initially as Waco Army Air Field, it was renamed in honor of Col. James T. Connally. He was a local pilot who was killed in action in Japan in 1945. The James Connally Air Force Base was renamed in 1951.
  • Most of Waco is served by the Waco Transit System, which provides weekday bus service to most of the city.
  • Several minor thoroughfares also serve the city. This includes the Texas State Highway Six.

Did You Know?

  • William Brann was the publisher of Waco's immensely popular Iconoclast newspaper. He wrote that Baylor authorities had been importing South American children. They were recruited by missionaries and were being used as house enslaved people.
  • Tom Davis, a Baylor fan, shot Brann in the back. Brann then spun around, pulled his gun, and shot Davis. Brann was then escorted home by his friends, where he succumbed to his wounds.
  • The Waco siege was a 51-day confrontation between Branch Davidians and federal officials of the Waco government. It concluded when a fire destroyed the religious group's complex near Waco.
  • Nearly 80 individuals were murdered in the Waco Siege.
  • David Koresh was the leader of the Davidians, a religious cult. They were responsible for the Waco siege.
  • To apprehend the Davidians for allegedly hoarding illegal automatic weapons in 1993, the ATF attacked Mt. Carmel. They engaged in a shootout that resulted in deaths on both sides. This was due to the delusional view of the end times of David Koresh.
  • Vernon Wayne Howell was the actual name of David Koresh. He was born in Houston, Texas, in 1959.
  • The FBI and popular media have depicted David Koresh as a cult leader with a 'Messianic Complex.'
  • However, instead of claiming to be God's chosen, he called himself the 'Lamb of God.' David Koresh claimed that God talked personally to him.
  • The reading of the Book of Revelation by David Koresh led the Davidians to believe that the world would end since they were an Apocalyptic cult.
  • In order to listen in on Koresh's chats with his followers, the FBI allegedly bugged milk containers entering the property. Tactics like shutting off the compound's power, playing Tibetan chanting through loudspeakers, and placing spotlights on the complex to interrupt sleep were also used to make the Davidians uncomfortable.
  • Even after getting injured during the Waco siege, David Koresh refused to get medical care for his wounds. He remained alive for over two months and a half.
  • On the 51st day of the Waco siege, David Koresh was fatally wounded by a single bullet to the head.

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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