Get to know Waco, TX

The city of Waco lies on the Brazos River halfway between Austin and Dallas.  The Wichita Native American tribe, also known as the Waco, inhabited the area into the 19th century.  In 1825, instead of destroying their village, Stephan F. Austin entered into a treaty with the Waco, who eventually moved from the area.  The city did not get its modern start until 1849 when surveyor George B. Erath designed the first block of the city.  It was Erath who also convinced settlers to name the new city after the Native Americans who had inhabited the area.  In 1866, the leading citizens formed the Waco Bridge Company and began building the Waco Suspension Bridge over the Brazos River.  The completion of the bridge in 1870 had a tremendous economic impact as cowboys and immigrants had a safe crossing over the river.  The population quickly grew.  1885 saw the invention of the soft drink Dr. Pepper at local drug store.  The following year Baylor University moved to Waco from Independence, Texas, where it had been founded in 1845.  The Cotton Palace was built in 1894 to put on an annual exhibition on the importance of the cotton industry in the community.  Although the Palace was torn down in 1931 with the onset of the Great Depression, the annual Cotton Palace Pageant continues to this day.  In 1964 it was decided the official museum of the Texas Rangers would be built in Waco, and in 1976 it became the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.  Notable attractions include the Dr. Pepper Museum, Cameron Park Zoo, and Baylor University.  The main employers in Waco include Baylor University, Waco Independent School District, Providence Health Center, and L-3 Communications.  Famous Waco residents have included Chip and Joanna Gaines,  Peri Gilpin, and Casey Fossum.

Quick Facts

Population: 127,796

Median Household Income: $32,864

Median Property Value: $92,500

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