Waco, Texas

Known as the "Heart of Texas", the city of Waco is located in Central Texas, on the Edwards Plateau. Waco is the administrative center of McLennan County, and also a part of the larger Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area. The Metropolitan area of Waco comprises a population of almost 225,000 and is home to people from different communities.

The city has witnessed historical struggles against racism, and is now home to several museums, art galleries and monuments of national importance. The culture of the city is a mixture of southern U.S. laidback attitude, and a certain restrained attitude when it comes to politics, religion and culture. Nevertheless, it is one of the most important cities in the region, and serves as a transportation, culture and education hub for the region.

Waco is known for its rich and colorful depiction of Texan culture. During the tenure of former U.S. president George W. Bush, Waco housed the White House Press center. Being a Texan himself, he would hold briefings and office facilities at the "Western White House" whenever he visited his home state. The city attracts a number of tourists due to the abundance of libraries, public institutions of higher learning, the Waco Suspension Bridge and museums that depict and curate Texan art and culture.

Waco is a great place to live in. There are intriquing options in entertainment, education, affordable living and many other benefits the city offers its residents. Many businesses in the city also thrive.

Waco History

The city of Waco was founded in 1849 on a piece of land that was inhabited by a Wichita Native American group named Waco too, from whom the city derives its name. George B. Erath designed the first block of the Waco in 1849 and was successful in getting the city named Waco in honor of the Native Americans who lived there.

The city's initial history revolves around the construction of the 475-foot (145 m) brick Waco Suspension Bridge across the Brazos River. Baylor University, which is the oldest University in the state of Texas, was moved from Independence, Texas to Waco in 1886. Located in an area that is rich in cotton plantations, it was pretty natural for Waco to house the first Cotton Palace fair and exhibition center in 1894. History of Waco is deeply connected to the history of black rights, public lynching, the struggles of Native American people, and also to the Great Depression.

The city also was responsible for fuelling NAACP's activism against lynching after the public lynching of a black youth who was convicted of murdering a white woman. The city has witnessed deadly tornadoes, along with the Great Depression which literally brought the cotton plantation industry to its knees. As recently as in 1978, piles of bones belonging to mammoths were discovered where the Bosque River meets the Brazos.

The history of Southern U.S. has left Waco in a curious situation as much of its museums and cultural institution not only provide a wealth of information about black slaves and the fate of indentured servants in cotton plantations, but they also reveal artifacts produced by these very black people who withstood tumultuous times. These museums are also home to various possessions of the Native American Wichita people, who fought their own battles to gain their position in the society.

Among other historical incidents of importance, one might want to take a note of the "The Crash at Crush", which turned out to be a deadly event. It was planned as an attraction for the public by the MKT Railroad Company and the organizers had arranged for two trains were to collide against each other. The boilers exploded immediately, and metal shards went flying into the air, killing two people and injuring 6 more.

Waco still has the wild Texan feel to it, and when the feeling gets watered down by the modern structures and malls, one could visit the museums and other cultural institutions. These institutions serve the purpose of providing tourists with information about the history of Waco, and Texas in general.

About Waco, Texas

The city of Waco is home to several attractions which draw tourists and business visitors frequently. The sunny side of Texan life can be witnessed in its true form and that is perhaps why the city boasts of being the "Heart of Texas". Southern U.S. culture of plantations, ranches, mansions that remind one of a bygone era, and the large oak trees make Waco a perfect setting for those who would like to experience life in the Southern U.S. as described or depicted in various literary texts, novels and essays. With a humid-subtropical climate, the climate is never too harsh, though summers can get a little uncomfortable at times.

Being a modern city, Waco provides the discerning visitor a number of opportunities to shop, party and learn about Texan history in the most authentic manner possible. Richland Mall and the Central Texas Marketplace are two of the most important malls in the city. Downtown Waco has many upscale stores and the shops of St. Charles Place are endearing. A greater variety of shopping options can be found in uptown areas as Bosque Boulevard, Lake Air Drive, and nearby suburbs. The Art center in Waco offers travellers Native American Turquoise jeweler, silver trays and collectibles.

Those who are looking for a more authentic Texan experience could visit the Texas Ranger Museum Store which sells collectibles that are usually of interest to people who like the Texas rangers. These may include tags, buckles and even some antique amulets and weaponry that have become futile. These products may also be a haunting reminder of the city's turbulent history which saw lynching of many blacks during the turn of the previous century.

Being rich in history and culture, Waco tourist operators offer Downtown Waco Walking Tour, Cemetery Tour and the Waco Family Run Tour. The city of Waco lives up to the Texan standard of drinking and after hour partying with a number of bars, pubs, coffeehouses with live entertainment which cater to people with different tastes and interests. Wild West and Club Alazan offer the best nightclub experience in Waco.

Apart from these, there are several museums like the Dr. Pepper Museum, Mayborn Museum Complex and Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. The Waco Mammoth Site is a bizarre area filled with bones of ancient mammoths. Theories have circulated as to why such a huge number of bones had been found in just one place. A visit to Waco would not be complete without taking a boat ride on Lake Waco, and taking pictures of the azure water and abundant greenery from the top of Waco Suspension Bridge.

About McLennan County, Texas

McLennan County is located in Central Texas and has a population of 230,000. Waco is its county center and is named after an early settler Neil McLennan. The McLennan County is comprised of Waco metropolitan Statistical Area completely. The county was founded in 1850 and with an area of 1,060 sq mi. It has a population density of 205/sq mi., with 72.17% of the population as white, while 15.19% is Black. Minority portions of the population include Native Americans, Hispanics and Asians.

With a median income of $33,560 per household, the county could be described as falling in the lower middle economic bracket. The county is known for its cotton production and the historical struggles related to civil rights, protest marches and racial violence. It was originally founded as an outpost of the Texas Rangers. The aftermath of World War I saw public lynching of black people and racial violence, which gradually mitigated over a period of time.

Baylor University was relocated from Independence, Texas to Waco and could be described as the oldest University in Texas. The county is known for a number of cultural, historical and political monuments which lie scattered around the Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area. The climate is predominantly humid-subtropical and ranges from hot summers to mild winters, where overnight temperatures may drop below freezing occasionally. The county serves as a destination for tourists who are keen to experience the Southern way of life and see for themselves what it is to live in Texas as a Texan.

Some of the major highways that pass through the county are Interstate 35, U.S. Highway 77, U.S. Highway 84, State Highway 6, State Highway 31 and State Highway 164. The Texas Tenth Court of Appeals, The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and the United States Postal Service operate from the McLennan County and most of the government offices are located within downtown Waco. The county provides interesting opportunities for tourism, study of history and culture, a great set of museums and an abundant patch of greenery which is just right for hitchhiking and other outdoor sports.